Worrying that you've left your uni application too late? We asked Fatuma Mahad, director of operations at UCAS to provide some last minute advice to make sure you make the best application ahead of January.
My advice is to do thorough research in good time so you don't find yourself filling out the application at the last minute.
- Fatuma Mahad
Thorough research will ensure you make the choices that are right for you. Make sure you consider what type of university you would like to go to, review prospectuses, uni websites and carefully read the subject course descriptions, noting down the course requirements as you go.
Don't worry that your application won't be taken seriously because you're sending it off later on in the cycle either. The UCAS deadline ensures all applications will be given equal consideration; so whether you submit on 1st September or 5pm on the 15th January, it will be fairly considered and universities will not look on you unfavourably.
Check your school reference deadlines
If you’re applying through your school, give them plenty of time to write your reference and send it to us before this deadline...Your school may operate an earlier internal deadline, so make sure you know when it is.
- Fatuma Mahad
If you're unsure of your school's process check with your form tutor or head of year. Different schools and colleges will have different processes but the format of the reference should always be in line with UCAS guidance as one of our uni mods carnationlilyrose explains:
Most references are made up of comments from all subject teachers and edited into one by the form tutor. As to what you should do to get the best out of it, be a good student to start with (!) and also make sure your tutor knows what you do beyond the academic classes. If there are any specific circumstances you need to have mentioned, then the reference is where they go, but they can't be put in unless the referees know about them. Talk to them. The reference is the same length as the PS. There's room to put things in, if the things are known.
Nemix207 also shared their experience of working with their teacher to create a reference they were happy with.
Well, the most important thing is that the referee should be the one that is teaching you the subject which is most relevant to the one you intend to pursue in your first degree. For example, you might want your biology teacher to write one for you if you opt for biomedical science, biological sciences etc. I turned to my chemistry teacher, since I am applying for pharmacy. That way they can assess your academic capabilities in that subject.
A second chance
If you miss the UCAS deadline or choose to apply after this date but before 30 June then all is not lost provided the universities and colleges you are interested in are still advertising vacancies... If you are in this position then it’s best to check with them directly that they are still accepting new applications before submitting.
- Fatuma Mahad
UCAS extra will open on 25th February 2015. New applicants can use the extra route as well as current applicants who are already in the cycle. Current applicants may choose to use Extra if they haven't received offers or have chosen to decline any offers that have been made and have used all of their 5 choices.
When Extra opens you will be able to search for the courses that are still available on the UCAS website. If you are currently in the application cycle your Track will also update to let you know whether you are eligible to apply through this route.
Got a question about your UCAS application? Speak to our advisers.