15 January is the deadline for Ucas applications – but don’t worry if you haven’t chosen your dream uni yet because you still have plenty of options
Picking which university you want to go to can feel like a massive decision – it’s where you’re going to spend the next three years of your life after all, so you don’t want to get it wrong. But what if you’re still struggling to decide where you want to go?
Whether you want to make your choice right now or you’d prefer to give yourself a bit more thinking time, here’s what you need to know about your options.
Option one: Get your application in by the 15 January deadline
You still have time to get your application in before 15 January. If you have a longlist of universities that you’re struggling to cut down to five, you might find it helpful to take a look at our article on choosing the right university.
Our UniMatch tool is a really useful resource that lists details for all UK university courses, as well as showing reviews from students. If you have questions about specific universities, it’s worth visiting the relevant forums to chat with students who’ll be able to offer unbiased advice.
It’s always a good idea to visit the universities you’re applying to. If you’ve missed out on open days, you might be able to get a campus tour instead. These run throughout the year, usually in smaller groups than open days. They generally give more of an overview of student life at the university, as opposed to focusing on your specific department.
If you get offered a place without ever having seen the university in person, you can go on an applicant day instead. Applicant days are really valuable regardless of whether you’ve been to an open day or not, because they tend to have a much more in-depth focus on your chosen course.
Option two: Make your application now but change your mind later
What happens if you send your application off and then change your mind about where you want to go a few months down the line?
If you didn’t use all five choices in your original application, you can log into your Track account and add another choice in. Just make sure you do it before 30 June and that you don’t accept or decline any offers before you’ve entered the new choice.
If you have already used all five of your choices, Ucas Extra lets you have more. You can use Extra if none of your five choices offer you a place or if you’ve decided you’re not going to accept any offers from your current choices.
Ucas Extra runs from 25 February to 5 July in 2020. You can only make one Extra choice at a time, but if you change your mind again you can swap it for another choice after 21 days has passed. Adding a new choice in will replace the current one, so be careful not to use that option unless you want to cancel your previous application.
And remember that if you apply through Extra you’ll only have one firm choice and no insurance – meaning it’s important to make sure your choice is an achievable one.
Option three: Miss the 15 January deadline and aim for the 30 June deadline instead
Maybe you just don’t feel like you’re going to be able to make a decision by 15 January – and that’s fine too! If you want to start university in 2020, the next application deadline to aim for is 30 June.
The only difference between the January deadline and the 30 June one is that all applications submitted by 15 January are given equal consideration but after that it’s on a first come, first served basis, so courses might start to fill up.
This might sound a bit scary, but try not to worry. As long as you’re not aiming for the most ultra-competitive courses or universities, you should still have plenty to choose from.
Option four: Apply after 30 June, through Clearing
If you haven’t decided where you want to go by 30 June, you can still start university in 2020 by applying through Clearing. Tens of thousands of students are accepted into university through Clearing every year, so it’s far from a last resort.
Option five: Apply next year instead
You can always wait until next year and apply then instead. You’d have your exam results so you’d be applying with confirmed grades, meaning no stressing about predicted grades or conditional offers.
And a whole year would give you plenty of time to research where you want to go – our applying to university hub is a good place to start.