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What is UCAS and how does it work?

UCAS processes applications to study full-time courses at universities, colleges, and conservatoires in the UK. However, it’s not just about processing applications – UCAS aims to help students make informed choices that are right for them, by guiding them through the entire higher education application process and beyond.

Key dates in the UCAS cycle

8th September 2020 - Completed 2021 applications can be submitted to UCAS

15th January 2021 - Deadline for most undergraduate courses. Applications can still be sent after this date but universities/colleges do not have to guarantee they will be considered

25th February 2021 - UCAS Extra opens. What is UCAS Extra?

5th May 2021 - First deadline for replying to your offers. If students receive all their university decisions by 31st March, they must reply to offers. Students must make a firm and insurance choice. All other offers can be declined

30th June 2021 - Last date for applications. Applications received after this date are automatically entered into clearing

4th July 2021 - Last date for UCAS Extra

August 2021 - A-level results day

September 2021 - Final deadline for courses starting in 2021

What is Clearing?

Your child may be fortunate and hold offers to the universities of their choice, but if not, Clearing is the next step.

Clearing is the process by which universities fill the remaining spaces they have on their courses. During this time, you can contact the university directly to enquire.

For 2021, Clearing starts on the 6th July, and will continue throughout the summer until the 20th October. Your child may benefit from Clearing if they (1) are applying to university after the 30th June 2021 (2) didn't receive any offers OR don’t want to accept any of their offers (3) didn’t meet the initial entry requirements or conditions of their offer. 

UCAS have some dedicated pages to help support you.