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What you can do if you don't get the UCAS offers you want

What you can do if you don't get the UCAS offers you wantYour UCAS applications might result in some surprises, from not getting any offers at all to some that are higher than expected. Find out how to deal with the unexpected.

If you don't expect to make your offer

If your offer is higher than you expected, you'll need to think carefully about how you reply. You can make one firm acceptance and one insurance acceptance. If you don't get the results you need for your firm choice, you'll still have your insurance choice to fall back on. Remember that the choices you make are final: if you get the grades, you can't turn them down, so don't accept an offer you don't want.

If you want to appeal or add more choices, you'll need to do this before replying to any offers you have.

If you do miss your offer, don't give up – find out about what you can do next.

Getting feedback

You might not be able to change the decision, but you can get useful feedback for future applications. This is particularly useful if you're planning to add more choices or to reapply.

The university may have information on asking for feedback on its website, but if not, you can simply contact the admissions department.

Appealing

If you are rejected unfairly by a university, it is possible to appeal against that decision.

You'll appeal directly to the university rather than through UCAS. You should be able to find details of the appeals procedure on the university website, or by contacting the admissions department.

Common grounds for appeal are:

  • The university didn't follow its own admissions procedures
  • There is new evidence to support your application that you didn't know about before (such as an exam result)
  • There is evidence of bias or prejudice

At most universities, you'll be expected to try to resolve the problem informally before making a formal appeal or complaint. Your appeal should be dealt with seperately from the admissions process, so it won't affect your chances if you reapply.

It's important to start this process as soon as possible so that you can deal with your other offers appropriately.

Adding more choices

If you didn't use all five of your choices when you first applied, you can add more choices until 30 June as long as you don't reply to any offers you already have. If you only applied to one university, you'll need to pay an extra fee. Remember, if you apply after the January deadline then universities don't have to consider you, so it may be worth contacting them first to find out if they will consider your application. You should also keep in mind the deadline for replying to any offers you have received, as this may pass while you are waiting for your new applications.

If you have used all five of your choices, you can add one more through UCAS Extra. However, you'll need to decline any offers you receive, meaning that your UCAS Extra choice will be your only chance at a university place. You'll see a UCAS Extra button when you log in to UCAS Track if it's available to you.

Reapplying

Applying to university isn't a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you don't get a place on the course you want, you can reapply next year – the process is just the same. If you take this route, you'll need to think carefully about what you do in the meantime. For example, you might be able to improve your chances through further study or experience.

Remember, you're starting afresh if you reapply. There are no guarantees, so think carefully before turning down an offer in order to reapply next year.

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