Receiving Your Offers
Once your completed application form has been sent out to all the universities of your choice, you will want to make sure that you can keep up with any offers that they make. This section offers a complete guide to dealing with this exciting part of the UCAS process. Keeping Track Of Your Offers- How you can find out which universities have contacted you.
In order to help you understand your offers a bit better, why not watch this short video?
The UCAS Track system allows you to keep up to date with the status of your application all the way through the process.
You can use Track once you have received your welcome letter from UCAS. As part of this letter you will receive a unique Personal ID which, in conjunction with the username and password you decided on when using Apply, will allow you complete access to your application in Track.
Your choices will be listed on the Track system and responses from universities will appear as and when decisions have been made about your application. The order in which your choices appear is random, so don’t worry about UCAS getting your preferences wrong if your first choice isn’t first!
When a university responds to your application you will be sent an e-mail telling you that a change has been made within Track. To keep your offers confidential, the e-mail will not include details of the offer, but will direct you towards Track, where the offer will be displayed.
You can also use Track to accept and decline offers and to change some of your personal details.
To keep you details secure, Track logs out automatically after five minutes of inactivity. Make sure you also manually log out and close down your browser after using Track to make sure others can’t get access. Track will suspend access to your account if you fail to log in five times and will reset within 24 hours thereafter.
As you receive offers from universities you will need to understand exactly what it is that they are offering. There are several different types of offer, all of which will appear in Track and you will be notified of each via e-mail.
Offers for Interviews
You may find that you have been invited for an interview, or to submit a portfolio of work. This offer will appear in Track and you will have the option to accept or decline it.
You will most likely be offered a specific date and time for an interview. If you need to change this you will need to contact the institution directly. If they can offer an alternative date this will then be entered into Track and you can accept this revised offer.
The Interview Process
Many of the most competitive courses and institutions will require you to complete an interview before offering you a conditional or unconditional offer. This can be a nerve-racking experience but there are certain advantages to going for an interview, rather than relying on your application.
If you have been asked for an interview you can be sure it means your application was good. Universities don’t waste their time interviewing people they almost certainly won’t want to offer a place to. What you need to do at the interview, therefore, is to go beyond your application and show them the reasons why you should be offered a place over all the other candidates.
Preparation for an interview is completely essential. Being prepared will help you to feel relaxed and to do you best, as well giving you more chances to impress the interviewer.
Top tips for interview preparation are:
– Make sure you know all the practical arrangements (where, when etc) well in advance. You don’t need to be stressing about buses, trains and accommodation the day before!
– Research the specific course and university – This will make you look keen and allow you to respond to any questions about why you want to study there with authority and passion.
– Re-read your application – You WILL be asked questions related to your application so make sure you know what’s in there better than your interviewer does!
– Know your subject – You may well be asked about developments in your field, or relevant current affairs.
– Get some practice – If you have a teacher, parent or friend who could help you sit a mock interview it could make you feel more comfortable on the day itself. Simply taking about your chosen course and university can give you ideas of what to say when related questions arise.
At The Interview
Universities are always looking for bright, engaged students with a passion for their subject. As this is you, the only challenge that remains it to make sure it comes across in your interview. You will need to be consistently enthusiastic and project all the best bits of your personality. Even if you are feeling unconfident, you must resist the opportunity to put this across in your responses. If you are asked about something you don’t know about, there is no need to lie. Instead try and steer the conversation towards more comfortable areas. Accentuate positive elements and don’t dwell on any perceived mistakes. Interviewers are not expecting you to be perfect; they are expecting you to be yourself.
Things to think about:
– Make sure you are dressed appropriately. There is no need to wear a suit if you don’t want to, but make sure you look smart. You don’t want your favourite jeans and a t-shirt to lose you a place at you chosen university.
– Make sure that you are on time and know where you need to be. It may sound simple but arriving late and flustered will not make the right impression.
– Make sure you seem bright and alert throughout. Sit up straight and maintain eye contact when possible.
– Be ready for surprise tests or unusual questions. Interviewers are not trying to trip you up but they will want to see how you respond to pressure so make sure you stay calm if you are asked to complete additional tests or tasks.
– Ask questions, as this will show them that you are engaging with the interviewer and that you are interested and keen to know more.
After the Interview
After the interview is over you may think that there is nothing more you can do. You will have to sit and wait to find out whether that particular university offers you a place or not, of course. If you have other interviews coming up, however, then appraising your performance could help you feel more comfortable next time. Similar questions are likely to come up so rehearse your answers and see if there are any areas you would like to improve upon.
A conditional offer means that a university has offered you a place as long as you achieve certain criteria, most likely based on your exam results. You may be asked to get a certain number of UCAS tariff points, or you may be asked for certain grades in specific subjects.
You may be offered a joint conditional offer, such as a place on a degree or an HND. Once you know your exam results the university will put forward a specific offer for one of these courses.
You must meet the conditions of these offers by the 31st of August to be able to accept your place.
An unconditional offer means that the university has offered you a place based on the academic requirements that you have already met. If they need additional information (proof of qualifications etc) they will contact you directly.
This means that your application to a specific university or course has been unsuccessful. This can be for a variety of reasons, including the quality of your application. They may provide a reason without you asking, but if they don’t you can always contact them and see if they will offer constructive feedback.
An application can be withdrawn by you or the institution and a reason will be displayed on Track if this is the case. The most likely reasons will be due to you not having responded to letters or e-mails due to deciding not to accept.
There are three ways in which you can reply to offers, once they have appeared on Track and you have received an e-mail notification:
Your firm acceptance indicates that this offer is your first choice. You are committing to attending this university and have only one firm choice so think very carefully before using it.
If you’re offer is unconditional you must decline all other offers as you are stating that you will take up this particular place.
If your offer is conditional you are also allowed to select an insurance choice, in case you don’t meet the requirements of the conditional offer.
Your insurance choice is your ‘back up’ choice in case you don’t meet the conditions of a conditional offer. You only get one insurance choice and it can be unconditional or conditional. Bear in mind that if you don’t meet the requirements of a conditional insurance offer you will be entered into clearing.
By choosing an insurance offer you are committing to taking up that place if your first choice falls through, so give it as much thought as you possibly can.
Once you have decided on your firm and insurance choices you must decline all other offers. You can also choose to decline all offers you have received. If you do this you will then be eligible for Clearing or Extra, depending on your circumstances.
When Should You Reply
As all your offers appear in Track, you will also notice that each offer has a reply date. You must respond by this date or it will be assumed that the offer has been declined. These dates can vary as they are based on the date at which UCAS receive the offer.
Making changes to your UCAS application can be very simple and most of them can be done online. The possibility of making these changes can depend on deadlines, however, so check out the list below to see what you are allowed to change and when.
Address and Phone Number
You can change your address and phone number in Track by contacting UCAS customer services at any point. They will then pass on this changed information to your universities. If you are expecting urgent correspondence, however, it might be a good idea to also tell them yourself.
Your E-mail Address
You can also change your e-mail address through Track. You will be sent an e-mail, to the new address, including a verification code. Once the code has been entered into Track all e-mail correspondence will be sent to this new address.
Course, Year or Point of Entry
If you still want to go the university you have chosen but have changed you mind about the course, or any other detail, you need to contact them directly. If they agree to these changes they will notify UCAS and the new details will appear on Track.
University or College
You can change your choice of university or college within 7 days from the date on your welcome letter, before June 30th. If there are exceptional circumstances, you may be allowed to change after this 7 day period if your referee sends a letter detailing these circumstances to UCAS.
Cancelling a Choice
You can cancel a choice at any time using Track, as long as the university hasn’t already sent you a decision.
If you only applied to single course, or you applied to less than five, you can add choices using Track anytime before the 30th of June. Remember, you may need to pay an additional cost if you only paid for a single application.
Exam or Course Arrangements
If there are any changes to your exam or course arrangements you must tell UCAS as soon as possible, as well as the universities who have offered you a place or from whom you are still waiting to hear. All offers through UCAS will have been made based on the circumstances you outlined in your application so they must be alerted to any changes as quickly as is possible. Be aware that these changes may affect your existing or future offers.
If you come up against unforeseen circumstances, such as illness or family problems, that have affected your exam results, please write to the individual universities to let them know. You will need to include supporting documents from your school or doctor if this is the case.
Cancelling Your Application
You can cancel you application within 7 days of your welcome letter and receive a full refund. You will need to do this through customer services as it cannot be done in Track.
Withdrawing Your Application
You can withdraw from UCAS if you decide not to go to university after all. Contact customer services as soon as you can so that any places you have been offered can be offered to other people. You will be able to apply next year if you withdraw your application.
You might be eligible to apply for another course if you applied for five choices and received no offers, or declined all the offers you did receive.
UCAS Extra is open between February and early July, allowing you to search for alternative courses that might have spaces and apply for them through Track. You can only apply for one course at a time through Extra.
This short video will help you understand how to use UCAS Extra:
How Does It Work?
If you are eligible an ‘Extra’ button will appear in Track allowing you to apply for one course at a time. When using the UCAS course search facility, any course with an ‘x’ beside it may still have available places, so these are the ones to look out for.
You will need to pay the same sort of care and attention to choosing choices in Extra as you did to making your original choices. Make sure you check out the entry requirements for available courses and contact and visit universities if you can to see if they are likely to accept you. This is hugely important when using Extra, as you can only apply for one course at a time.
One you have decided on a course, simply add it in Track and UCAS will send the application to them, as it did with your original choices.
What Happens Next?
If you get an offer in Extra, and you accept it, then you cannot apply for anymore courses. You are committed to starting that course the following year, dependent on meeting the requirements.
You cannot change any details of offers within Extra for 21days so think very carefully before applying. If you choose to decline an offer made in this period, however, you can apply for a new choice. Equally, if you don’t receive a response within 21 days from your choice you can decide to look somewhere else.
As with clearing, you need to make sure you keep abreast of any changes in the status of your application and available courses to make sure you get the most out of the Extra process.
Please remember that if you decline your original offers and enter either Extra or Clearing you will not be able to revert to these original offers at any point.