University Series #9 UCAS Offers and Replies

Congratulations on finishing your UCAS application! That’s the hardest part out of the way, so now it’s time to sit back, relax, and watch all your offers roll in! 

Once you receive an offer or something changes on your application, you will be notified by email. If you haven’t provided an email address, UCAS will notify you by letter so don’t worry but of course it’s easier to provide an email address. You can also add more choices to your UCAS application, which is known as Extra, but there are certain terms and conditions. You can see them here. Before accepting any offers, you need to consider a few points first:

  • If there’s one thing I would STRONGLY recommend, it would be to visit each of your universities on open days. I attended open days for each of my choices and found them extremely useful. Going to open days gives you a feel for the place you may be studying, and the majority of the time there are opportunities to visit the university accommodation. Something else I found useful was the fact you get the chance to talk to course tutors and current students. Ask them anything and everything you can think of, it really helps to get as much information as possible. Sometimes a prospectus or the university website can mislead you, as obviously they want you to believe that they are the best university for you so its important to visit the university and form your own opinions. Also, open days often feature “life fairs” which include information about things from student finance to student nightlife.
  • You need to be 100% sure before making any decisions, as once made they can’t be taken back – this includes the insurance offer which I’ll explain later!
  • You don’t have to wait for all your offers to get back to you before replying, you can cancel any you definitely don’t want to attend, but this cannot be reversed so ensure you know exactly what you want to do!

There are three options when it comes to replying to your offers, you have to make a firm acceptance, an insurance choice and and the rest will be declined.

Firm Acceptance: A firm acceptance will be your preferred choice out of all those you have made, and you can only pick one of these. If you choose to accept an unconditional offer, you are agreeing that you will definitely attend the course and must therefore decline any other offers. If you want to accept a conditional offer, then that means you are agreeing to attend the university if you meet all the entry requirements. With accepting a conditional offer, you can accept another as an insurance choice. 

Insurance Choice: The insurance choice can be conditional or unconditional, and is basically a back up; if you don’t meet the requirements for your firm choice, but do for your insurance, then you are committed to your insurance choice. If your insurance choice has higher requirements than your firm choice, and you don’t meet those for your firm, it doesn’t mean you will automatically be accepted. Also, you don’t have to make an insurance choice if you don’t want to! If your firm choice is unconditional, you cannot choose an insurance choice.

Decline: Once you have confirmed your replies, you can decline the ones that you definitely do not wish to attend. 

Here are some key dates from UCAS to make a note of:

7 May 2014: If you receive all your uni/college decisions by 31 March you must reply to any offers by this date (except for Extra) or they’ll be declined

5 June 2014If you receive all your uni/college decisions by 8 May you must reply to any offers by this date (unless you applied in Extra) or they’ll be declined

26 June 2014If you receive all your uni/college decisions by 5 June you must reply to any offers by this date (unless you applied in Extra) or they’ll be declined

24 July 2014If you receive all uni/college decisions by 17 July – including Extra choices – you must reply to any offers by this date (or they’ll be declined)

You should also have a look on UCAS to see what to do if you receive no offers (which I’m sure will not happen!) or if there are any changes you need to make.

I hope this has been useful, and don’t forget to have a look at the rest of my University Series. Thank you!

Amy x

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