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Ucas deadline countdown 2024: things to remember

We wouldn’t necessarily recommend waiting until 31 January 2024, the day of the Ucas deadline, to submit your university application – but if things are down to the wire, here's how to ensure you're fully prepared...

Perhaps it's taking you a bit longer to decide on your five university course choices? Or you've been waiting on a Ucas reference from a very busy tutor?

Whatever the reason, make sure you're fully prepared for the big deadline as you won't have much time to resolve any mistakes or errors that pop up. Below are some pointers for those nail-biting final days and weeks to ensure you're ready to hit send.

Know the 2024 Ucas deadlines

The general deadline for Ucas applications to start university in 2024 is 31 January at 6pm. This is the case for the majority of courses. 

The exceptions to this deadline are: For anyone who misses the January deadline, 30 June 2024 is the deadline to get in your application. Any applications received after that date go directly into Clearing.

The final date for 2024 entry application is 25 September 2024.

Decide where to apply

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

If you have questions about specific universities, it’s worth visiting the relevant forums on our sister site The Student Room 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.

Keep your teachers in the loop

If you haven't already, it’s important to tell your teachers that you intend to apply as soon as possible, so that they can prepare a reference for you. 

Once you know who’ll be writing your reference you can put together some notes of what you’re going to put in your personal statement, as well as some information about the courses you want to apply to. Sharing this will help them to understand why you’re applying and what your goals are.

Don't let your personal statement slow you down

You've been staring at your personal statement for weeks and months, removing chunks, swapping bits around, replacing a word here and there... You’re probably sick of the sight of it by now!

Nevertheless, it's a crucial part of your overall Ucas application and might clinch you a spot on a course if an admissions tutor is stuck deciding between you and someone else. At this stage, it's probably not about a full rewrite, but some subtle tweaks and getting others to proofread can make all the difference.

Read your statement out loud; this way you can really notice the small mistakes that can easily be overlooked. Reema Jawad (assistant outreach and schools liaison officer at Royal Holloway),

And don't neglect your ending – our article on how to end you personal statement with a bang should come in useful. 

Double-check the details

Once everything is ready, get somebody to proofread your application. You want to get this right first time, so make sure you’ve definitely got the right grades, courses and university codes entered in to Ucas. This is an easier mistake to make than you might think – make sure you haven’t, for example, chosen the wrong university where there are two in the same city with a similar name.

Ask someone from your family, school or college to proofread your application. Owen Lord (admissions team leader at Buckinghamshire New University),

You should also make sure that you’ve entered the right contact details for your reference as otherwise your application could be held up.

Leave enough time for your school or college to check your application

Your school needs to have enough time to check your application over for any mistakes and get it sent off to Ucas, so it’s best not to send it too close to the 6pm deadline on 31 January – and to warn them if you are going to be cutting it fine.

This is because if they do notice a mistake they might send it back to you to make changes. Even if you’ve nailed it and produced a totally error-free application, they’ll still need more than a few minutes to get it sent off to Ucas.

And if you DO miss the Ucas deadline…

It may not be ideal, but all is not lost.

Firstly, if you miss the deadline, you can still submit your application. Applications submitted after 31 January will be accepted but just won't be guaranteed equal consideration by universities. You'll have until 30 June 2024 to apply – any applications after then will be entered into Clearing. 

So while that means you'll probably lose out on a place on a really competitive course which receives more applications than places available, other courses may still consider you in the mix.

The Ucas Extra and Ucas Clearing systems are also available for applicants who haven't, for whatever reason, secured a place. Many students get into uni via one of these alternative routes.

You could also decide to wait until next year and apply for 2025 entry instead. You'd have your exam results so you'd be applying with confirmed grades, meaning no stressing about predicted grades or conditional offers. 

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