Behind the scenes: how your uni application is processed
After all that time spent researching courses and redrafting your personal statement, you've sent your university application off - and it's all gone very quiet. Should you be worried?
How is my uni application processed?You may be wondering how long it will take for Ucas to process your application. As soon as you hit submit on your application, Ucas will fire this off to the universities you've indicated on your application. Now it's down to those universities whether to make you an offer or not.
The journey your application makes once it's received by an institution varies slightly depending on both the uni and the course, but typically it'll be seen by more than one pair of eyes – often by both general admissions staff and academic tutors.
Watch now: This video guides you through what happens after your application is submitted.
First up, tutors will check that you meet their entry criteria:
What are university tutors looking for?
They're looking for evidence that you're really enthusiastic about the course:
They've also got to weigh up your application against the competition:
How long does it take for unis to make offers?
There's no hard and fast rule when it comes to hearing back from a university – check out our article on how different universities or departments approach this.
Applications for certain courses can take longer than others. For competitive courses like medicine and dentistry, or those requiring an interview or audition, it's likely it'll take universities longer to respond.
Here's what a few universities told us:
- University of Leicester: 'Our aim is to process undergraduate applications within 20 days.'
- Anglia Ruskin University: 'Within five days for non-interview courses.'
- University of East Anglia (UEA): 'If we have a course that has a very specific number of spaces, we look at all the applications (as a 'gathered field') before determining with the admissions director who receives an offer.'
- Leeds Trinity University: 'Decisions take longer for programmes where an interview is mandatory – primary education, journalism and some sports courses, for instance.
However, all the universities we spoke to said that there are certain times in the year when they may take longer to respond, due to the volume of applications.
You could receive an offer for a different courseSometimes applicants don't meet the criteria for the course they've applied for, but might be suitable for another course.
Waiting for offers: tips from tutors and Ucas
Once you've hit send and you're waiting to hear back, "Ucas will process your application and then share it with your chosen unis," explains Courteney Sheppard, senior customer experience manager at Ucas.
There are still things you can do while you wait though, Courteney suggests – "make sure all of your personal details are up to date and check your emails regularly as you’ll have correspondence from either Ucas or the unis when you need to take any action or see updates."
It's also a good use of time to "do further research about accommodation, student life and maybe even managing money whilst you wait for your offers to come through," Courteney adds.
"Prepare and practice for interviews in case you get invited for one too!" Courteney finishes.
And a few final words from universities...
- 'October to January is the peak application processing period for most admissions teams, so try not to panic if you're waiting for more than four weeks.'
- 'Make sure you let universities know if you change your email address, phone number or move.'
- 'Respond to requests for additional information immediately.'