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20 November 2020

Pastoral Blog: UCAS next steps

Pastoral Blog: UCAS next steps

We are now in the middle of the UCAS process, with students receiving interview invitations and offers.  This is a very joyful time but can also be a time filled with anxiety, and my students have been asking a lot of questions about the next steps, even though Results Day still seems very far away.  It can be difficult for parents to advise them as the process has changed so much in the past few years.  The great news is that these changes are very much to the benefit of young people.

For those who are unsure of these changes, here is a summary which may prove helpful:

  • Students apply to five universities.  When they hear back from all five, they then need to choose two universities.  One is their “firm” choice, and one is their “insurance” choice.  Choosing a university as the firm choice means that the student commits to going to that university if they achieve the grades needed.  If they don’t achieve these grades but do achieve the grades needed for their insurance choice, then they have committed to take up their insurance choice.
  • On some occasions, universities do accept a student who has just missed the requirements of their offer.  However, this very much depends on the course and university.  For example, applicants for Medicine do not tend to get accepted if they do not meet the requirements.
  • Applicants who meet and exceed the conditions of their firm choice have the option to try to find an alternative place through Adjustment, while still holding their original confirmed offer.  This gives the student the security of being able to look for an alternative course at a potentially more prestigious university, without having to decline their original offer.  Places at Russell Group universities do become available through Adjustment, but it can’t be guaranteed that a place will be available for the exact course and university that the student wants.
  • If a student received decisions from all five of their universities, and weren’t accepted, or if they declined the offers you received, they will be able to use Extra.  In Extra, students can add one additional choice at a time, and can keep adding choices until they are accepted.  They can do this up to the 30th June.
  • If a student doesn’t get the exam grades they hoped for and their places are not confirmed or if they decline all their offers, they can try to find another course through Clearing. The Clearing process runs from early July, and helps students without a confirmed place, and those who apply late, to find courses where there are still places available. 
  • As you can see, all is not lost if things don’t go quite as planned on Results Day.  Students may have to be flexible in their thinking if they find themselves in Clearing, but it should hopefully provide reassurance to know that there are always options.
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