Thursday, 16 May 2013

An Extra opportunity...

Not holding any offers, either because you’ve been unsuccessful with all five choices or because you’ve declined all the offers you received, is likely to leave you feeling anxious about your application. Take heart, however, in the fact that each year there are many students in exactly the same position who go on to accept offers – even before Clearing.  Want to know how? In a word: Extra. Our guest blogger Amy Smith, Admissions Co-ordinator at Nottingham Trent University, explains how you can make the most of this valuable opportunity...

Amy Smith, Admissions Co-ordinator at
Nottingham Trent  University
UCAS Extra. One of the best kept secrets. Extra is an opportunity for those applicants whose initial 5 choices did not go entirely to plan, be that because they were unsuccessful, had a change of heart about the institutions they applied for (it’s amazing what you can find out about a place following an open day, check out the blog entry from Sarah at LSBU) or just want an entirely new direction from their university education (fancy going from a Science background to Art and Design?). As long as you don’t hold any offers elsewhere, Extra is your chance to get one!

Here are a few tips for applying through Extra:

Find vacancies

Courses that are open in Extra are advertised on the UCAS website through Course Search, as long as they have spaces available. For example, if you search for courses at Nottingham Trent University, you can tick the box to search for ‘Extra courses only’ to exclude all the courses that are full. Time is short though, as places will fill up and once they are gone, they are gone.

Be prepared

Do your research and see what’s out there. Check vacancies on Course Search, but don’t be afraid to look at institutions' websites, or contact the universities and colleges directly to get even more information about the courses you are interested in. You don’t get many second chances in life, but with Extra you can submit a new personal statement directly to your chosen institution if you wish. You’d need to check whether they’re happy to consider it first, but if they are then use it to your advantage - show you have done your research and explain why you are interested in your new choice. 

You don’t have to wait until August

Those eligible for Extra have the advantage of not having to wait until Clearing to secure themselves an offer or a place at university. You have access to a wide variety of courses and have until the 3rd July 2013 to make a choice through Extra. Courses may fill up in the meantime though!

Hit the button

If you’re eligible for Extra then an ‘add Extra choice’ button will appear in Track.  This allows you to enter your chosen institution and course details, and then your application will be sent for consideration. You can only choose one Extra choice at a time, so make it a good one!

It’s still not the end!

If you are unsuccessful in your first Extra choice, or decline an offer made to you, you can add another choice within the Extra timeline (25th February-3rd July 2013). 

Obviously, Extra is not without its risks. Remember:
  • If you have chosen to decline all of your previous offers to enter Extra, you will not be able to go back to them at a later date, so think carefully about your decision! 
  • You cannot change your Extra choice until a decision has been made or 21 days have passed.
  • Not all courses at all institutions will be open through Extra, so if you are determined to apply for a particular institution or course and have been unsuccessful, you may have to wait until you have your results and apply again next year. 
Your university experience should be one that you remember for the rest of your life, so make the most of the opportunity and take advantage of what is available to you. 

Thank you to Amy Smith from Nottingham Trent University for sharing her advice on Extra.

You’ll find more information on using Extra on the UCAS website and in our UCAStv video guide below.


Thursday, 9 May 2013

The deadline for university decisions

Although it might sometimes feel like a never ending wait for decisions from your university choices, there are in fact fixed deadlines for them to respond. These are in place so you’re not waiting forever for offers to come through in Track, and so you can proceed with your application.

So it’s these two entries in our list of important dates that we’re referring to:

9 May 2013 If you applied by 15 January and are waiting for decisions, universities and colleges must send us their decisions by this date. If they don't, we will make any outstanding choices unsuccessful on their behalf.

18 July 2013 If you applied by 30 June and are still waiting for decisions, universities and colleges must send us their decisions by 18 July. If they don't, we will make any outstanding choices unsuccessful on their behalf.

In a nutshell, depending on when you sent your application, the universities either have until 9 May or 18 July to make offers. However if you applied by 15 January with, say four choices, and then added another choice after this date, all of your choices would have until 18 July to make their decisions.

If you’re still waiting to hear from one or more of your choices when the deadline for decisions passes, they will automatically update to ‘unsuccessful’ so that you’re able to either:

  • use Extra if you’ve already added five choices and they were all unsuccessful. This is available until 3 July.

If you’ve been told by a university or college that they are offering you a place – perhaps they sent you a letter or told you at an interview – and you think an ‘unsuccessful’ decision has appeared because they missed the deadline, the best thing to do is get in touch with them straight away (you’ll find all their contact details on the UCAS website). If it’s a mistake then they’ll be able to contact us to change their decision, but only if you haven’t replied to any other offers you received or added an Extra choice.