It’s too simple to say that there’s one UCAS deadline, especially for undergraduate applications.
Depending on your subject or university choice and your own decision-making process, you might want to take advantage of some of that flexibility before submitting your application.
So, what is the UCAS deadline that matters most to you?
The UCAS deadline for undergraduate study relates to the last day that universities are required to treat your application with ‘equal consideration’. This is usually 15 January, although extended to January 26 in 2022. Applications can be made after this time, right through until courses begin.
However, there are other UCAS deadlines that you should be aware of, and I’ll outline these clearly below, as well as give you a snapshot of key US application dates too.
What is the UCAS Deadline for Personal Statements?
The UCAS undergraduate admissions cycle opens in early September of the academic year before a course begins, and you can submit your application at any point from that date onwards.
However, it can make sense to wait a little before you send in your personal statement, as it will give you and your teachers/counsellors or readers more time to help you develop some great content.
It also gives you a little more time to establish a broader range of achievements and to complete some wider reading. An ideal time to apply is late October/early November, which gives you the first half of the autumn term to get your application pitch perfect and gives your school or external referee time to send their elements through as well.
The deadline for applications to the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and for Medicine, Veterinary and Dentistry courses is October 15 in the year before taking up a non-deferred place, much earlier in the application cycle.
This early date is partly due to the time needed to process what are often large numbers of applicants but also to give applicants the opportunity to sit additional tests in order to establish suitability.
If you’re a bit behind on this process, don’t worry. Just remember…
The UCAS deadline for personal statements can vary but is traditionally mid-January in the year you intend to take up a place unless you are making a deferred application. Historically the specific date was January 15, but from 2022 onwards, this has been extended to January 26.
Can I Apply to UCAS After 15th January?
You can apply to UCAS at any point after the January deadline, up until late June. Applications for undergraduate courses can still be submitted from July onwards, but applicants will usually need to wait for Clearing to open to gain access to the courses that remain available.
However, there are a number of reasons why applying this late in the cycle is likely to disadvantage you:
- Once the January deadline has passed, universities are no longer obliged to consider your application. In other words, they do not have to read it or take the time to make an informed decision. They can simply reject you.
- The majority of competitive courses will have already reached their maximum number of offers, meaning that the later in the process you apply, the fewer spaces are available, and the less choice you will have on subjects, courses and campuses.
- Late applications can be an indication to an admissions team that the applicant is disorganised, unmotivated or unsure about their academic ambitions. That can lead to an application being rejected.
- Very late applications make securing accommodation and funding more challenging.
- The current cycle is designed to leave the spring and summer terms largely clear for study and the completion of advanced level qualifications, without the distraction of the application process. Leaving your application to the last minute can have a detrimental effect on your current studies.
If you possibly can, you should aim to beat the January deadline and submit your personal statement in early November. However, if you do miss your deadline, the best thing to do is to contact UCAS directly, usually via your student hub, and then talk directly with individual universities to establish whether a late application would be welcomed.
What’s the Deadline for Postgraduate Applications?
There is no official deadline for UK postgraduate applications. Most universities are keen to accept applications up until the July prior to courses starting in the autumn. As with undergraduate courses, the sooner you apply, the better your chances of securing a place on the course of your choice.
To be safe, apply at least six months in advance – so around March for a course that starts in September/October.UCAS
The danger with this lack of a formal deadline is that you might delay the application and end up in a rush to get your personal statement completed.
To avoid making that mistake, make sure you organise your resources in advance and prioritise your application with the same level of focus that you place on your undergraduate study.
What About Deadlines for US Uni Applications?
US undergraduate university admissions have a greater range of deadlines than the UK. They are divided into four types; regular decision, early action, early decision and rolling admissions. Different institutions have varying dates for these, so checking a specific university’s requirements is key.
The Early Decision and Action deadline for US applications is 1 November, with follow-up decisions taking place in the new year. The next Early Decision round is 15 November.
Regular Decision deadlines run throughout January, with the majority coming at he start of the month. February 1 and February 15 are also key dates for applications to reach many US universities.
Can you Apply to UK Universities Without UCAS?
As a potential undergraduate, you can apply directly to most UK universities for single courses, bypassing the need to apply through UCAS. You will not be able to apply for other courses, however. You can also apply directly for short courses that do not lead to degree qualifications.
Other specific or specialised courses at universities and other institutions in the UK often prefer direct applications, the most common of which are Art Foundation courses. These frequently do not run through UCAS, and you can find more information on these here.
Good luck with your personal statement, and don’t forget to contact me if you’d like some 1-1 support. You’ve got this! D
Research and content verified by Personal Statement Planet.