The University Application Process Explained: What to Expect

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6. ‘Something has changed on your UCAS application’ are words you will never forget.

Upon applying for university, you’ll be given a username to log into Track on UCAS. This is where you’ll be informed of your offers. The offers arrive hand in hand with an email, featuring the seven most daunting words in the English language: ‘Something has changed on your UCAS application.’ When you’re informed of this, it could mean that you’ve been given an offer – this will either be conditional, meaning that you’ll have to achieve certain grades for your place to be confirmed, or unconditional, so that regardless of your A Level results you will have a place at that university. You could also be invited to an interview, or you could be rejected upfront. But your application cannot be ignored, even if it feels this way when five months after applying there is still one university that hasn’t got back to you.

When the university has reviewed every application, they will run Offer Holders’ Days. Here, you are invited to the university and you will be given more information, in the hope that you’ll consider them for your firm or insurance choice. If you cannot go to these days, it would be beneficial to instead speak to university representatives via email or the telephone if you are unsure of whether you should keep their offer.

Another possibility is that you’ll be invited to an interview. All courses at Oxford and Cambridge require an interview, as do a few other universities for certain subjects – usually the science-based courses. I wasn’t interviewed for any of my five choices, but our Music Editor Beth details her experience of an interview for English at Oxford here.

The final two things a university can do is reject your application, or they can offer you a place for a different course. In the case of the latter, the people in charge of admissions will have read your application as one not suited to the course you applied for but perfect for another. This may not seem ideal, but the courses they suggest are not too dissimilar from your original choice. If you’re unhappy, you can always reject their offer completely or reapply in Extra, clearing or adjustment.

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