What happens if I miss the UCAS equal consideration deadline?

Today, 26th January, is the ‘equal consideration’ deadline for UCAS! But, what does this mean and how important is it for international students? Firstly, let’s quickly explain what UCAS is and whether you need to use it. UCAS stands for ‘Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’ and it’s one of the ways you can apply to study in the UK. Whether you need to use UCSAS depends on where you want to study and at what level. Read more about whether you need to apply via UCAS.

How important is the UCAS equal consideration deadline? The equal consideration deadline, set by UCAS, is the main deadline for undergraduate applications. Students can apply to up to five universities with a single application on the UCAS website and universities usually begin to assess applications from the deadline date, which this year is 26th January.

If you’re applying to study medicine or applying to ‘Oxbridge’ (Oxford or Cambridge) there is an earlier deadline in October. However, the majority of students, both from the UK and overseas, (who aren’t applying for medicine or to Oxbridge) will apply by the January deadline.

All applications submitted by the 26th January will be considered equally on their own merits. In other words, they will all be assessed in the same ‘batch’. There is no real advantage to getting your application in before the deadline (although you wouldn’t want to submit at the last minute in case you hit a technical issue that prevents you from submitting).

What if I miss the equal consideration deadline? If you have missed the equal consideration deadline, your application may not be assessed at the same time as other applications. This means there is risk that the places in your preferred universities will be filled before admissions staff even review your application. Therefore, you may miss out on a place to other students, even if your application is better!

However, in reality, many universities are happy to accept late applications, particularly from international students. So, if you’ve missed the deadline all is not lost. You can still apply to many universities (either via UCAS or direct to the university).

Direct applications are ideal if you want to apply to three universities, or fewer (as you have to navigate the various university application processes which requires more work). However, direct applications are generally quicker, which is important for international students who have other factors to consider, such as securing a visa and relocating to the UK.

Finally, as UCAS only focuses on undergraduate applications, postgraduate students don’t need to worry about UCAS deadlines at all. But, regardless of whether you are looking to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level in 2022, you should be preparing your applications as soon as possible. As we emerge from the pandemic, the number of students applying to study in the UK is increasing rapidly so competition has never been stronger.

As Student Central is a registered UCAS Centre and has links with over 120 univeristies in the UK, we can help you with your applications through either method.

Get in touch today if you've missed the UCAS deadline but would like to explore your study in the UK options!

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Rachel Burgon
Co-Founder & CEO
Published on 26 January 2022
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