Applying to university can be terrifying. Not just because of all the parts to it, such as choosing your options and putting together a personal statement, but also due to the possibility of not getting in to where you want to go. If this happens, you can be left unsure of what to do. Should you get a job instead? An apprenticeship? Can you still go to university? You may have all these questions and a lot of the time, none of the answers.
However, certain schemes make it possible for you to avoid this uncertainty with a chance to get back on track with your original plan, although not quite in the same way. One of these schemes is UCAS Extra.
Continue reading to learn what UCAS Extra actually is and how it works. This article will give you everything you need to know about UCAS Extra from the process itself to when it opens and even how it’s different to other services.
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What is UCAS Extra?
If you’ve applied to university in the UK, or you’re planning to do so, it’s likely that you’ve heard about UCAS. UCAS is the admissions service for higher education in the UK, handling the applications for over 380 universities in the UK. To learn more about this check out this guide by UCAS.
However, you may not have heard of the other services that they offer such as UCAS Extra. UCAS Extra is a free service by UCAS that enables you to have an additional choice in your university application. For more on this, check out this guide by UCAS and continue reading the next sections to learn more about how it works.
When does UCAS Extra open 2023?
UCAS Extra gives you the opportunity to apply to university if you don’t have any offers. However, this service is only available for a limited time frame so if you want to use it, it’s important to know when this is.
For 2023, UCAS Extra opened on 23rd February 2023. This was almost a month after the main application process closed, which was on 25th January 2023.
The UCAS Extra closing date for 2023 is on 4th July 2023. This gives students a bit over 5 months to use the UCAS Extra service.
How does UCAS Extra work?
How the UCAS Extra service actually works is incredibly simple. All you have to do is to find the course you want to apply for and then apply. This will be done in a similar way to your original application.
In using the UCAS Extra service, you will only be able to apply to one additional choice at a time. This means that you can’t have a safety option as you would in the main application service.
However, there is no actual limit on how many times you can apply through UCAS Extra as long as you meet the other conditions of holding no offers and not applying to more than one at once. To learn more about this, check out this page by UCAS.
In your applications, universities should try to make their decisions within 21 days. While at times it may be longer than this, you have the choice to either wait for their reply or to withdraw your application and replace it with another choice. To learn more about this, check out this page by UCAS.
Can you use UCAS Extra if you have offers?
As mentioned above, UCAS Extra is another opportunity to apply to university. However, to be eligible to do so, there are several requirements that you will need to meet.
One of these is that you need to have used up all 5 of your choices and be holding no offers. This means that you need to have either not received any offers from the universities you applied to, or you need to have rejected any offers that you did receive before you are able to use UCAS Extra.
If you’re still not holding any offers but you didn’t use up all of your 5 choices, then you won’t be able to use UCAS Extra. However, this is because you won’t need it as you will still be able to add extra choices to your application even after the original deadline. For 2023, this is as long as it’s before 30th June.
If you only paid for one choice, you can pay an extra fee to gain access to more choices, allowing you to apply to more universities rather than using the UCAS Extra service. For 2023, this fee is £4.50. To learn more about this, check out this guide by UCAS.
Can you use UCAS Extra if you’re still waiting for decisions?
As previously mentioned, to be able to use the UCAS Extra service, students need to have used up all of their choices on their original UCAS application and to not be holding any offers. However, if you’re still waiting for decisions, this can leave a bit of a grey area and it can be confusing to know what you’re able to do.
If you’ve used up all of your choices and are not holding any other offers, then technically you would meet the eligibility requirements to use UCAS Extra. However, if you are still waiting for decisions then you can’t use UCAS Extra.
Also, if you are still waiting for decisions but have decided that you no longer want to wait for these, you could just withdraw your applications from these. While there are certain requirements you would need to meet, it could enable you to replace these choices and apply to different universities rather than using UCAS Extra. To learn more about this, check out this UCAS guide.
Alternatively, you could just wait. As long as it is before the deadline, you can use UCAS Extra at whatever point you meet the eligibility requirements. To learn more about this, check out this page by UCAS.
Can you use UCAS Extra for Medicine?
For courses such as Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine or Veterinary Science, you can only apply to a total of 4 universities with these subjects. Although you are able to use up all of your choices by applying to different courses as well. To learn more about this, check out this page by UCAS.
If students are only looking at these courses and so decided not to use their 5th choice, they don’t quite meet the eligibility requirements to use UCAS Extra, even if they were unsuccessful with all of their choices. However, for a course such as Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine or Science, these students won’t be able to use their final option to apply for any of these as they are limited to 4 choices in these fields.
In this case, students will still not be able to use the UCAS Extra service directly. However, if they use the UCAS search tools and find that they’re universities offering these courses on there, they can directly contact the university and ask if they’d be willing to accept their application.
From here, students would need to call the UCAS Customer Experience Centre for help with sorting out the rest. To learn more about this and how to contact UCAS’s Customer Service Experience Centre, check out this page by UCAS.
Do you need a personal statement for UCAS Extra?
Applying with UCAS Extra is simply an extension on your original application. This means that you will need a personal statement for this application. However, you won’t need to do this again as it will be a part of your original application.
As it is the same application, you won’t be able to change your personal statement for UCAS Extra either. If you’ve changed your mind about what you want to study or if there’s more that you wanted to add to it, you can directly contact the university before applying to them through UCAS Extra and offer to send a more appropriate personal statement. To learn more about this, check out this page by UCAS.
Is UCAS Extra worth it for students?
Whether anything is “worth it” can often be highly subjective and so it is important that you make this decision for yourself based on the information given in this article. However, there are several points that I feel are important to consider when judging how “with it” UCAS Extra is.
UCAS Extra allows students to apply to another course at university or college, when they are holding no offers. This means that students who would otherwise not be able to get into university through the main UCAS application are given an additional opportunity to do so.
As UCAS Extra is free for students and available to those that meet the requirements, it is safe to say that UCAS Extra is worth it for students who already don’t hold any offers as applying again can only lead to the same or a better outcome. However, if students already have offers and are considering declining them to do UCAS Extra instead, they must consider if this is really their best option.
While UCAS Extra can be a great service of you don’t have offers or have already declined them, it doesn’t guarantee that you will get new offers this time around, especially as your application will at least mostly be the same. This means that it may not be worth it for students as it requires you to give up any existing offers that you have to be eligible.
However, in some cases this may still be worth it. This is particularly if you want to change course or if your circumstances change, such as needing to be closer to home. If these would prevent you from accepting the offers you already have, it can still be worthwhile to do UCAS Extra as you once again don’t have much to lose.
Please note that this was personal opinion, and you are entitled to your own views on if you think UCAS Extra is worth it.
UCAS Extra vs Clearing
UCAS Extra can be a great service to give you another opportunity to get into university when you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do so. However, it’s not the only service that does this as Clearing also enables you to apply to university again after having already applied.
As these two services seem so similar, it can seem strange that they both exist and that UCAS would offer both of these. However, due to their slight differences, each of these services have their own distinct uses.
To learn more about how they compare to each other, keep reading the following sections.
What is Clearing?
Clearing is a service that you may have heard of, but it can often be a little more difficult to define. When comparing anything, especially things that seem quite similar, it is important to properly understand what each of these things are.
Clearing is very simply how universities fill up any of the vacancies that they still have on their courses. In this way, it is similar to UCAS Extra as students can apply if they aren’t holding any offers.
To be eligible to use Clearing, students need to have either not received any offers or rejected the offers that they did receive, or instead they may have not met the conditions for the offers that they did receive. They will also need to have paid the fee for multiple choices, be applying after 30th June (for 2023) and will need to have specifically declined their firm choice before they can use Clearing.
The process to apply through Clearing is slightly different from other application processes. Instead of applying directly through UCAS straight away, you will need to look for the course that interests you, through the UCAS search tool, and then you will need to directly contact any universities you’re interested in.
When you contact them, you will need to give them your personal ID and your Clearing number. However, you will also need to find out if you would get accepted, potentially get an informal offer and learn more about the university itself, such as the campus or accommodation options.
Only then and with the university’s permission can you add the university that you’ve chosen in Clearing and officially apply. To learn more about this, check out this guide by UCAS.
What is the difference between Clearing and UCAS Extra?
As mentioned above, UCAS Extra and Clearing are schemes that seem quite similar but have their own distinct uses.
First of all, one of the most noticeable differences between UCAS Extra and Clearing is the time frames that you can use them within. This is because UCAS Extra opens about a month after the main application deadline, whereas Clearing opens the day after the UCAS Extra deadline. In this way, it could be argued that they’re roughly the same but just at different times.
The application process between UCAS Extra and Clearing are also pretty different. This is because for UCAS Extra, you apply in a similar way to the main application process as everything you have to do is already on UCAS.
However, for Clearing, students need to directly contact any university that they’re interested in and get an informal offer and permission from the university before they can officially apply. In this way, Clearing is a bit more difficult to use than UCAS Extra as there is more for you to arrange for yourself.
The Clearing process also happens a lot faster than it does for UCAS Extra. This is because universities can take 21 days or sometimes longer to reply to your UCAS Extra application.
Whereas for Clearing, most of it is done through you calling the university directly and getting an informal offer there and then after you officially apply, universities may even take as little as 5 working days to confirm your place, although this can depend on the university. To learn more about how long Clearing can take, check out this guide by the University of Salford.
Can you still use Clearing if you use UCAS Extra?
As a reminder, in order to use Clearing, students will need to meet the requirements of having not received any offers, having declined any offers they did receive or their firm choice if they had one, or having not met the conditions of their offers.
Students that use UCAS Extra may still be able to use Clearing. However, why this is the case will depend on their situation.
First of all, if students use UCAS Extra but don’t accept any offers during this process, they will automatically be eligible for Clearing as they will already have met the requirements. If they do accept an offer during UCAS Extra but don’t meet the conditions of this offer, they will once again automatically be eligible to use Clearing.
However, if they do accept an offer and do meet the conditions, the student will be placed with that university or college, meaning that they will generally be unable to use Clearing. To learn more about this, check out this page by UCAS.