You’ve submitted your application so what’s next?

First of all, well done on completing your UCAS application! If you’re wondering what the next steps are, read on….

Waiting game

Now, all you need to do is wait to hear back from the universities you have applied to. It can be agonising waiting for universities to get back to you, but try to remain calm. You can use UCAS Track to keep up to date with decisions from universities. It’s important to remember each university will get back to you at different times, so, don’t panic if your friends start getting offers back before you do. There are certain deadlines by which the universities will need to have made their decision by, which are:

  • 20 May 2021 – if you sent your application by 29 January 2021.
  • 13 July 2021 – if you sent your application by 30 June 2021.

The different types of offers you can receive are:

  • Conditional which means that you have got an offer if you meet the requirements, this usually means they are waiting for your exam results
  • Unconditional, congratulations, you’ve definitely got a place!
  • Unsuccessful which means you unfortunately haven’t received an offer
UCAS text

Applicant days

Some universities will invite you along to an applicant day, which is a great opportunity to explore your subject further and meet academic staff and current students. It will  also give you a bit of a taste of what the university and course are like, this can be really helpful when trying to decide on your firm and insurance choice. Throughout the day you will be able to look around the campus and see all the facilities the university has to offer. 


Universities may contact you directly or you may be notified through UCAS Track that you need to attend an audition or interview. If you are selected to attend an interview day or audition you will be sent detailed guidance on these selection activities with your invitation. Once you have attended the interview or audition they will then make a decision and this will be updated on Track.

Artwork of two females sat at a desk

Replying to offers

Once you have received a response from each university you applied to you will then need to reply to your offers. On Track it will show a deadline by which you have to have made your decisions. 

You will need to select both your firm and insurance choice. Your firm choice is essentially your first choice, the university/course you’d most like to do/go to. Your insurance choice is your second/back up choice. Typically students will choose an insurance choice that has lower grade requirements than their firm choice. It’s important that your insurance choice is still a choice you’d be happy with, however, you will only attend your insurance choice if you don’t meet the requirements of your firm choice but meet the requirements for your insurance choice. 

Time to apply for student finance

If you are eligible for student finance, it is now time to start applying. To do this you will need to make an account with Student Finance England and fill in some personal details and answer a series of questions. SFE will then guide you through the rest of the process.

Student loan interest rates to rise for many

Applying for accommodation 

It differs between each university but once you have accepted a university as your firm choice you can usually apply for accommodation. For some universities even if you put them as your insurance choice you can still apply. It’s important to note that most universities will have deadlines for accommodation applications and so it’s a good idea not to leave it to the last minute. I would also suggest looking through the different types of accommodation before so that you are familiar with the choices when you can apply.

Accommodation guarantee | Accommodation | University of Exeter

Wait for exam results 

When the day finally arrives make sure you have your UCAS Track details to hand so you can log in to see if there has been an update. Hopefully, you will have got the grades you needed and got into your firm or insurance choice, but if not don’t panic. If you haven’t got a place, you can go through clearing.

If you want to find out more about applying for student finance check out this great blog post which guides you through the process. Or, if you’d like help deciding which offers to accept, here’s another very insightful blog post