If you want to go to university in 2021, it is likely you will be applying through UCAS – here is our complete guide on how to apply and what options are available for you when choosing where to study.

UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service – it is the service which processes university applications and provides the information you need to secure a final place of study.

Applying through UCAS

For courses starting in 2021 (and for deferred applications), your application needs to be with UCAS by this date: 29 January 2021 for 2021 entry at 18:00 (UK time). (Following UK COVID-19 restriction announcements the deadline for undergraduate applications has been extended from 15 January.)

If you’re applying through your school/college, please check their deadline, and follow this to get your application in on time.

What needs to be sent by the UCAS deadline?

  • Your details, qualifications and course choices.
  • A personal statement to demonstrate you’ll be a good student.
  • Your reference and pay your application fee.

The application fee is £20 if you’re applying to just one course, or £26 for multiple courses.

UCAS Extra

UCAS Extra is a free service which gives you another chance to gain a place at university or college, between 25 February and 5 July. If you used all five of your choices on your original application and you’re not holding an offer, you’ll be able to add another choice using Extra.

This could be because you haven’t received any offers or because you have declined offers for one reason or another – for example you have changed your mind about what subject you want to study.

Not all university courses will be available in Extra, just the ones with vacancies. You can filter your search on UCAS to see which universities are considering applications in Extra.

Here’s how to add another course to your choices through UCAS Extra in three simple steps:

  1. Search for courses with vacancies using our search tool.
  2. Get in touch with the university or college to check they are able to consider you.
  3. Add the details in Track – you can only add one course at a time.

You can choose whether or not to accept a place on a course through UCAS Extra – once you have accepted you are committed to it and cannot apply elsewhere. If you are unsuccessful or decline the offer, you can then choose another course to apply to if you’re within the deadline.

UCAS Clearing

If you didn’t get the grades you needed for your firm or insurance choice, you can still apply to university through UCAS Clearing.

From 5 July – 19 October 2021, you can apply for a course using Clearing if you’re not already holding an offer from a university or college.

If you had conditional offers but your exam results didn’t go to plan, you can use Clearing from 3pm on results day on 24 August 2021.

If you no longer want to go to your firm choice university, you can call them and ask them to release you into Clearing. Clearing Plus now allows you the option to also release yourself into Clearing. Read more about this here. 

You cannot swap your firm and insurance choice – if you want to go to your insurance choice university you will need to apply via Clearing – but check with your insurance choice first that they can accept you.

To apply for courses via Clearing:

  1. Ask for advice at your school/college.
  2. See what courses are available using the UCAS search tool.
  3. Consider different subjects and joint honours courses.
  4. Check the course details such as course content and structure, and entry requirements.
  5. Call universities you are interested in and give them your Clearing number (you can find this in Track), and Personal ID, so they can look up your application. Ask if they have spaces and if they’d accept you.
  6. Get informal offers over the phone – maybe from a variety of universities and colleges – then decide which one you want to accept.
  7. Add your Clearing choice in Track. Only add a Clearing choice once you have permission from the university or college. This counts as you accepting the offer, so if they confirm, it’ll show as an acceptance on your ‘Choices’ page in Track. You can only add one choice at a time, but if the university/college doesn’t confirm your place, you’ll be able to add another.

UCAS Adjustment

UCAS Adjustment is an optional service for students who achieved better grades than they expected and want to change the course they are considered for.

If you find out on A-Level results day (24 August 2021) that you have met or exceeded the conditions of your conditional firm choice and now want to go to a different university, you can try and find another place without losing your original offer.

UCAS Adjustment is open from results day until the end of August.

Everyone whose place on a course has been confirmed can register for Adjustment but you are only eligible to use Adjustment if you have met or exceeded the conditions of your conditional firm choice.

Your personal Adjustment period starts from when your conditional firm choice changes to unconditional firm on UCAS.

From when you register for Adjustment on Track you have up to five days to research and secure an alternative place. Track will show you how much is left of your personal adjustment period.

You will need to contact universities you are interested in and give them your personal ID and let them know you are applying via Adjustment. They will then check you are eligible.

If you obtain an Adjustment place, you give up your original offer.

If you accept an Adjustment place, the details appear in your choices page on UCAS Track.

If you register for Adjustment but don’t find an alternative place, you will take up your place at your original choice.

How to apply to the School of Journalism

You can apply for our BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism degree now. If you have any questions you can email us on [email protected] or call us on 0203 026 3781.

Here are the details you’ll need:

  • Course code: P500
  • Institution code: P63
  • Campus: London (L)

You can also apply for deferred entry at this point, if you’re looking to study with us next year.

Read our guide on the NCTJ here.