If you are applying to university in the UK, by now you’re probably familiar with UCAS – the UK’s online university admissions service. You’ve navigated your way through, sent off your application and you’re ready to sit back and relax…
But, wait! You’ve made a mistake, or something has changed, and your application has already been sent off…what can you do?
You don’t have to send hundreds of manic emails, make frantic phone calls overseas and generally lose your mind because UCAS knows people make mistakes.
You can use Track online by logging into your UCAS account.
— UCAS (@ucas_online) June 6, 2018
But before you get ahead of yourself, not every single change can be made with the click of an online button. But, anything you can’t change on Track you can change via contact with UCAS, or there are ways to contact the universities conveniently and directly.
Here’s what you need to do depending on what went wrong…
If your contact details are incorrect
It’s pretty straightforward to change your address, phone number or email address on Track.
If you’d prefer, you can always call UCAS on the phone – but we don’t know why you’d want to do that when you can do it easy peasy online.
UCAS will inform your universities for you, but it’s not a bad idea to drop them a quick email yourself to ensure they are informed as soon as possible.
Check all your contact details are up-to-date in Track, so you don't miss important info from us or your unis https://t.co/flbiYZrEbf
— UCAS (@ucas_online) March 26, 2018
If it was your email address that needed to be changed, UCAS will send an email to your new address with a verification code that you will need to enter into Track to confirm this is now the best way to contact you.
You need to change who has access to your account
You can opt to have someone on your account who has ‘nominated access’ who can take over on your behalf if, for any reason, you are unable to access it yourself. This person will be able to make decisions on your account, discuss your application with UCAS and speak to universities on your behalf.
They are likely to be a parent, spouse or close relative but you can select someone whom you feel comfortable with.
Mum is trying to get me to put dad on my ucas as a nominated access person. Does she not understand if he has power, he will make me do law?
— Hirushi (@rushiwick) October 10, 2015
If you wish to change this or if you did not previously have anyone nominated but you now wish to nominate someone, you can call UCAS.
You applied for the wrong course, year or point of entry
It happens – maybe you were rushed or just didn’t double check before you pressed go, but we all make mistakes.
If you applied for the wrong year, point of entry or even the wrong course you will have to contact the university or college directly, not UCAS. Send a quick email to the admissions office which you should be able to find on their website.
Explain your situation and be clear and concise about what you wish to change.
If the university agrees to this, the admissions office will notify UCAS who can then update the information in the system.
You want to change which universities you applied for
If you received your welcome email within the last 14 days you will be able to switch one university selection for another through Track (we told you it was handy!).
Awkward moment when you check UCAS tracking and you applied for the wrong course 😐
— Jess Thomas (@Jess_Thomas1999) January 12, 2017
Although, if it is after 30 June you will be unable to swap any choices no matter when you applied.
Bear in mind, you run the risk of having a ‘late application’ if you swap your university after the relevant deadline dependent on your course. It is wise to contact the university first to check they will be willing to consider your application.
You want to change which university you accepted
You selected to go to X institute but now you are certain it’s Y institute you really want to go to. Don’t panic. It’s fixable.
It all depends on how long ago you accepted your offer…you know what we’re going to say next, it’s that magic 14-day period again. If you accepted your offer under two weeks ago just contact an advisor at UCAS and ask them to update your replies.
Is it too late to change your uni choices? I think I chose the wrong uni's because I rushed my application? @ucas_online
— sarah (@salvsars) April 23, 2016
Over that 14-day mark? Things get a little more tricky.
You’ve actually entered into a contract with the university you selected and so, while possible, it is pretty tough to get out of. UCAS can’t guarantee you’ll be able to withdraw your acceptance so you will need to contact the university first.
If the university agrees to let you withdraw, you’ll then need to call UCAS and inform staff of the changes that need to be made.
And lastly, unfortunately, if all this is happening after 19 July*, you won’t be able to change your choices at all.
You want to apply to one more course or university
If you’ve decided you want to apply to even more universities, colleges or courses in the UK, you can do so through UCAS’ ‘Extra’ between 25 Feb and early July for free.
If you didn’t use all of the maximum five applications you can send through UCAS, you can easily add more in Track before 30 June so long as you haven’t yet accepted an offer.
You may have to pay an additional fee but this is small, and only if you had originally applied to one course at one institution as in this case, you will already have paid a reduced fee.
If you did use all five choices, you can use Extra if you’ve received decisions in the form of rejections from all five or if you declined your offers.
Your exams or courses have changed
If anything to do with your qualifications has changed you should notify UCAS immediately by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also let your universities know.
This can be anything from a change in subject, module, unit or exam board or centre number.
There may be significant problems with your application should you fail to notify both UCAS and your universities of the changes. You could face delays in the processing of your exam results and if your results cannot be confirmed you face losing your place at university.
If a situation occurs that could impact your exam results such as illness, write as soon as you can to each institution you applied to inform them of the situation, giving details on what has occurred. You should include a supporting letter from your school or college and a doctor’s note if it’s a medical issue.
If you wish to withdraw
Things change and for some reason or other you may wish to cancel a particular course or university acceptance, or even withdraw your whole application.
If you wish to cancel the entire thing what happens next depends on how long ago you applied.
I just realised that if i apply for Uni I’ll probably have to go to interviews… can you cancel your UCAS application? Asking for a friend pic.twitter.com/kn9zNx422y
— Stacey (@RiversPetal) December 18, 2017
Here we go again…14 is your lucky number! If you applied within the last 14 days you can cancel by completing an online form or by calling UCAS. You should be able to have the costs refunded to your bank account.
But don’t be hasty because if you cancel your application in Track you will not be eligible for a refund so follow the link above. If you applied over 14 days ago sadly you will be unable to get your money back and can just cancel in Track.
If it’s just the one choice you want to withdraw you can cancel it easily via Track and free of charge, so long as the university or college hasn’t already sent through their decision.
* This date is subject to change each year. Please check exact dates on the UCAS website.