Caitlin, our student blogger, gets to grips with UCAS Extra

Thursday, January 8, 2015 12:00 AM

I want you to imagine this scenario. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are buzzing with chat from your friends about how they have secured a university place. They bagged their first choice, second choice, hey, some even bagged all their choices (subject to the little matter of getting the A level grades).  Meanwhile, you’re left feeling like Billy no-mates because you didn’t get a single offer from anywhere, not even from the dead cert, Nostar College.  Unfortunately, for some of you, that brief glimpse into fantasyland will turn into reality. Suddenly, you find yourself without an invitation to the party and sitting on top on the reject pile. That happened to two of my friends last year who applied for medicine - this in spite of getting top AS and GCSE grades.

So what can you do about it? First thing to say is don’t waste precious time moping about or getting angry about something you almost certainly can’t change. OK, allow yourself get angry for thirty-seven-and-a-half minutes. After that, if you are not a diabetic, eat the biggest bar of chocolate you can find before moving forward to consider your options.

‘UCAS Extra’ is a way of applying to additional universities if you have received no offers from your original five choices. Alternatively, it’s a service you can use if you’ve had a major rethink and don’t want to accept any of your original offers. In 2015, Extra will run from 25th February to the 2nd July. If you are eligible, it will show up as a button when you log in to track your application.

There’s no limit to the number of times you can add an Extra choice to your application. However, you can only apply for one choice through Extra at a time, so don’t rush into applying to the first option that looks interesting. Take some time to research and find out more about the course and the university - remember, you could be living there for the next few years. allows you to compare courses and universities to find the best fit for you. Be aware that some courses are almost never available through Extra, such as medicine or dentistry. For these types of courses a better option would probably be to take a gap year and reapply.

With Extra, you can apply to a different course from the one you first chose if you have changed your mind. However, it is worth noting that universities will be able to view your original choices and personal statement. If you have chosen to apply for a completely different course, that statement will not be of any use. In this case, it’s a good idea to contact the university or college you want to apply to and explain to them that you’ve had a rethink. They may be willing to consider a revised personal statement. If so, you will need to send this directly to the university.

If you receive an offer through Extra, you must either accept it as your firm choice or decline it. You will not hold an insurance choice, so be certain that any choice you make is achievable. If you decline an offer, you’ll be able to apply for another course providing you’re within the deadline. If you haven’t received a decision from the university or college within 21 days of applying through Extra, you have the option to apply for a different course.

Remember, ‘when your dreams turn to dust, vacuum’ (quote by Desmond Tutu). So don’t sit in the mess, plug in the cleaner! 

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