Over 30,000 students got into university last year despite applying ‘late’, says admissions officer

Student news

Wednesday 15 March 2017

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It’s not too late to make it to university this year - some 30,395 people secured places in 2016 despite applying after UCAS’ October, January and March deadlines, figures from the admissions service show.

The number of successful applicants who chose to apply only by the 30 June ‘late’ deadline which doesn’t guarantee their application will be considered, have increased by 25% over the last five years.

Simon Jones, Coventry University’s Deputy Director of Admissions, said students were ‘more aware of the strength of their positon in a competitive higher education market’, while universities were increasing keen to recruit strong applicants throughout the year.

15 October is the deadline for applying to Oxford and Cambridge, plus all medicine, veterinary and dentistry courses. 15 January is the ‘on time’ deadline for most courses and universities, with 24 March the deadline for some art and design courses.

30 June is the final deadline for making five choices on the UCAS form, and while these will still be sent to universities, there is no guarantee of consideration at this point. Nevertheless, with applicant numbers static, universities are increasingly keen to accept applications sent at all points in the cycle.

On recent evidence, around 13 per cent of Coventry University’s applications will come in the next four months, Simon Jones explained.

So applicants shouldn’t think they have missed their chance – including people in work but thinking about a career change.

He said:

“We do encourage applicants to get their choices in by 15 January because this date guarantees that your application will be considered and makes sure you have all the options open to you.


But things are changing and we now have thousands of applications coming in after the January deadline but before the final cut off for making five choices comes in mid-June.


Last year around thirteen percent of all of our undergraduate applications came in after January which adds up to over 5,000 what would be considered late applications, so there’s no reason to think you’ve missed the boat.


People are applying later in the year after taking more time to decide what they want to study and research their choices. These students are empowered and know they are making a long-term financial commitment.


With a falling population of 18-year-olds in the UK, universities are working hard to recruit strong applicants from a pool that isn’t getting bigger.


There are also many cases of older people considering a career change, and they won’t necessarily be in line with the same deadlines that schools and colleges work towards.


Whatever the reasons, it means there’s still time to see what’s out there and it is great to see people doing that. Think about where a degree could take you, what you want to achieve and take time to research, so you make your choice confident that it will hold your interest and energy for three years or more.” 


Number of accepted students who applied to UK universities by UCAS’ 15 October, 15 January or 24 March deadlines (cumulative total, 2012 to 2016 cycles; figures do not include Clearing acceptances)

  • 2016 - 468,365               
  • 2015 - 465,320             
  • 2014 - 450,285              
  • 2013 - 432,880             
  • 2012 - 411,065

Number of accepted students who applied after October/January/March deadlines but before UCAS’ 30 June ‘final’ deadline for making university choices (cumulative total, 2012 to 2016 cycles; figures do not include Clearing acceptances)

  • 2016 - 30,395              
  • 2015 - 29,430           
  • 2014 - 28,495                 
  • 2013 - 28,820                 
  • 2012 - 24,080                         

(Source: UCAS End of Cycle Data Resources, published December 2016.) 


For more information please contact Hannah Smith, Coventry University press officer at hannah.smith@coventry.ac.uk or +44 (0)24 7765 8352