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UCAS extends deadline for all applicants to 29 January 2021

Clare Marchant, UCAS

@ucas_online – Students applying to start university or college in 2021 have an additional two weeks to complete their applications, following announcements in the UK to close schools and college buildings.

The UCAS January equal consideration deadline is the point by which the vast majority of applications are submitted and has now been moved to Friday 29 January at 18:00pm (UK time), to allow both students and their teachers and advisers additional time to complete applications and references. 

UCAS Chief Executive, Clare Marchant, said: “We have engaged widely with school leaders and admissions colleagues in universities and colleges as well as students and whilst the feedback is that the vast majority of students are on track with their applications, there is recognition of the significant demands on teachers and advisers’ time as they move to online learning. 

“This decision to extend the deadline is about relieving the pressure not only on students, but also teachers and advisers”. 

“We know from our data that most students have started their UCAS application and we expect to see the number of applications submitted by 29 January exceed the numbers we have seen in previous years.” 

“This additional time also allows schools and colleges to support students who do not have readily available access to digital devices to make arrangements to put the finishing touches to their application. 

“We strongly advise students not to leave their application to the last minute and if they are ready to submit now to go ahead and do this. 

“Whilst students can in many cases apply to courses after the January deadline, applying before 29 January means your application is considered equally against all other students that submit to the deadline and gives students the best possible chance of maximizing the numbers of offers they receive. 

“Between now and the deadline UCAS will be providing students and schools and colleges with additional support, information and advice to complete applications.   As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will keep students informed in relation to the announcements regarding examinations and how this relates to their application, ensuring they have the information they need to make their decisions.” 

Chief Executive of Universities UK, Alistair Jarvis, said:

“We support UCAS’s decision to extend the deadline.  I want to reassure applicants that admissions teams are working hard to assess their applications and ensure decision and offers are made as quickly as possible despite the additional challenges we all face during this national lockdown.” 

Gordon McKenzie, Chief Executive of GuildHE said:

“It is vitally important that students from all backgrounds have the ability to submit their university choices to UCAS by the equal consideration deadline, and we fully support extending the deadline to give students and teachers more time to do this. Whilst many institutions will accept applications later on too, moving this deadline will ensure all applicants have the full range of university and course options at their disposal, and university admissions teams will be working tirelessly to process these applications quickly and fairly.”

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said:

“We recognise this is a difficult time for young people and it is vital students applying to university in 2021/22 have this extra time to carefully consider their applications and make the best choices for their future.

“We want to level up opportunity for all students, whether that is through university, an apprenticeship or technical education.”

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