Navigating the UCAS application key dates can seem daunting.
We’re here to help you meet a number of deadlines set by UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), universities themselves and test providers. This blog post highlights those key dates, making sure you are clear on the key dates for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.
If you’re looking for every single date offered by UCAS for the 2020-2021 application cycle, you can find them in the table below, along with some further information about each of the dates.
If you’re after slightly more indepth information and expert advice on hitting UCAS timelines, click here.
|Deadline Date||Deadline Task||Further Information|
|15th January 2020||2020 UCAS entry deadline for undergraduate courses without the October 15th deadline.||This is the equal consideration deadline. Universities can, but do not have to, consider applications recieved after this deadline if they still have spaces they would like to fill.|
|25th February 2020||UCAS Extra for 2020 opens.||UCAS Extra is available for candidates who are not holding any offers and have used all five of their choices. If eligible for UCAS Extra, you can apply to more universities one at a time.|
|31th March 2020||University decisions are made for the majority of courses.||Most universities will have made decisions about your application if sent before the January 15th 2020 deadline. There may still be some outstanding applications that haven't heard back yet.|
|5th May 2020||UCAS Undergraduate course search tool is live.||Candidates for 2021 entry can begin to search for Undergraduate courses through UCAS.|
|19th May 2020||2021 applicants can register and begin their applications.|
Decision deadline if all your universities have responded by the 31st March 2020.
|Although 2021 applicants can register, they cannot submit their applications until the 8th September 2020. |
Candidates must make a decision on their firm and insurance offer from UCAS if all of the universities they applied to have responded by the 31st March 2020.
|20th May 2020||Deadline for universities to respond to applications submitted by 15th January 2020.||All universities and colleges must respond to applications made on or before the 15th January 2020. If they do not respond, UCAS will mark the application as unsuccessful on their behalf.|
|4th June 2020||Decision deadline if all your universities have responded by 20th May 2020.||Candidates must make a decision on their firm and insurance offer from UCAS if all of the universities they applied to have responded by the 20th May 2020.|
|18th June 2020||Decision deadline if all of your universities have responded by the 4th June 2020.||Candidates must make a decision on their firm and insurance offer from UCAS if all of the universities they applied to have responded by the 4th June 2020.|
|30th June 2020||UCAS applications received after 30th June 2020 are entered into clearing.||You can apply until 18:00 (GMT) with your five choices. After this time, your UCAS application will automatically be entered into clearing.|
|5th July 2020||UCAS Extra deadline.||5th July 2020 is the final day to add an extra choice for 2020 entry through UCAS Extra. Applicants can still add additional choices to their application through UCAS clearing.|
|6th July 2020||UCAS Clearing opens.|
International Baccalaureate (IB) results are released.
|UCAS Clearing can only be used if you don't have any offers, you've applied through UCAS and you're eligible for the course. |
International Baccalaureate results are released at around 2pm GMT when you can access them online.
|13th July 2020||Decision deadline if all of your universities have responded by the 30th June 2020.||All universities and colleges must respond to applications made on or before the 30th June 2020. If they do not respond, UCAS will mark the application as unsuccessful on their behalf.|
|16th July 2020||Applications for study at a Conservatoire in 2021 open.||If you applying to study at a Conservatoire in 2021, your application opens today.|
|20th July 2020||Decision deadline if all of your universities have responded by the 13th July 2020.||Candidates must make a decision on their firm and insurance offer from UCAS if all of the universities they applied to have responded by the 13th July 2020.|
|4th August 2020||SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) results are released.||SQA results day and the beginning of the Scottish Clearing.|
|13th August 2020||A level results day.|
|13th August 2020 is the A-level results day. |
If you've done better than you expected on with your A-levels, you can use Adjustment to consider an alternative course. You can use adjustment if you've had a conditional choice accepted into an unconditional firm choice. As some students may have missed their conditions, there are sometimes open spaces on previously full courses.
|31st August 2020||Outstanding offer conditions deadline.|
|If there are any outstanding requirements of your application that you have not yet met, they must be met by today otherwise your university or college may not accept you. |
This is the final day UCAS applications can use Adjustment if they exceeded the conditions of their firm offer.
|8th September 2020||UCAS applications for 2021 entry can be submitted.||You can submit your UCAS application for 2021 entry by this date. Universities can also begin to make decisions on the applications they have received.|
|21st September 2020||Final UCAS deadline for 2020 course entry.||This is the final deadline for students wanting to start university in the 2020 entry cycle. The hard deadline is 18:00 GMT.|
|30th September 2020||UCAS Clearing vacancy search closes.||This is the final date that UCAS Clearing search is available to use. After this date, applicants must contact universities directly.|
|15th October 2020||2021 UCAS application deadline date for Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine/Science and Dentistry courses.||Applications for Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine/Sciences and Dentistry for 2021 entry must be submitted by 18:00 GMT to be considered equally against other candidates.|
|20th October 2020||Final UCAS Clearing deadline date and university decision deadline.||This is the final date you can apply for Clearing through UCAS Track and the final date universities can accept applicants in Clearing.|
|15th January 2021||2021 UCAS entry deadline for undergraduate courses without the October 15th deadline.||This is the equal consideration deadline. Universities can, but do not have to, consider applications recieved after this deadline if they still have spaces they would like to fill.|
The UCAS Application
Part of your application to university will be made up of the UCAS application. This is a digital form that collates your personal details, academic history, and university & course choices.
You will be able to start an application from 18 April 2020, while submissions may be made from 8 September 2020.
The period for submitting the application form are:
- 15 October 2020 at 6pm for those applying:
- to Oxford or Cambridge (for all courses); and
- for most dentistry, medicine and veterinary science courses
- 15 January at 6pm for all other courses.
We recommend getting ahead of the game when it comes to filling in the UCAS form. The Dates are there for a reason, but we would encourage you not to see them as a target. Many of our applications submit their applications in mid-September (ahead of Oxford) and we would highly recommend aiming to do the same.
For a handy guide on filling in the application, head to the official UCAS site.
Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) – Cambridge Applicants Only
For those of you applying to Cambridge, you will need to fill in a second form that is much like the UCAS application. This form is known as the SAQ.
The data captured in this form allows Cambridge to obtain further data about you, the courses you have studied so far, and even allows you to submit a Cambridge specific personal statement.
You will be sent a link to complete the SAQ shortly after submitting your UCAS application. In most cases, the date for returning the form is 22 October at 6pm.
Many of you will be required to sit an admissions test for your course. This is frequently required by Oxford and Cambridge, as well as competitive courses at other universities such as law, medicine and veterinary science.
The first key message with admissions tests is to check your chosen universities websites to identify whether you need to take a test. Our advice here is to check now – it’s easy to miss the dates for registering for tests during your admissions cycle.
Once you have checked if you need to take a test, you will note there are two key dates for sitting your admissions test.
The first key date is the date by which you need to have registered for your test. The second key date is the day on or before which you need to have sat the test. The below table outlines some of the key deadlines.
|Admissions Test||Register By||Test Deadline|
|BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)||For Cambridge: 1 October 2020 at 5pm|
For other universities: 15 October 2020 at 6pm (N.B. registering after 1 October 2020 at 5pm incurs an additional fee)
|For Oxford: All tests must be taken on 4 November 2020 |
For other universities: Tests may be taken on either 5 September 2020 or 4 November 2020 (N.B. for those wanting to take the test on 5 September 2020, you will need to register for the test before 9 August 2020 at 11:59pm)
|National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT)||For Oxford: 15 September 2020|
For other universities: 15 January 2020
|For Oxford: on or before 15 October 2020 |
For other universities requiring the LNAT: 20 January 2020
|All University of Oxford admissions tests (excluding the LNAT and BMAT (see above))||15 October 2020 at 6pm||Tests will be taken on 4 November 2020|
|All University of Cambridge tests for the following courses. ||15 October 2020 at 6pm||Tests will be taken on 4 November 2020 for the following courses: |
1. Chemical Engineering
2. Computer Science
6. Land Economy
7. Natural Sciences
8. Veterinary Medicine
|All other University of Cambridge tests (for subjects not named above)||There is no need to register for a test – by making an application the applicant will be given details of the test if invited for interview|
Once again, it should really be emphasised that it is better to register early and have your test arranged well ahead of the deadline.
For most of you, this will mean approaching your schools/colleges as soon as you return in September to register early on.
Alternatively, for those of you sitting the BMAT or LNAT, this will mean heading to the relevant website from 22 June 2020 (for the BMAT September sitting), 1 August 2020 (for the LNAT) or 1 September 2020 (for the BMAT November sitting).
Written Work/Portfolios (for Oxford
If it is required, you will need to submit your written work to your chosen college by 10 November 2020.
Those applying to Cambridge may also find that they need to submit written work. For Cambridge, if you do need to submit written work the college that assesses your application will notify you. The notification will outline the sort of work to be submitted, where it should be sent and your specific cutoff.
For other universities, you should check the relevant course pages on the university website for written work and portfolio requirements.
University Interview Dates
After all of the above, many of you will be lucky enough to review interviews at a range of universities for a number of different courses.
Interviews for Oxford and Cambridge typically occur in the first half of December, with notifications being sent out to applicants from mid-November to early December.
Interviews at other universities occur throughout the year. You should keep an eye out for correspondence from the universities to which you have applied.
Decisions and Firm/Insurance Selection
Applicants will find out the outcome of their applications in turn from each chosen university. Notable decision dates include:
- 12 January 2021 for applicants who interviewed at Oxford; and
- Before the end of January 2021 for applicants who interviewed at Cambridge.
Upon discovering the outcome of all of your applications, you will need to select a first choice (referred to as a “firm choice”) and a second choice (known as an “insurance choice”).
When making this decision, you should bear in mind that if you do not meet the entry requirements for your firm choice university you should try to have an insurance university with lower entry requirements as a safety net. You will need to make your decision on firm and insurance choices by a cutoff set by reference to the date on which you receive your final application decision. The relevant dates are:
|Deadline Dates||Deadline Task||Further Information|
|19th May 2020||Decision deadline if all your universities have responded by the 31st March 2020.||Candidates must make a decision on their firm and insurance offer from UCAS if all of the universities they applied to have responded by the 31st March 2020.|
|4th June 2020||Decision deadline if all your universities have responded by 20th May 2020.||Candidates must make a decision on their firm and insurance offer from UCAS if all of the universities they applied to have responded by the 20th May 2020. |
|18th June 2020||Decision deadline if all of your universities have responded by the 4th June 2020.||Candidates must make a decision on their firm and insurance offer from UCAS if all of the universities they applied to have responded by the 4th June 2020. |
|20th July 2020||Decision deadline if all of your universities have responded by the 13th July 2020.||Candidates must make a decision on their firm and insurance offer from UCAS if all of the universities they applied to have responded by the 13th July 2020. |
UCAS Extra, Clearing & Adjustment
There are variations of UCAS to know about, being:
- UCAS Extra: Extra is designed for applicants who applied using the above application process but have not received an offer from any of their chosen universities by 25 February 2021. Should this happen to you, you may make a further application to another university – in this case you should make your application by 4 July 2021.
- Clearing: This option is available to applicants for a variety of reasons. This includes if you apply late on, if you do not receive any offers you want to accept or if you do not meet the conditions of your previously accepted offers. Clearing opens on 30 June 2021, with offers given from 5 July 2021, and runs until 30 October 2021.
- Adjustment: This process offers a chance to look for a different course and/or university after receiving exam results. It is open to those who have met the conditions of their firm or insurance choice, but want to look elsewhere. Adjustment opens from 19 August 2021 and will run until 31 August 2021. Should you decide to use adjustment, you will have 120 hours from notifying UCAS of this decision to talk to alternative providers and accept a different offer. At the end of this period, if you have not accepted a different offer you will retain the place that you obtained on results day.
We hope that the above has made you aware of the key UCAS dates for your chosen university and subject!
If you’re running behind on UCAS dates and need some extra support with your UCAS application, UniAdmissions can help. Speak to our team to get started.