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Replying to offers: give yourself enough time

Saturday 4 January 2020, Applicant

by UCAS

Replying to offers: give yourself enough time

Relevant to
UCAS
You’ve waited anxiously for your university choices to make their decisions. You’ve logged in to Track to check thousands of times and now you’ve finally received all your offers. You’re probably thinking “What a relief, the wait is over!” but don’t relax just yet, as once you get to this stage there’s a big decision to make: which offers will you accept?

Know your reply deadline
Although you might still be weighing up your different offers, there’s one thing that’s certain, and that’s the deadline you need to reply by. If you’re wondering when it is, it all depends on when you received the universities’ decisions. The first deadline is 5 May, which is for those who received all decisions by 31 March, but Track will display the right deadline for you so make sure you check.

Reply sooner rather than later
Whether you’re one of the people whose deadline is 5 May or not, once you’ve had decisions from all of your choices then it’s a good idea to reply to your offers sooner rather than later. That’s not to say you should rush your replies though – it’s really important to think carefully until you know which you’d like to make your firm and insurance choices. But once you’ve made your decision it’s best not to wait until the last minute.

You might think you’ve got plenty of time but don’t let the reply deadline creep up on you. The unavoidable truth is that if you leave it until deadline day to reply to your offers in Track, you’ll be feeling the pressure – even panicking. When you’re rushing it’s more likely that you’ll make a mistake, which could mean selecting the wrong replies. Just imagine – you’ve spent months perfecting your application and working towards meeting the conditions of your dream offer and you accidently select ‘decline’ instead of ‘firm’!

Now that’s not to say this doesn’t happen to even the most prepared applicants. You may be able to change your replies within seven days of making them – if you call us then we'll be able to let you know if this is possible.

Avoid unnecessary stress
If you miss the reply deadline altogether you’ll end up lumbered with unnecessary stress, as the offers you received will be automatically declined. We call it ‘declined by default’ and if you find yourself in this situation you should contact our customer service advisers straight away – they’ll be able to accept your chosen offers, but only if you get in touch within seven days.

So the most important piece of advice is to give yourself enough time to reply before the deadline. Here are just some of the benefits of replying in good time:
  1. You’ll get peace of mind –  your replies will be done and dusted and out of the way, so you can begin enjoying your summer
  2. You’ll avoid last minute problems – you’ll have the chance to ask for help from your teachers and UCAS, should you need it. 
  3. You’ll be able to make plans – universities and colleges will often wait until you’ve replied before they let you apply for accommodation. 

For help replying to your offers, take a look at our Replying to offers page - where you'll also find our video guide.

 

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