Number of applicants to October deadline university courses reaches highest recorded, UCAS figures reveal

Figures released by UCAS show a robust start to the university admissions cycle for 2018, with the highest number of applicants to October deadline courses recorded since reporting at this deadline began.
Posted Mon 23 October 2017 - 13:31

The total number of applicants to 15 October deadline courses is 61,440 – an increase of 7% (+ 4,250 people) on figures released at this point last year. 15 October is the deadline for applications for most medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine/science courses, and for all courses at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

Clare Marchant, Chief Executive of UCAS, said: ‘These degree programmes and universities are always popular, and at a time of uncertainty, it’s encouraging that UK higher education remains so attractive, not only to UK students but also those from EU countries, and internationally. However, we’ll need to wait until after the 15 January 2018 deadline to understand what the overall demand for UK higher education looks like.’

The number of applicants from the UK to this deadline has risen by 6% (+2,530 people) to 41,970, the highest number recorded since 2010. This increase is driven by a rise in applications from 18 year olds in England (+8%), and Wales (+7%), with 2,190 more of these young people submitting applications, despite a fall in the UK 18 year old population of around 3% this year.

First time applicants to this deadline are up 8% to 56,020, while the number of students reapplying from the UK has fallen by 1%, to 4,220.

Applicants from the EU have risen by 6% (+370 people) to 6,610, reversing much of the 9% fall seen at this point in the 2017 cycle.

Applicant numbers from outside the EU have increased by 12%, to 12,860 (+1,350 people).

The number of applicants to medicine courses has risen significantly, by 8% to 20,730 (+1,520 people), ending the three year trend of decreases, which followed the 2014 peak of 22,740 applicants. 

The number of 18 year old English applicants to medicine has increased by 16% to 7,770 (+1,080 people), supported by a stable number of 19 year old first time applicants to medicine. This increase in demand may reflect the 500 additional medical school places available for 2018.

This is the first statistical release for the 2018 UCAS admissions cycle.


Notes to editors

Applicants have been able to submit applications for all 2018 courses from early September this year.

This release covers only applicants applying to courses with a 15 October deadline, and is a near complete measure of the demand for these courses.

Typically, around 10% of all prospective students apply to courses with this early deadline.

15 January 2018 is the deadline for most undergraduate courses. UCAS will publish these applicant figures on 8 February 2018.

  • 2018 applicant figures – October deadline 
  • 2018 applicant figures for medicine only – October deadline 

Applicants to courses in Northern Ireland are not shown separately in the tables, to avoid disclosing figures for individual universities before the admissions cycle has closed.

Application and acceptance figures for all courses and universities in the UCAS Undergraduate scheme are published after each cycle closes, between December and January.

Explore the current end of cycle tables (from 2008 – 2016).

View our timetable of data and analysis covering UCAS’ analytical programmes for the 2018 cycle.

About UCAS 

UCAS is a charity and is the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. We manage applications from around 700,000 applicants each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 395 universities and colleges across the UK.

For more information, please contact, or call the External Relations Team on 01242 545 469.

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