Today, UCAS publishes the latest acceptance figures for the 2018 application cycle, as of 28 days after A level results day. Typically, 95 per cent of students who will be accepted by the end of the cycle, have already been placed at this point.
Posted Thu 20 September 2018 - 00:01

Our analysis shows the following:

  • In England, a record 33.5 per cent of the 18 year old population have now been accepted through UCAS.
  • In Wales, 29.5 per cent of young people will be starting an undergraduate course, equalling the record from 2016.
  • In Northern Ireland, the entry rate has reached a five year high of 35.4 per cent.
  • In Scotland, 26.2 per cent of all 18 year olds have now been accepted, another record.
  • 60,100 people have been accepted through Clearing in total so far, 150 more than the equivalent point last year, and a new record. Of those, 45,690 people were placed after applying through the main scheme (compared to 46,310 in 2017), and a record 14,410 applied directly to Clearing (compared to 13,640 at the same point last year). 
  • A total of 30,350 EU students have been accepted (up 2 per cent on 2017), alongside a record 38,330 (up 4 per cent) from outside the EU.
  • The total number of UK applicants now placed is 426,730, down 3 per cent on 2017, although this comes alongside a 2.5 per cent drop in the number of 18 year olds in the UK population.
  • 495,410 people are now placed in full-time UK higher education through UCAS so far, a decrease of 2 per cent on the same point last year.

A full set of statistical reports is available in the data and analysis section of, alongside our interactive data explorer, which allow users to visualise and tailor the reporting.

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said: ‘As many students are enjoying freshers’ weeks across the country, meeting new faces, and settling into university life, this year’s admissions cycle is nearly complete.

‘The highest ever proportions of young people from England, Scotland, and Wales have been accepted, and record numbers of people have a place after applying through Clearing, with their exam results in hand.

‘The enduring global appeal of studying an undergraduate degree in the UK is clear from the growth in international students with a confirmed place, both from within and outside of the EU.

‘The overall fall in acceptances reflects the ongoing decline in the total number of 18 year olds in the UK’s population, which will continue for the next few years, and follows similar patterns to application trends seen earlier in the year.’

The last date for new applications this year is today, 20 September. Clearing choices can be added to existing applications until 23 October. 66,865 students were placed through Clearing by the end of the 2017 cycle.


This analysis concludes reporting for the 2018 Confirmation and Clearing period. The final applicant and acceptance totals for the 2018 cycle will be published later in the year, as part of our UCAS Undergraduate End of Cycle Report. A full timetable of upcoming statistical publications is now available.

In Scotland, there is a substantial section of provision that is not included in UCAS' figures. This is mostly full-time higher education provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young full-time undergraduate study in Scotland, and this proportion varies by geography and background in Scotland.

UCAS uses the Office for National Statistics’ mid-year population estimates, and apportions the estimates to school cohorts (rather than age at mid-year). Estimates of 15 year olds (apportioned to school cohorts) are used as the basis for this estimate, and aged forward to avoid inaccuracies that can relate from varying numbers of non-UK domiciled 18 year olds being resident at age 18 (for example, international students).

About UCAS

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is a charity, and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. We manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people, each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.

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