UCAS application

Waiting for uni offers: how to keep your head

By Nik Taylor (Community Editor, The Student Room) - 12 October 2014

Source: Craven College

'Think I am now officially crazy from waiting!'... 'I feel like I'm getting obsessed with checking my email!'... 'I keep checking Track every few hours - even at 2am - in case there's an update...'. Sound familiar?

It's that time of the year when The Student Room (TSR) heaves with posts such as these. With the university application process in full swing, this autumn's would-be freshers are currently spending a quite indecent amount of time updating their email and clicking on UCAS Track - hoping to catch an offer just as it pops into their inbox.

If you're one of them, you're probably climbing the walls waiting for some news. ANY news... But don't panic! The trouble is, as TSR moderator Minerva explains, not everyone gets their offers at the same time:

'Some people get offers within 48 hours; others wait for weeks or months without hearing anything, not even an acknowledgement. Many unis and/or courses don't even send acknowledgements.' 

Keeping your cool

Still, the time between watching your application float off into the ether through to reaching a state of sheer ‘oh-my-days-I'm-not-going-to-get-in-anywhere’ mania can be remarkably short, as shown by this post from a worried student:
'I sent my UCAS off on Friday and nothing seems to be going on. People from my school are getting offers already. I don't even have an acknowledgement letter from one of the unis I applied to yet. My friend told me unis process the apps in batches. Is that true?' Silver_blacker | The Student Room Member

One of our advisers had some level-headed advice to put this particular student's mind at rest.
'You sent it off on Friday. It's now 8am Monday morning. Universities do not work weekends, so it’s highly unlikely you would have heard anything in a few hours on Friday.' Emma Smith | The Student Room Education Adviser

Unis do look at applications in batches, yes. But, given they've got until May to reply to you (yes, May), you can expect to wait longer than a day to hear anything.

When you can expect to hear back

The plain fact is that, although you might be willing to nibble off your own arm in return for a speedy decision, universities have plenty of time to play with. And it's time they will use.

'UCAS asks universities to make decisions on applicants who met the 15 January deadline by 31 March, but not all of them achieve this', says Minerva.

'The absolute deadline for these decisions is 9 May, when UCAS will automatically enter an 'unsuccessful' decision on Track if the uni has not posted its own decision by then. But if you applied after 15 January, unis have until 18 July to make a decision, after which UCAS will enter 'unsuccessful' if a uni has not responded.'

Plenty of time left

So the message is - if you've not yet heard back then don't worry. There's plenty of time still to go. And if the waiting game really is getting to you, take some comfort from the fact that - no matter how slowly (or quickly) your uni offers have come in - other people are having a similar experience. 

That much is clear from a quick look at TSR's 'waiting for news is driving me crazy' uberthread...
'One of my friends applied after me and she's got five offers. Didn't even have to go to interview.' Where'sperry?

'Sent my application seven weeks ago but only had one offer so far. The waiting is horrible!' Scottishdan

'I got my first offer within three days of applying! It's been nearly 4 weeks now and I've had 3 out of 5 offers, still awaiting news from Bath and Bournemouth.' Myusername

'I got an offer in 24 hours from University of East Anglia to do English but none from any others yet.' Gypsyclimber

'I applied 3 weeks ago and have heard nothing yet  It seems Exeter and Leeds are quick at replying, but I've heard nothing from them.' Alhub94

How have your own applications to university gone? Are you still waiting to hear from your number one choice? Head over to The Student Room and let us know on the message boards.

Which? University provides guest spots to external contributors. The Student Room is the UK's biggest online student community, with more than a million members discussing everything from university applications to revision, health and relationships.


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