University decisions are simple: either you get an offer or you don’t.   Right?  Well, not always.  In this post we tell you about 10 university decisions you could get on your application.

1.  You Get An Offer

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The university will make you an offer if your qualifications and profile are what the admissions staff are looking for.

But, remember, just meeting the entry grades is not enough, especially if the course is very selective.  And any offer you will get may be either ‘unconditional’ or ‘conditional’.

2. They Want More Details

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If anything is missing from your application or the admissions staff have any questions about your qualifications, they will email you to ask for more details.

Your application will be ‘pending’ until you reply.

3. There’s a ‘Second Stage’

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Most of the time, if a course has an interview, audition or admissions test, the admissions staff will first look at your UCAS application. If they like what they see, they will invite you to ‘the second stage’.

Therefore, if you get an invitation to an interview, don’t panic – it’s actually good news.

4. Your Application is ‘Borderline’

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If your grades are slightly below what the university is looking for, your application would be ‘borderline’.

Many universities are flexible and can still consider borderline applicants for an offer. But for courses that receive a lot of excellent applications, that may not be possible.

5. You Get a ‘No’

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If you don’t get an offer, it usually means your qualifications, grades, personal statement, school reference – or overall profile – weren’t what the university is looking for.  Or, sometimes it could just mean that other applicants were stronger.

6.  You Withdraw Your Application

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If for some reason you’re no longer interested in getting an offer from one of your university choices, you can ‘withdraw’ your application before the university makes its decision.

But, remember, once you withdraw your application, you can’t usually have it reinstated – so make sure it’s what you want.

7.  The University Withdraws Your Application

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In some situations the university might withdraw your application. For example, if they have asked you for more details and you haven’t replied.  Or, if the course you’ve applied to is cancelled.

Withdrawing your application is ‘nicer’ than rejecting you – it means the university couldn’t make a decision on your application, and not that you weren’t good enough.

8.   The University Withdraws Its Offer

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When you get a university offer through UCAS, this offer is official.  The university can’t and won’t withdraw it – unless something serious happens.

For example, maybe you didn’t tell them about something important in your application, or you wrote things that aren’t true.  Or, you had a deadline to send your school results and you’ve missed it.

The university can also withdraw the offer if your course is cancelled.  Although, this really doesn’t happen often, and usually they will try to make you an ‘alternative offer’.

9.  Your Conditional Offer Is Not Confirmed

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A conditional offer means you have a place on the course – if you meet all the conditions of your offer.  If you miss any of your conditions, it usually means saying goodbye to your offer.

But,  that’s not always the case.  Many universities will be able to consider your application again before making their final decision, especially if you’re borderline.

10.  You Decline All Your Offers

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Remember our advice that you only put courses in your UCAS application that you would be happy to study?

If for whatever reason you’re not happy with the offers you’ve received, you could decline them all.   Maybe you’ll apply again in UCAS Extra or Clearing.

It can be risky as you don’t know for sure you’ll get an offer. But is it more risky than accepting a course that you don’t really want to study?


Of course, the best outcome to your UCAS application is that you get offers for all the courses that you’ve applied for.

However, university decisions aren’t always that simple. It may be that you need to do one or two things before the university is able to make a decision on your application.  You might receive a conditional offer that you don’t meet, or offers that you don’t want to accept.

In any situation, you usually have several options.  Always consider carefully what might work best for you, before deciding what your next step should be.

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