You’ve sent your UCAS application and are wondering: What next?  In this post, find out what happens after you send your UCAS application and get out tips on what to do.

1.  Look for Your UCAS Welcome Email

After you submit your UCAS application, UCAS sends you a welcome email.

This email is very important. It will include your login details for UCAS ‘Track’. This is the online system where you can manage your UCAS application. It’s also where you can keep track of university decisions.

If you can’t find the email, look in your ‘spam’, ‘promotions’ or other folders.    If you still can’t find it, log onto the UCAS website to check your application has been submitted correctly.

In ‘Apply’, can you see that all sections are checked?  Does the application show as ‘Sent’?

If you’re not sure or need any help with this, get in touch with the UCAS team.

2. Do You Need to Make Any Changes?

Read your welcome email carefully to make sure all the details are correct. If there are any mistakes or anything is missing, you should correct it immediately.

If you need to change any of your university choices, you only have 7 days from the date of your ‘welcome’ email to do this.

You can change any of your university choices in UCAS Track.

In Track, you can also change your contact details and any of your personal information.

If the university information is correct, but you need to change a course,  contact the university directly. They will make the course change and will let UCAS know.

3. UCAS Forwards Your Application

After receiving your application, UCAS will process it.   They will then send it to the university or universities you’ve applied to.  This is done quite quickly, usually within 1 – 2 days.

When processing your application, UCAS will check that your personal statement hasn’t been copied from someone else, from the internet or other places.

If your personal statement has more than 10% similarity with another personal statement, UCAS will notify your university choices.

Copying someone else’s personal statement, even a small part of it, is called plagiarism copying someone's work, words or ideas and pretending they're your own . It’s a serious reason for all your universities to  reject your application.

4. The University Receives Your Application

Universities receive student applications from UCAS electronically .

After receiving your application, the university will also process it.  The admissions office will enter your details into a database, and will check your application documents and qualifications. If your application is complete, it will be considered for a decision.

The university usually also sends you a welcome email with your application reference number.  This reference number is different from your UCAS number.  Save it as you’ll need it when contacting the university about your application.

5. Who Makes a Decision on Your Application?

University admissions processes can vary depending on your course.

In many cases, the staff in the admissions office process applications but  decisions are made in the academic department.

In other cases decisions are ‘centralised’. This means the staff in the admissions office make the decision.  Usually this is based on criteria given to them by the academic department.

Or it could be a mix: The admissions office staff 'pre-screen' look at the applications first before sending them to the department applications.  They then make their recommendations to the academic department, but the department makes the final decision.

Lastly, some academic departments process their own applications and make all the decisions.

6.  How Long Will It Take to Get a Decision?

How quickly you will get a reply to your application will depend on the admissions process for your course.

Sometimes you get a decision within a few days, but often it takes 2 – 4  weeks.  In some cases, it can take longer.

If applications to your chosen course are made in a 'gathered field' student applications are collected to make a decision on them together, possibly scoring or ranking the applications , your application will be looked at together with other applications – usually, on a specific date or after the deadline has passed.  You won’t get a decision until after this date.

If decisions are ‘ongoing’, it means decisions are made on individual applications as they are received.  In this case, a decision could be quick, though it really depends on other factors, too.

How quickly you will get a decision will also depend on whether your course involves an admissions interview, placement test or audition.

If you are invited to one of these, you won’t find out the outcome of your application until after you’ve attended.

To know when you can expect to hear back about your application,  check the course information or contact the university directly.

7.  Do You Need To Send Any Other Documents?

A university’s decision can be delayed if your application is missing important information or if you need to send any documents to support your application.

If the university needs any further information from you, they will contact you by email.

After you send your UCAS application, make sure you check your emails on a daily basis.  If you change your email address, don’t forget to update your contact details in the UCAS online system.

8.   How Will You Receive Your Decision?

Once the university makes a decision on your application, this decision is sent to UCAS.   You get an email from UCAS telling you a decision has been received, but you will need to log into UCAS Track to see the details.

You will probably also get an email from the university.  Some universities will only write to you if they have made you an offer, some also if your application is not successful.

It’s worth knowing that an offer is only official when it has been sent to you through UCAS.

9.  Will Universities  See Each Other’s Decisions?

While they are still considering your application, universities can’t see where else you have applied. They therefore can’t see what decisions the other universities have made.

Universities can only see your other applications and decisions after you have received replies from all your UCAS choices – And only after you have replied to any offers.

10.  Should You Contact the University?

We would recommend that in the first two weeks after sending your UCAS application, just be patient.

If your application was submitted to UCAS correctly and you have your UCAS welcome email, you’ll probably hear from your university choices soon.

If you feel too much time has passed, check your email folders to make sure you haven’t missed any university emails.   Contact the universities directly if you need to.


How long it takes to get a decision from a university can vary depending on the course you’ve applied to.

Some universities are able to guarantee a  quick decision, while others aren’t very specific about how long it takes.  If your course operates a ‘gathered field’ or has an interview, audition or test as part of the admissions requirements, it usually takes longer.

Ask yourself if the university has had enough time to look at your application before getting in touch to ask about your application status. Most of the time, you’ll hear from the university with a welcome email within two weeks of applying.

Keep an eye on your emails in case any of the universities contact you asking for more information – Or to invite you to a ‘second stage’ assessment.

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