What is UCAS Extra? Your comprehensive guide

UCAS Extra is a free service that allows you to keep applying for higher education courses even if you’ve already used up your original five choices, as long as you applied through UCAS and are not holding any offers or waiting for a decision on any of your initial five applications.

You can apply through UCAS Extra from 25 February until 4 July this year.  If you still don’t have any offers after this point you will still be able to apply for a place at university through clearing.

How does UCAS Extra work?

You don’t need to apply to use UCAS Extra; if you’re eligible, the “Add Extra Choice” button will automatically appear in the Choices section of your UCAS tracking page.  

Key Points:

  • There’s no limit to the number of courses you can apply to though Extra
  • You can only apply for one at a time, so you won’t be able to pick a first choice and an insurance offer like in the first round of applications.
  • If you accept an offer though UCAS Extra, you will be expected to take up your place there and will be ineligible for clearing, unless you fail to meet the grade requirements of the offer.
  • If you haven’t heard back from a course you applied to through Extra and you’d like to apply for another you can withdraw an Extra application at any time, but it’s worth checking with the university or college itself to make sure an offer isn’t on its way before you do. 

Who can use Extra?

You can use Extra if you originally applied to university through UCAS, have used up all your choices and have no offers.  It doesn’t matter if you didn’t receive any offers from your first five choices or if you didn’t accept any of these offers – if you haven’t secured a place on any courses and you’re not waiting to hear back from anywhere you applied to, you can apply through UCAS Extra.

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How to apply in UCAS Extra?

On the UCAS website you add an Extra choice in Track.  If you are eligible, you’ll see the ‘Add an Extra choice’ option in the ‘Your choices’ section.  You need to click on this link and enter the details of the university and course – UCAS will then make your application available to them.

How do you add more choices?

Adding another choice using Extra is easy:

  • Firstly you need to use the UCAS search tool to find courses that have places available in Extra. You can do this using the UCAS search tool – just click ‘Show courses in Extra’ on the left-hand side of the screen to view a list.
  • Contact the university or college to check they are able to consider you.
  • Add the details in Track (If you are applying for a different subject, you may want to send a new personal statement to the university or college to strengthen your application).

What happens next?

  • After you’ve added choices through Extra, the university or college you’ve applied to will consider your application. 
  • After 21 days you can choose to either continue to wait for a decision from the university or college or replace it with a different Extra choice. 
  • If you receive an offer, reply to it using Track.  If you accept the offer, it’s yours – subject to you meeting any conditions.   
  • If you received an offer but don’t want to accept it, you can decline it using Track and start your Extra search again. 
  • If you’re not offered a place you can start the Extra process again and keep going until you get a place or until it closes on 4 July.

How many universities/courses can you apply to?

In your initial application, you can apply to five universities/courses (if you want to apply for two courses at the same university, this counts as two out of your five choices).  Once you've heard back from all of these, you can choose a firm and an insurance choice, and you decline the rest of your courses.

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Can you change the course you’ve chosen through UCAS Extra?

Yes, though you can only apply for one choice through Extra at a time, so don’t rush into applying for the first course that you’re interested in – take some time to find out more about the course and the university.

There’s no limit to the number of courses you can apply to though Extra, but you can only apply for one at a time, so you won’t be able to pick a first choice and an insurance offer like in the first round of applications.

If you haven’t heard back from a course you applied to through Extra and you’re anxious to apply for another you can withdraw an Extra application at any time, but it’s worth checking with the university or college itself to make sure an offer isn’t on its way before you do.  

What is UCAS Clearing?

Clearing pairs applicants with suitable university places that are yet to be filled.  The process is available to anyone who has made a UCAS undergraduate application and has not been offered a place anywhere.  The process runs from 5 July to mid-September.  You are eligible for Clearing if:

  • You apply after 30 June
  • You are not holding any offers from universities or colleges you’ve applied to
  • Your place is not confirmed after exam results are published.

There are many reasons why courses are still available. It’s an opportunity for those who have missed their conditions, or had a last minute change of heart about the university or course they want to study.

Can you go through clearing if you have an offer through UCAS Extra?

By accepting an offer through Extra you’re committing to that university or college and you’ll be placed with them if you meet the conditions of their offer. If you don’t meet the conditions of their offer, you will automatically become eligible for Clearing.

You can only apply through Clearing if you have no offers, so you would have to negotiate a release from your firm choice before being able to apply through Clearing. But this can take up to 10 days and there is no going back, so it's important to think carefully before you commit.

If you don't manage to find anything through Extra, don't panic - there are still university places available during the Clearing process which opens in mid-July.