This is how UCAS track works and what time it updates - and how to apply for university clearing

Did you get the university place you were hoping for? (Photo: Shutterstock)Did you get the university place you were hoping for? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Did you get the university place you were hoping for? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Thousands of pupils across England will receive the results of their A levels today, which will determine the next stage of their educational career.

Many will be nervously awaiting confirmation from their university of choice to see whether they have been accepted onto their preferred course, based on their awarded grades.

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UCAS Track is the system used to check whether your offer has been accepted. Here’s how it works.

What does UCAS track show?

UCAS track is used to follow the status of your university application.

You can log in to the system to view whether your chosen university has accepted your results and offered you a place on the course you applied for.

Universities can make three different decisions in regard to your application:

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  • Conditional offer - this means you need to meet the requirements, which is usually based on exam results.
  • Unconditional offer - this means you have secured a place on your course of choice.
  • Unsuccessful or withdrawn choice - this unfortunately means that you have not received the required grades to be accepted onto your course, or your application has been withdrawn by either you or the university.

In some cases universities may offer you a similar course that you did not originally apply to, but that your grades will allow you to do.

When does UCAS track update?

UCAS started updating records at 8am on Thursday 13 August, when A level results came out.

However, the results of your A levels will not show in UCAS track - you’ll get these from your school or college.

UCAS track will instead show the status of your university application. It may take a little while for universities to accept offers, so keep checking your account throughout the day.

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The final deadline for universities to make decisions on applications for courses starting this year is 20 October.

To track the status of your application, log in to UCAS track.

What if I don’t get accepted on my course?

If you haven’t been accepted into your first choice or your insurance university, it is still worth phoning to check they definitely cannot offer you a place.

If your grades are lower than you expected, you are able to request the grades that your school provided to the exam board before they were moderated.

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Under new government guidelines, these grades can be used as your official grades instead.

However, to do this you must first get an Ofqual Centre Assessed Grade request form from your school or college.

Alternatively, you can choose to go through clearing. If you didn’t get your place at university confirmed on UCAS Track, an option to ‘Add clearing choice’ on your track screen will automatically show up.

You will be provided with a clearing number which you will need to provide when calling universities.

Clearing will close on 20 October 2020 and courses will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.