4 potential UCAS application delays & how to avoid them

By Haaroon Younis

The UCAS application deadline of 15th January is getting closer. Getting your application in on time is not as simple as ‘clicking’ submit when you think you’ve completed it. It is a complicated process with a number of steps so inevitably there could be issues at any stage. Even when you’ve given enough time to do everything, delays happen. These are the four mains way your application could potentially be delayed and tips on how to avoid them.


  1. Not giving your teacher enough time to look at your application

The UCAS deadline is 15th January, but if you’re applying through your school/college, you need to give enough time to your teacher before this deadline to write your reference and approve your application before they submit it to UCAS. Sending your application to your teacher on the deadline day does not count as meeting the deadline – it has to be submitted to UCAS itself and your teacher needs to do this. Bare in mind that your teachers are writing references and approving lots of applications not just yours.

How to avoid this: Most schools/colleges set their own internal deadlines for students to get applications submitted to them. If your school/college doesn’t then set your own deadline. Allow plenty of time, around three weeks, for your teacher to complete their section, review the whole application and return to you if needed to make changes.


  1. Assuming your school/college has sent your application

Your teachers have so many references to write, applications to approve, personal statements to check. So there is a small chance that your application could potentially be missed by your teacher and not sent to UCAS on time, even if you have submitted the application yourself well before the deadline.

How to avoid this: Log onto UCAS Track and check that it confirms that your application has been sent off. If it has, then there should be a message reading ‘Your application has been sent to UCAS.’ If doesn’t appear on your Track then contact your teacher who is your referee and find out when they plan to send it, it could be the reminder they need if they have missed your application.


  1. Not resending your returned application to your school/college

Once you’ve sent your UCAS application to gets sent to your school/college and they have to approve and then UCAS processes your application. If, for whatever reason, your school/college returns your application, you’ll get an email from UCAS telling you to log in and when you do there will be a message from your school/college explaining why it’s been returned and what changes you need to make. This is why you need to allow yourself extra time because you will need it to make corrections and resubmit it.

How to avoid this: Obviously properly checking your application before you submit is a must and an easy way to avoid this situation. But if your application is returned remember you must resend your application to your school/college again. A lot of students don’t realise they have to send the application back to their school/college and therefore it doesn’t get submitted.


  1. Technical issues

You probably think this would never happen but it has and still does. So if technology fails you at the final hurdle here is what you should do:

  • Make sure you have your UCAS log in details to hand.
  • If you’re sending your application on the actual deadline day, 15th January, remember it must be submitted by 6pm.
  • Have a debit/credit card ready to pay the application fee.
  • The UCAS contact number is 0371 468 0468. UCAS advisers will also answer questions on Twitter and Facebook.


UCAS application sent off, now what?

Now the waiting game has begun! Read the next blog coming up in the next few days to find out what happens once you’ve submitted your application and UCAS and your University choices receive your application!