How Long Do Universities Take to Reply to Applications

You’ve finally made it to your last year of college and you’re excited to embark on a new journey at university. Then panic starts to strike because the application process seems a little too complicated and you’re worried about the response period. Here’s why you shouldn’t worry.

When to expect a reply

We are aware that this is the scary part but don’t worry, many universities don’t consider applications until long after the UCAS deadline. There’s no set timeframe for when you will receive your offer; however, the average wait time suggested is two to three weeks. Most universities make their decisions by the end of March; however, some don’t respond until May.

Since most A-level students don’t receive their results until August, don’t panic if you have not received an offer by May. Many institutions are overwhelmed with applications and can’t get through them all quickly enough to reply. Focus on getting the grades you need to secure your place, and everything else will fall in place.

For your comfort, there is a clearing process which will allow you to apply and enrol at a university that wasn’t on your list if you have received no other offers. There are always spaces left and staff you can contact to help you secure a place. Have a look at the UCAS website for more information.

The application process

To make the application process easier for you, we have compiled a step-by-step list to ensure that you are prepared for it.

Research different universities and apply on UCAS

Before you think about applying, you need to have a clear idea of the institutions you want to apply to. Many students choose around five universities near the end of their A-level or B-Tec studies when applying through UCAS to improve their chances of securing a place once they have received their results.

To do this, register an account with UCAS and fill out the application forms necessary. For this, you will need all of your personal information, your qualifications, and the names of the universities you wish to apply to. The application deadline for UCAS can vary, but it is typically around the 25th of January. However, depending on the courses you have applied for, the application deadlines may be earlier, so it’s best to check if this applies to you. UCAS accepts up to five options of courses, so choose carefully.

Write a personal statement

To increase your chance of being accepted into your dream university, you must write a personal statement that covers why you want to study there, why you are passionate about the course, and the skills you have that will better your chances of success throughout your time at university. Try to make it as unique and personal as you can to stand out.

Provide references 

Within the application process, you must reference individuals who can represent your academic ability and integrity. These are typically teachers and tutors who understand your abilities and your approach to learning.

Submit your application

When you are ready, you must pay your application fee starting at £27.50, and send off your application to UCAS.

Track and confirm your enrollment

Once you have submitted your application, you can track the progress on your UCAS account. You will be notified of any offers you have received, which you will be able to accept on your account. You can accept one firm offer (your desired choice) and one backup offer to protect your place, and once you receive your exam results, you will be able to begin the enrollment process.

Different types of university offers

There are different types of offers that you may receive. You may be given an unconditional place, which means that no matter what exam results you receive, you are guaranteed a place at your chosen university.

If you receive a conditional offer, that means that your place depends on whether you have achieved the required grades to be accepted into your chosen university. Unconditional offers are very rare, so the majority of students will receive a conditional offer.


You may be invited to attend an interview to determine whether you are a fit candidate for the university you have applied to. Within this, they will assess your communication skills, academic qualifications, and your willingness to work hard and cooperate.