Tips and Tricks for Applying to UK Universities for the September 2024 Intake

Applying to UK universities for the September 2024 intake might seem daunting if you’re starting late, but there are still many opportunities to secure a place. Here are several tips and tricks to help you navigate the late application process successfully.

1. Explore Universities with Rolling Admissions

Some UK universities offer rolling admissions, meaning they accept applications until all spots are filled. Research and create a list of such institutions, as they review applications as they come in.

How to Find Universities with Rolling Admissions

  • University Websites: Check the admissions sections for information on rolling admissions policies.
  • UCAS: Use the UCAS search tool to find courses that are still accepting applications.
  • Direct Contact: Call or email admissions offices to ask about the availability of spots.

2. Apply Through UCAS Extra

UCAS Extra is available from February to early July for students who have used all five of their UCAS choices but are not holding any offers. It allows you to apply to additional universities one at a time.

Using UCAS Extra

  • UCAS Account: Log into your UCAS account to see if you’re eligible for UCAS Extra.
  • Research Courses: Identify courses with vacancies via the UCAS course search tool.
  • Application: Apply for one course at a time through UCAS Extra.

3. Consider Clearing

Clearing is a system that matches students without offers to universities with available places. It starts in early July and continues until mid-October, providing a second chance to apply.

Preparing for Clearing

  • UCAS Track: Monitor your status on UCAS Track to know when Clearing becomes available.
  • Research Ahead: Make a list of courses and universities you’re interested in before Clearing begins.
  • Act Quickly: Once Clearing opens, contact universities directly to discuss available places and secure a spot.

4. Investigate Less Competitive Programs

Some programs are less competitive and may have more availability. Broaden your search to include these options, which can still offer excellent education and career opportunities.

Identifying Less Competitive Programs

  • Niche Courses: Look for specialized or emerging fields with fewer applicants.
  • New Universities: Consider universities that have recently gained status or are less known internationally.

5. Prepare a Compelling Application

Even if you’re applying late, your application needs to stand out. Focus on creating a strong personal statement, obtaining good references, and highlighting any relevant experience.

Key Elements of a Strong Application

  • Personal Statement: Explain why you are applying late and emphasize your passion and commitment to the course.
  • References: Secure strong references from teachers, mentors, or employers who can speak to your qualifications and readiness.
  • Experience: Highlight work experience, internships, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your skills and dedication.

6. Reach Out to University Departments Directly

Sometimes, direct communication with the department you’re interested in can be beneficial. Faculty members or department administrators can provide insights and may advocate for your application.

How to Reach Out

  • Email Professors: Send professional emails expressing your interest and inquiring about available spots.
  • Phone Calls: Call the department to discuss your application and ask questions.

7. Consider Alternative Entry Routes

Foundation courses, access courses, or international foundation programs can be alternative pathways to your desired degree. These programs can prepare you for undergraduate study and often have more flexible entry requirements.

Finding Alternative Entry Routes

  • University Websites: Look for foundation or access courses offered by your target universities.
  • Pathway Providers: Research institutions like INTO, Kaplan, or Navitas that offer preparatory courses linked to UK universities.

8. Apply for International Universities in the UK

Some UK universities have campuses or partnerships abroad that might have different deadlines and entry requirements. These programs can be a gateway to eventually studying in the UK.

Exploring International Options

  • Partner Institutions: Look into UK universities’ partner institutions and their application deadlines.
  • Study Abroad Programs: Consider enrolling in a study abroad program that allows for eventual transfer to a UK campus.

9. Stay Organized and Follow Up

Keeping track of deadlines, required documents, and application statuses is crucial when applying late. Use tools and strategies to stay organized.

Tools for Organization

  • Spreadsheets: Create a spreadsheet to track application deadlines, documents, and follow-ups.
  • Reminders: Set reminders for key deadlines and follow-up actions on your phone or calendar app.


Applying late for the September 2024 intake at UK universities requires diligence, flexibility, and strategic planning. By exploring rolling admissions, utilizing UCAS Extra and Clearing, considering less competitive programs, and preparing a strong application, you can still secure a place. Stay organized, proactive, and confident as you navigate the late application process. With the right approach, you can achieve your academic goals and begin your studies in the UK.