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4 updates for class of 2022 students applying for college in the UK

The college application season for high school seniors is well underway, but here are four updates that American students thinking of applying to the UK may wish to note.

UK cityscape

New and improved UCAS portal for applying to colleges in the UK

UCAS stands for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, and it is basically the 'Common App of the UK' to a degree.

This year, UCAS has finally moved into the 21st century with updates that have made the portal much more user friendly, especially for international students.

Now, students apply through UCAS Hub.

UCAS portal

Having said that, there are still a few quirks, such as having to 'mark each section as complete' in order to finalize the application, and this checkbox is easily missed.

One also needs to mark the education section as complete before being able to request a reference letter, for example.

Still, it's 100 times better than it was before.

New date for equal consideration deadline

The 'equal consideration deadline' is the date by which all students should apply in order to be guaranteed that their application would be reviewed.

In previous years, this date was January 15; however, in the 2020/21 cycle, it was moved back due to Covid-19, and it appears that change is staying.

Now, students must apply before the last Wednesday in January, so in this cycle, that date falls on January 26, 2022.

After this date, programs that are oversubscribed will close applications, leaving fewer options on the table for late applicants.

Nevertheless, I still recommend applying as early as possible.

Longer processing times

U.S. colleges aren't the only ones seeing a crazy influx of applications of late.

UCAS data from June reported that 7,650 students from the U.S. applied for an undergraduate degree in 2020/21, compared to 5,000 the year before.

I'm not a math major, but that's a 53 percent increase!

This, coupled with the fact that EU students are now being assessed in the 'international' pool post-Brexit, means it's taking UK universities longer to reply to students.

The increase in demand may even result in some universities choosing to hold all applications until after the equal consideration deadline, so programs that were previously on rolling admissions may not be rolling anymore.

And it's hard to know in advance.

So don't be alarmed if you've applied a month ago and still haven't heard back; it's not you--it's them.

No more Adjustment

Most American students wouldn't even be aware that this existed, but Adjustment has been officially abandoned starting this year, UCAS announced.

Adjustment was a process for students holding a conditional offer.

If students ended up exceeding the conditions on their offer, they could apply for a different course or university (with higher requirements) without losing the offer they held.

The number of students securing a place through Adjustment fell from more than 1,000 in 2017 to around 250 in 2020 though, so UCAS has decided to decommission this option in an effort to simplify their processes.

Clearing, however, is still a possibility for students who didn't receive any offers or decided to decline them all instead.


Want to apply to the UK but feeling overwhelmed by it all?



G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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