How to Reply to University Offers

Check out our guide on what to do after receiving an offer from UCAS...


Achieving a university offer can often be the culmination of months of study, stress and hard work.

But once you have received an offer, there's still action to take and decisions to be made. 

If you're wondering what to do next, we've put together a guide explaining more on the UCAS process and how to respond below. 

If you're not yet at this stage but looking to join one of our courses here at ICMP, then tap the link for more info on how to apply to our programmes

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If you need help completing your UCAS application, or have questions about the application process, please contact our Admissions Team on 020 7328 0222 or who will be happy to help.

University offers explained 

University offers are the ways in which educational providers communicate with students after they have formally applied to join a course. 

Students can apply to five programmes and can potentially receive up to five offers.

You will then need to decide your first choice and your insurance offer too. It's important to make a note of the deadline for responding to multiple offers to make sure nothing is missed. 



UCAS is the 'Universities and Colleges Admissions Service'. 

This is a centralised application service that serves most UK university level courses at undergraduate level. You can find them at

Unconditional and conditional offers

You can accept up to two offers as part of the UCAS process - one will be your first choice, the other your second choice - and these are sometimes called your firm choice and your insurance choice.

If you have more than two offers, then you need to decline any other places from universities. 

An unconditional offer means a university wants you no matter what. All you need to do is access your UCAS Hub account, then officially accept the place. 

A conditional offer means there are conditions in place before you will be accepted on a course. Usually, this means you must achieve a particular set of grades in whatever qualifications you're studying to be accepted.  

Most students will accept an offer as their first or firm choice. This means they will have a university place depending on whether they meet the grade requirements. 

Can I decline an offer?

Yes you can. There are often different reasons for this - perhaps you have realised that the subject you originally opted for is no longer for you. Or your situation might have changed, meaning you may need to delay your application or postpone. 

If you have realised that you would prefer to study something else and have already used all five of your options, then you will need to use UCAS Extra or enter Clearing to find a place.

UCAS Extra

Students are eligible for Extra if they've used all five choices on their application and have either been unsuccessful or declined all received offers.

Using Extra will allow you to make an additional choice. 

Find out more about applying through Extra.


In 2024, Clearing runs from 5th July to 21st October. You can apply for a course using Clearing if you're not already holding an offer from a university or college, and the course still has places.

Find out more about applying through Clearing

What happens once an offer has been accepted? 


Students and universities both need to follow UCAS rules once an offer has been made and accepted. 

If you firmly accept an unconditional offer, you have a definite place at that university.

If you firmly accept a conditional offer and then meet all the conditions, the university is obliged to accept you – and you're obliged to go there to study too. 

Advice on what to do after receiving an offer 

Here are some things to consider once you have received an offer:

- Give yourself enough time to make an informed decision about where you want to go. Once you have accepted an offer, then the rules of UCAS require you to stick to your decision. 

- If you have an unconditional firm choice, then you can 'decline my place' on UCAS after Clearing has opened to enter this part of the application process. 

- If you have received an official offer, then this could be a good moment to revisit the institution, check out the university and make sure this is where you want to study. 

- If you can't attend an applicant day, you could see if the uni has any upcoming open days you can attend.

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Tour of our industry-leading facilities, find out all about life at ICMP, watch our students perform, and have all your questions answered. 

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- According to UCAS, an estimated eight percent of applicants end up going to their insurance university having failed to meet the requirements for their top choice. It shows that it's well worth taking your time to consider your second choice alongside your first. 

- Make sure you reply to all of your offers by the relevant deadline. If you don't, and ignore the UCAS reminders, you'll be 'declined by default' and lose your offers. 

- If you do decide that you want to decline your place, be absolutely sure. Before declining, speak to the university or college first. If you wish to stay at the same university, but do a different course, speaking to the university or college first will give you the best chance of making this change. 

Deadlines for replying to offers 2024

There are several different deadlines for replying to university offers, depending on when you submitted your application and when UCAS gets offers and decisions from universities.

28th February | UCAS Extra opens..

16th May | Universities and colleges deadline to send decisions on applications received by 31st January.  

6th June | If UCAS receives all university decisions by 16th May, then aspiring students need to reply to offers by this date. 

30th June | All applications received after this date will be entered into Clearing. 

Clearing deadlines

5th July | Clearing opens.

6th August | SQA results published - this means that students in Scotland can make applications via Clearing.

15th August | A-Level results published - A-Level students can now apply through Clearing. 

21st October | Clearing closes

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by ICMP staff writer
April 24, 2024
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