Student Advice

What is deferred entry?

Ben Maples  · Nov 16th 2023  · 4 min

Deferred entry can be an excellent way for students to begin their studies. A year out in the world before you tackle your degree can offer a fresh perspective to help you approach your studies.


Not all students who want to go to university are necessarily ready. It’s a very daunting experience and such a major step up in terms of education. So, a year out - relaxing or working - can be a wonderful way to prepare for your degree.

What is deferred entry?

What is deferred entry?

Deferred entry is when a student decides to take a year out before they begin their course. For example, a student who applied for a course that begins in October 2023 may be able to defer the start of the course until October 2024.

Not all universities or courses will allow for deferred entry, however. If this is the case, then you can simply apply the following year.

Students who know in advance that they want to defer their entry can do so on UCAS. All this involves is simply selecting yourself as a “deferred applicant”.

What are the financial implications of deferred entry?

The financial implications for deferred entry can be wide-ranging. Taking a year out will delay your progress into full-time employment after university. You will also need to have fun this year before university yourself as it isn't covered by Student Finance.

As for student finance, you can simply inform the relevant Student Finance company. This will allow your finances to begin when you actually start your course.

What advice do I need for deferred entry for 2024?

Deferred entry isn’t an easy choice to make and can be full of things to consider. Sometimes, having all the facts and figures in front of you will allow you to see if this is something you want to be doing right now.

Deferred entry

Wait before you decide

You’d be surprised how much can change in a short space of time. You may even find that you don’t need to defer your entry if your circumstances can be accommodated by the university.

Consider your options

Think about why you are considering deferred entry and whether or not it’s right for you. The positives of starting a year or so later may be vastly outweighed by the negatives, especially when considering things like being a year late to the job market.

Think about the finances

Make sure you have the finances to support this decision. Remember, you’ll not have student finance to help out if you have deferred entry.

Consider the long-term

How does this impact your future plans? Remember that by starting a year later, you are also delaying your graduation as well. Also, remember that if you’re unable to defer your entry and need to re-apply next year, then you will find that the university entry requirements may have changed. If you can secure a place at your dream university on the course you’d love, why wait?!

Should I defer my entry for next year, or should I start this year?

Ultimately, this is something that only you can realistically answer. People defer for various reasons, so if the reasons seem good enough for you, then it will be your decision and no one else’s.

University deferred entry


The main pro is that this is a year spent doing whatever you like. Gap years are hugely popular with students, but this is also a chance to gain valuable work experience, either in the industry you want to work in or another one entirely.

The prospect of more riches can be as good a reason as any! Giving yourself a nice little nest after pulling non-stop shifts at Tesco means you can live like a king for a little while when you get to uni!

It also gives students the time to grow as people. Sometimes, a year out can give you a bit of perspective while you wait for your studies to start; you can go travelling, dive into new experiences, consider your career options, and so much more.


There are some downsides to deferring your entry, of course. Deferred entry will mean that you’re entering into the job market a year later than you would prefer. This is not, strictly speaking, the worst thing that could happen, but there is still a chance that you will be a year later into the career you want than if you had studied a year earlier.

It can also be somewhat jarring for students who are looking to go back into education. A year away from study, textbooks, and essay writing can sometimes mean that it’s a struggle to get back into the swing of things.

How do you defer your entry?

This depends on your circumstances. You can apply through UCAS as a deferred applicant, which can make life a lot easier. You will need to check the university’s policy on deferred entry before you apply.

Not all students know they want to defer entry immediately. As a result, this means that students will need to speak to universities directly and find out what their policy is regarding deferred entry and whether they will hold your place or not. If you’re looking for a deferred entry spot through Clearing, unfortunately, this isn’t an option, and you’ll need to wait until next year.

undergraduate Uni's

Get your questions answered by sending them an enquiry now.