The UCAS Track website is now back online, after an agonising period of down time on A-Level results day
The UCAS Track website – used by A-level students to check the status of their university applications – is back online after crashing earlier today due to unprecedented demand.
UCAS Track was taken down at 8.40am, after traffic rose to four times the peak per second compared to last year, leaving tens of thousands of anxious teenagers in limbo.
In a statement, UCAS reassured students that their ability to enter clearing, (where applicants are matched to vacant courses), will not have been affected by the closure.
“UCAS Track services have now been restored after a period of intermittent disruption for some users,” the statement said. “The ability to choose a clearing place has not been impacted, and this function will open late afternoon as planned.”
Clearing is expected to be highly competitive this year with 185,000 candidates chasing just 29,000 unfilled places on degree courses. This is largely due to students rushing to secure places this September, ahead of the hike in fees next year.
According to Michael Allen, director of application performance management solutions at Compuware, it is “inexcusable” for the UCAS Track website to crash on A-Level results day, causing anguish for students and their families.
“In this day and age, there’s no reason why increased traffic should cause a website to crash,” said Allen. “Every year, we know students will be rushing to the website on A-Level results day and UCAS should be in a great position in that it knows exactly how many students have applied for University and should therefore be in a good position to predict website traffic.”
“There are numerous tests that can be done to ensure a website can handle the pressure,” he added. “Testing in advance will flag up any problems so steps can be taken to ensure things run smoothly when the traffic hits. For any organisation running a website likely to come under sudden pressure, this kind of forward thinking is vital and it would have made the difference today.”
Despite the UCAS Track website crash, UCAS is obviously making an effort to engage students online. The organisation is running a digital “hub” called UCAS Connect for the first time this year, where students can contact representatives for advice via social networking sites.