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You should be aware by now that the deadline for sending your application to UCAS is Sunday 15th January 2017.  If you haven’t already done it, this gives you roughly 5 weeks to get it all sorted. Putting your application together for university has several elements to it, so it’s important that you give yourself enough time to get it all done to a standard that you’re happy with.


With over 50,000 courses offered at over 300 institutions in the UK, you really are spoilt for choice. This can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not 100% sure what you want to study. But don’t panic! Simply start your search on UCAS. All Higher Education Institutions are listed here, so you won’t miss any options. You can filter it by location if you know how far away you want to go, as well as other things such as type of institution (college, university, conservatoire etc), or type of qualification, if you’re not just looking for an undergraduate degree. You can tailor your search to be as specific or broad as you want it.

Remember, not all courses are the same, even if they have the same name. So it’s important to look through the module choices on offer, the way you will be taught and assessed and the specialisms of the teaching staff to give you a feel for what that course is actually like. Some courses are likely to suit you more than others, so this research is really important!


Once you’ve whittled your options down by reading through the course information, you should try and get in touch with the institutions to see if you can visit or speak to some students and staff. If you missed the Open Day at Chester, you still have the opportunity to visit us on a campus tour - we’d be happy to show you around. This is a great way to really experience the place beyond the prospectus or website.

It can be especially useful if you require additional support at university for a disability or learning difficulty because you could arrange to speak to the appropriate staff to find out more about what support is available at each institution - although you can always contact them by phone or email too.

You should hopefully have all the information you now need to make your final choices. These can be the same course at five different institutions, or similar courses at one institution, or a combination of the two. You pay £13 for one choice, but £24 gives you five choices, but you’re not obliged to use them all.  


Your application has several components and some take longer than others to complete, so give yourself enough time to complete it so that it doesn’t stress you out.

  1. Register with UCAS. It will take about 15 minutes and once it’s done you will be able to access your account whenever you need to, using your UCAS Personal ID.
  2. Provide your personal details, such as name and contact information. If you’re from the UK, you will also be asked for some information about your background too; this is just so that the universities can monitor who is attending and thinking about university.
  3. List your choices. All courses at each institution have their own unique code, so make sure you have this noted down accurately.
  4. Provide the information about your education and employment. This includes listing all qualifications you have received and are working towards, so you don’t need to list these in your personal statement. Your employment section is for paid work only, any voluntary work can be discussed in your personal statement.
  5. Write your personal statement. This is one of the most important parts of the application and the one that takes the most time to complete. Your personal statement should tell your story and explain to the institutions why you are suitable for the course. You have to be concise though – you only have 4000 characters including spaces to get all the information in, so expect to re-draft it several times!
  6. Ask for a reference. This can be written by someone who knows you professionally or academically.
  7. Pay your fee and submit your application!


Once your application has been sent to all the institutions you’ve chosen, you can track its progress through the Track system on UCAS. It will update you when there are any changes to your application, such as when a decision has been made or when you are invited to interview. You will also receive email alerts.

There are two different types of offer you might receive: conditional and unconditional. The former has conditions to it, in the form of grades or any other requirements you might need before you can start the course, whereas the latter does not have any conditions attached to it. You might also be offered a change of course, perhaps if your course is full or the course is changing. Finally, you may also receive a decline where the university is unable to offer you a place. You are entitled to ask for feedback on your application at this stage if that’s the case.


Once you have had decisions from all of your choices you must respond to them by the given deadline. If you miss it, your offers will be declined. If at this point you do not hold any offers from your original choices, you will be given the option for an extra choice through the ‘Extra’ process through UCAS and more details can be found on their website. You will be expected to choose a Firm and Insurance choice - these are the ones who you will be in contact with on results day.  

Key dates for you to remember:

15 January 2017

Deadline for the majority of undergraduate courses

25 February 2017

UCAS 'Extra' opens

24 March 2017

Deadline for some Art and Design courses

4 May 2017

If you receive all decisions by 31 March, reply by 4 May 2017

5 May 2017

Uni/college decisions should be received if you applied by 15 January 2017

8 June 2017

If you receive all decisions by 5 May, reply by 8 June 2017

22 June 2017

If you receive all decisions by 8 June, reply by 22 June 2017

30 June 2017

Applications received after 30 June are entered into Clearing

4 July 2017

Last date to apply in 'Extra'

13 July 2017

Uni/college decisions should be received if you applied by 30 June 2017

20 July 2017

If you receive all decisions by 13 July, reply by 20 July

17 August 2017

A Level results day

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