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The UCAS Application Process

This guide gives students a greater understanding of the UCAS application process and the steps to follow to apply. 

Before you apply:

  • Do your research (courses, universities, entry requirements, career options)
  • Attend open days (physically or virtually)
  • Be aware of deadlines (UCAS and school/college)

When to apply through UCAS:

  • Mid June – you can register and start your application
  • September – applications can be submitted
  • 15 October – deadline for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science/medicine and Oxford and Cambridge
  • 25 January – deadline for most courses

Be aware that your school/college will have their own deadline that you will be expected to meet

Key Facts
  • You have a maximum of 5 choices
  • There are some restrictions – 4 choices for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science/medicine.
  • You can only apply for Oxford OR Cambridge
  • Application fee: 1 choice £22.50, 2-5 choices £27.00
  • Equal consideration if deadlines are met
  • Invisibility – universities cannot see where else you have applied

Registering for UCAS:

  • Register for your UCAS Apply account at
  • Click on ‘Register’ and fill in your details
  • Registration is a process of entering your personal details (e.g. name, address, date of birth)
  • If you are applying through your school/college you will be given a buzzword to input, this will attach you to the school/college so that your tutors can provide a reference and predicted grades
  • Once you have registered a username will be generated and you will need to create a password
  • It is important that you remember your username and password as you will need them to log back into your application

Completing your UCAS application:

  • Once you have registered, you can sign in to complete the rest of your details
  • There are 7 sections to be completed:
    • Personal details
    • Student finance
    • Choices
    • Education
    • Employment
    • Personal statement
    • Reference (your tutor will complete this section)

Decision making:

  • After considering your application a university will make one of the following decisions:
    • Unconditional offer
    • Conditional Offer
    • Unsuccessful
    • Offer you an alternative course
  • To make this decision they may also:
    • Invite you to an interview
    • Ask to see your portfolio
    • Ask you to take an admissions test

Track your application:

  • UCAS Hub allows you to follow the progress of your application once it has been submitted and allows you to:
    • Follow the progress of your application 24/7
    • See your choices and personal information
    • View your offers
    • Reply to your offers

Responding to offers:

  • Firm acceptance – this is your first choice
    • If it is unconditional the place is yours
    • If it is conditional, the place is yours if you meet the offer conditions
  • Insurance acceptance – this is your back up choice so choose something with lower offer conditions

Remember, you will only attend your insurance choice course if you don't meet the conditions of your firm choice, but you do meet the conditions of your insurance. You can't choose between your firm and insurance when you get your results, so make sure you are happy with your firm and insurance choices when you reply.

UCAS Application - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start my application?

Register with the UCAS hub, they’ll ask for a few details and then you can add the rest later. It’ll save your details every time. If you are currently studying at a college, it is likely that your tutors will walk you through the registration process. They may also give you a ‘buzz’ word to make sure that your application is linked to your college, so make sure you discuss your registration with them. 

What information do UCAS ask for?
  • Details including name and email address
  • Education and qualifications
  • Any relevant personal details such as being care experienced or requiring learning support – this is just to make sure that you receive appropriate information and support
  • Paid employment (don’t worry if you don’t have any yet)
  • Personal Statement
  • Reference from a relevant person
Do I apply for finance at the same time?

You will be asked for a few details regarding finance but you will complete a full finance application between February and May, after you complete your UCAS application. Make sure you agree to share your details - UCAS won’t share your details with anyone outside of the education system, it’s just to make sure that you receive information about any bursaries or support that you may be entitled to.

How will I know when to submit my application?

You can find all the deadlines on the UCAS website (link below), but make sure that you stick to the internal deadlines that your tutors give you, to make sure that they have time to provide your reference and check your application.

What if I am not currently studying at a college?

If you are not currently studying at a school or college, you can still apply for university courses through UCAS. Before starting, you need to make sure that you have the relevant qualifications for the courses you are interested in. In most cases they need to have been achieved within the last five years to be acceptable. 

Find out more about the entry requirements on our course pages:, or contact our admissions team: 

If you have completed a course within the last couple of years, it is likely that your tutors will be able to provide a reference to support your application. The following people can also provide a reference: 

  • An employer who knows you well (e.g. a line manager)
  • Current or previous work colleague
  • College or school tutor
  • Careers adviser
  • Training assessor
  • Volunteer leaders
  • Counsellors


If you have any questions about the application process or would like any support with your personal statement, get in touch by email to