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Applying through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service)

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
  • 15 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 £20, 2-5 choices £25
  • 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 apply for 2021 entry’
  • Registration is a process of entering your personal details (eg 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 Track 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