UCAS Guide

What is UCAS?

UCAS stands for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. UCAS enables everyone to apply to universities and colleges across the UK.

Important dates

Applications on UCAS open on 4 September for entry the following September. The application deadline for most courses is 15 January, but if there are some places left on a course, late applications may be accepted until 30 June.

After 30 June, the UCAS main scheme closes and moves onto Clearing. If you’ve missed out on applying to a course, didn’t get a place on your chosen course, or have simply decided now is the time to apply to university, Clearing gives you another chance to secure a place. Your application will be slightly different through Clearing, but keep an eye on our website next summer for more information.

Your application

You can apply to a maximum of 5 institutions via UCAS, filling out only one form. This is then sent to all the universities you’ve applied to.

The form consists of different sections – from simple contact information to your personal statement. Your personal statement is your time to shine and sell yourself, showing your passion for your chosen subject and outlining your academic and personal successes.

You will also need to include a reference from someone who knows you and your motivations for the subject you want to study. This tends to be a teacher.

The final part of your application is a fee of £18 for a single choice or £24 for several choices.

Offers

Once submitted, keep an eye on the progress of your application through UCAS track. You’ll find out about your decisions here, which will be one of three offers below:

  • Conditional offer – this is the most popular type of offer. Conditional means that if you achieve the grades stated in your offer, you’ll have secured a place.
  • Unconditional offer – this is a lot less common and tends to be offered to those who have already achieved the required qualifications. You will have secured a place no matter what and won’t have to await any further results.
  • Rejected application – unfortunately this means your application has not been successful. Don’t worry though – you can ask for feedback and may be apply through Clearing or the next time around.

Choosing an offer

Now that you have your offers, you need to choose a firm choice and an insurance choice.

A firm choice is your top choice and if you meet the conditions of the offer you will get a place here.

An insurance choice is your second and back-up choice. If you don’t get accepted at your firm choice, and meet the conditions of your insurance, you will secure a place here.

You will then need to reject any other offers you have received via UCAS Track.

If you’re awaiting your results, your firm or insurance choice university will let you know your place has been confirmed, again via UCAS Track.

And if you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for and you didn’t get a place at your firm or insurance choice, don’t worry. Clearing will be open, allowing you to apply to other universities.