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Applying to University

So, you are planning to attend University, but have no idea of when and how to apply. The UCAS website is your best place to get all the information you need to apply to University, including key deadlines. I have summarised below what you need to do during your application process.

Want to know what the admissions team look for when you apply?

Here are some of the top items you need to focus on in your application:

  • Qualifications.
  • A personal statement that shows passion, motivation, enthusiasm, skills and experiences.
  • Quality of reference.
  • Knowledge and commitment to the subject applied for.
  • Your approach to learning and development.
  • Ability to articulate yourself fluently and accurately.


The first thing you need to do is register your details with UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Simply fill in the application on the UCAS website or do this with your school, college or centre.

Here you will need to fill in funding and sponsorship options, residential status, any special needs or impairments, any criminal convictions. Plus, any additional information if you are applying from the UK only, including ethnic origin, national identity, occupational background. You will also be able to mention anything about your individual circumstances, such as your parental education, if you’ve been in care, or whether you have been involved in widening participation activities.

Course Choices

You can choose up to five courses and can apply to five different universities for the same course or five different courses at the same university. For medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and veterinary science, you can only apply to a maximum of four courses.

Remember you will only have space for one personal statement, which is usually quite specific to the course, so do keep an eye on this.

Your Employment History

If you’ve had paid jobs, full-time or part-time, ensure you list these in your application. You can enter details for up to five previous roles and any unpaid or voluntary work can be added to your personal statement.

Personal Statement

Here is where the magic works. This is your chance to sell yourself to universities and colleges, letting them know why you want to study the course and why you think you will fit into their university and make a great student. Make sure you talk to fellow teachers, friends and family to ensure you are getting the key points across and showing enthusiasm. Have your teachers review the statement before you apply it, so start early.

Get a Reference and Apply

This is your time to get an academic reference. Approach your teachers or any professional that knows you academically and have them give you a great reference to support your application. Once you have this, you are then ready to pay the relevant fee and apply.

If you are applying through a school, college or centre, they will let you know whether you should pay them or pay UCAS. They will then send your application to UCAS on your behalf.

What Next?

After you have applied to university, you will receive a Personal ID in your welcome email and be able to sign in and track your application. The universities and colleges will then review your application and decide on whether to make an unconditional or conditional offer to you, which will depend on your exam results.

Once all offers are in, you have to reply by a specific date. Steps include selecting a firm choice (your first choice), if this is a conditional offer then you have a chance to also include an insurance choice too as a back-up; then declining all the other offers. You will then be able to track if your place has been confirmed by the university. If you are unsuccessful, you can use Clearing to apply for more courses. And that’s it, you have now fully completed the UCAS application.

Good luck, you’ve done amazing to get this far. 

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