Applying To University In The UK

Applying To University In The UK In 2024

For applying to a university in the UK, you will first need to choose a degree course, as well as which universities you wish to apply to.

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Services) will then provide you with an application form.

Your chosen universities will then review this and consider it.

There are 8 sections on the UCAS form:

You should spend as much time as possible drafting your personal statement, which is an important part of your application.

Here are some tips for writing a successful personal statement:

Especially if you are applying to Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science or Oxbridge, you should start your application in July or August. This will give you plenty of time to complete your personal statement.

UCAS will accept your personal statement once you have written it and filled out the rest of the form.

Make sure you don’t miss the 31 January deadline by taking a look at our application timeline.

How do I fill out my UCAS undergraduate application form?

The UCAS application system is used to apply for undergraduate degrees in the UK. Filling it out doesn’t have to be done all at once, you can save your progress and return to it later.

It is important to remember that you can only apply once in the UCAS cycle.

Admissions tutors will take into account many factors on your application form.

Qualifying credentials, references, a personal statement, commitment to the subject, concise and fluent writing, and your learning attitude are all important factors.

Read more: How Many Universities Can You Apply To UCAS

1. Choose your degree and university

Your degree and university must be chosen before you begin filling out your UCAS form.

Making these decisions can be challenging, but they are important. It is important to keep in mind that you will be studying this subject at this university for the next few years.

For more information, check out our guides on choosing a degree course and choosing a university.

To help you make informed decisions, you may also want to take a look at the application deadlines and university rankings to make sure you don’t miss out.

2. Register for UCAS Apply

You must register for UCAS. Apply once you have decided which degree programme you want to apply for and which universities you want to apply to.

Creating a username, password, and security questions will require you to provide some personal information.

If you are entering your name from a passport or birth certificate, please make sure it matches the one on your certificate.

3. Sign in

The next step is to add funding and sponsorship options, residential status, special needs and requirements.

UCAS will verify your email address.

Parents and guardians may also be given access by UCAS if you wish them to speak on your behalf.

4. Complete your additional information

Ethnic origin, national identity and occupational background data are requested for UK students.

These will not affect the outcome of your application, and will only be sent once you have been accepted.

5. Course choices and education history

Your UCAS form allows you to add up to five courses, and there is no preference order. Once you’ve responded to any offers you’ve received, universities won’t be able to see where else you’ve applied.

You can add up to four-course choices when applying to study medicine, dentistry, or veterinary science. Remember that you can only apply to Oxford or to apply to Cambridge if you want to study at Oxbridge.

Make sure the universities accept deferred entries if you are taking a gap year.

In addition to those you have already received, as well as those you’re awaiting results for, you must enter all your qualifications from secondary education onwards.

As soon as you receive your exam results from UCAS, they will be sent to universities and colleges.

You still have to include any pending qualifications on your application. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to send the results to your chosen universities and colleges once you’ve received them.

If you studied at a university or college but didn’t finish the course, you still need to enter these details. Include the start and finish date, and put down that you didn’t gain any qualifications there.

If you are currently studying for a qualification or awaiting results, you must make sure your referee adds your predicted grades to your application. This is because some universities and colleges won’t consider your application without them.

You must enter the correct qualifications on your application, especially if you’re taking a vocational qualification, such as a BTEC or NVQ.

This is because there are several different options to choose from on the Apply system, depending on the size and type of qualification you’re taking.

Universities and colleges will use the information you provide in your application to make their decisions. Therefore, if you’re not sure which version of a qualification you’re taking, talk to your school or college.


6. Work experience

For those who had paid jobs before university, either full-time or part-time, you can add working details in the form. It’s possible to add up to five jobs. You will need entire company names, addresses, job descriptions and start and finish dates

Other unpaid jobs and voluntary work you can add to your personal statement. 

7. Add your UCAS personal statement

Show universities and colleges why you want to study the course, why you would be an ideal student, and why you would be a valuable department member.

Here at Student Good Guide, we have plenty of resources to help you write this:

We recommend you begin writing as early as possible (some students like to have their first draft ready by the end of the school holidays in July/August).

8. View and edit

Make any necessary edits to your application, then mark it complete and save it.

After you have completed all previous sections, you will be able to read and agree to the declaration.

As a result, UCAS can process your application and send it to your chosen universities or higher education colleges. The final sections will then be available to you.

9. Pay your fee and send

Referrals are written recommendations from teachers, advisers, or professionals who can speak to your ability academically.

You will need to submit a reference before you can submit your UCAS application.

The application fee for entry is £22 for a single choice or £27.5 for more than one choice. 

What are the university entry requirements?

Depending on the subject and the demands of the specific course, institutions set their entry requirements to ensure that students who make it through the selection process possess the necessary knowledge and skills.

They consider:

  • The results of your previous qualifications, subjects, and grades – typically your A-levels and GCSEs
  • Based on your experience, interests, and skills, we can determine if you’re a good fit for the course
  • An interview at a university will tell you how well you perform
  • Health or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks may also be required.

Course providers do not immediately dismiss applicants who don’t meet their exact requirements, so you may be offered a place on a course even if your grades don’t quite match your expectations.

What is the UCAS Points System?

As part of their course entry requirements, institutions ask for grades in certain A-level subjects (or equivalents) as well as a specific number of UCAS Tariff points.

Some admissions staff use this system to compare applicants, even though it is an option.

UCAS application deadlines

The timeline of key UCAS application deadlines for courses starting in 2023 is below in the list:

  • 31 January 2024 – applications for most courses to be received by UCAS.
  • 23 February 2023 UCAS Extra opens
  • 19 May 2023 – university decisions due on applications submitted by 25 January 2022.
  • 4 July 2023 – the last date to apply in Extra for 2023 entry
  • 5 July 2023Clearing opens
  • 15 July 2023 – university/college decisions due on applications submitted by 30 June 2023
  • 8 August 2023 – SQA results day for students in Scotland
  • 20 August 2023 – A level results day
  • 28 September 2023 – final application deadline for courses starting in 2023
  • 16 October 2023 – deadline for Clearing choices

You can add one more choice through UCAS Extra if you have used all five choices but haven’t received any offers (or declined those received).

UCAS Hub may allow you to add more choices if you have left over after entering the five options. If you do so before the final UCAS deadline, you will be required to pay a further application fee. If you made a choice, accepted or declined your offers, this feature will not be available to you.

How do I track my university application?

Using UCAS Hub, you can track the progress of your application once it has been sent and you have received a welcome email. Using your ID and password, you can access this online system.

This will allow you to find out if you have been offered a place on a course or if you have been invited for an interview. Your chosen universities can also make you an offer.

Any updates to your application will be notified to you via email, so don’t worry about missing out. The verdicts can take months to reach you, so you may not see much activity at first.

It is still possible to change some things, such as swapping choices, but you will need to be aware of the timeframes involved.

When will I receive offers from universities?

Getting offers from your chosen universities can take weeks or even months, but if you’re set up in UCAS Hub, you’ll receive a notification email when they contact you. Once logged in, you can view the offer.

The four offer types are:

  • Conditional – A-level results will still be required as part of the entry requirements.
  • Unconditional – There are still a few things you need to arrange after you have been assigned a place on the course. You may need to obtain a DBS check, prove your qualifications, or meet other medical or financial requirements.
  • Unsuccessful – The university can decide not to offer you a place on your chosen course. Sometimes they give you a reason, sometimes not. 
  • Withdrawn – You or the university choose to withdraw a course application. If this is the case, you will receive an explanation from the university in the UCAS portal under your profile.

There is a possibility as well that universities invite you to an interview or audition, instead of offering you a place as a regular thing. 

You’ll find out about this in the UCAS Hub.

Having received all your UCAS offers, you will need to make a decision and respond by the deadline. 

You can:

  • Choose your preferred option with a firm hand
  • If your firm choice is conditional, select an insurance option as a backup
  • Decline the other offers

Through UCAS Extra, you can add more courses if you wish to decline all the offers.

The university will update your status once it receives your grades/exam results if you have a conditional place on a course.

The university will tell you what to do next after you’ve been accepted.

Recommended to read:

What are my options for financing my degree?

Your search for funding can begin as soon as you have submitted your application.

Tuition and maintenance loans, as well as non-repayable grants, are available options. Living in a particular part of the UK will usually determine your eligibility.

Check out our finance guide for students to learn more about the types of funding available.

When is A-level results day?

A level results day is crucial if you’ve received offers contingent on your exam results. This will take place on Thursday, 15 August 2024, for those starting university in 2024.

It is most common for UCAS to send exam results directly to your various choices.

UCAS Clearing has been set up by universities and colleges to fill any remaining course vacancies if you didn’t receive any offers or didn’t get the grades you hoped for. You can use the regularly updated UCAS search tool to find suitable courses.

What is Clearing?

You do not need to panic if you missed the 30th June deadline, decided to apply to university at the last minute, or weren’t able to secure your firm or insurance offers – Clearing is a second chance for you to get into university.

See our dedicated UCAS Clearing Guide for more information.

What is a higher education college?

For those who prefer to attend a smaller institution, a higher education college is a great alternative to a university.

Unlike universities, these colleges offer undergraduate courses in a more intimate setting.

Furthermore, there are smaller class sizes, more one-to-one time with tutors, more career guidance, more flexibility, and in some cases, lower costs.

Would you like to learn more about UK Colleges or Universities? For more information, please refer to our section on how to apply.

How do I prepare for university?

Your accommodation, student finance, and student bank account must be sorted out before you start university in the fall.

A checklist of everything you need is also a good idea so you don’t forget any essentials (or non-essential).

Be sure to allow plenty of time for travel, where you need to go once you arrive, and how long it will take to get there.

Consider travelling the day before and staying the night somewhere local if it’s a long journey. You’ll be ready for your first day of work if you’re refreshed beforehand.

What if I need to go into Clearing?

You may apply through this process until late September if you think you may need to enter Clearing.

The UCAS website publishes a complete list of course vacancies between mid-August and late September.

At the end of June, you should check UCAS Extra to see what courses are still available.

Having found a few suitable programs, make sure you check their entry requirements and are realistic about your ability to succeed.

Secondly, go through the course content, and see if they cover all the aspects of your subject that interest you.

As soon as you have this information, you should be able to put together a shortlist and contact the universities one by one to enquire further.

By doing so, you will appear as an informed candidate who is genuinely interested in attending their school.

Only one Clearing choice can be added through UCAS Track at a time, and only after speaking to the university.

Your application will hopefully be considered by one of the universities on your shortlist and you will be offered a place. Alternatively, don’t be disheartened – keep looking, and you will find a suitable place eventually.

Remember, however, that you can always withdraw your application and reapply next year if you’re struggling.

For more information and advice, check out our detailed Clearing Guide.

What is distance learning at university?

Studying online offers the flexibility and convenience of studying from anywhere.

Your degree can be completed around your work schedule or other commitments. Online learning resources and study materials are designed to promote active learning.

Through virtual learning environments, students can usually connect.

Study abroad

The benefits of studying abroad are numerous. These include:

  • The opportunity to travel
  • Meet a new culture
  • Learning a new language
  • Meeting people around the world and networking
  • Increase chances to succeed internationally 
  • Career opportunities
  • Postgraduate admissions
  • A high-quality education

Learn more about studying abroad.

What is Freshers’ Week?

Freshers’ Week is an important part of any student’s first year at university, and it is a great opportunity to meet new people and have a lot of fun before the real study begins.

You can adjust to your new environment, locate supermarkets and other shops, and learn how to use the lecture halls and canteen during this weeklong event.

Also, you can join clubs and societies, so check out what’s available and get involved.


How much does it cost to study at a university in the UK?

The cost of attending English universities for UK and EU students is up to £9,250.

Which university in the UK is best for international students?

The best universities in the UK for international students are the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of St Andrews, the University College London, LSE, and the University of Edinburgh.

Learn more:

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