Completing your UCAS application

Applications for most full-time university or college places are made through UCAS. Make sure you know the relevant deadline - for some courses and colleges, it's earlier than others.

Registering your application

You can apply online with UCAS for courses that start from September.

Applications to UCAS can only be made online. To register an application through a school, college or careers organisation you will need their 'buzzword'. If you are applying as an individual you do not need one.

After registering you will be given a username and asked to enter your own password. You can register in the summer before you plan to make your online application.

The earliest you can send a finished application is the September before you want to start your course, unless you are applying for deferred entry (for example, applying in the 2020 cycle for 2021 entry).

If you choose to postpone your place until 2021, you will still need to meet any conditions (for example, qualification grades) by the end of August 2020, unless you have an alternative agreement with the university or college.

Completing the UCAS application

There are seven sections on the application:

  • personal details
  • additional information (for UK applicants only)
  • student finance arrangements (UK applicants only)
  • course choices (up to five choices)
  • education so far
  • employment history
  • personal statement and reference

The application has pop-up menus with an A to Z list of universities and higher education colleges, and also course codes, so you just have to click and select.

Art and design courses

If you’re applying for some art and design courses, the application procedure will be different.

Personal statement and employment sections

Your personal statement should cover why you are interested in the courses you’ve applied for, and what you hope to do after your studies.

In the employment section, you can list your part-time or summer jobs.

Referees

Once you've completed all sections of your application, click 'Send to referee' so the person who's acting as a referee can check your details and add their reference. If you're not at school or college and are applying independently, paste your referee's reference into the online application.

UCAS application fee and deadlines

The fee for applications is £20 for a single choice or £25 for multiple courses and applications after 30 June.

For most courses, the deadline to send your application to UCAS is 15 January.

The deadline to study medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or veterinary science, or to apply to the universities of Oxford or Cambridge is 15 October.

If you haven't done your exams  by this stage, your application will be based on the grades your teachers or lecturers predict you will achieve.

If you miss your deadline, most universities and colleges will look at your application if they have vacancies left on the course you apply for, but there are no guarantees.

Late applications can be sent to UCAS up to the end of June. If you apply after the end of June, you'll automatically go into Clearing.

Personal ID and password

Once UCAS has processed your application, you get a Personal ID. You can use this, in combination with your username and password, to track the progress of your application. You also get a welcome letter in the post.

What happens next

Once you've made your UCAS application, you can apply for financial help as soon as student finance applications open. You don't need to wait for an offer.

See student finance for more on financial support and how to apply for a higher education course for details on what happens once you’ve submitted your application.

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