Applying to university

Students usually apply to Higher Education through UCAS with the application cycle opening in September of their year 12. There are several key dates that students should be aware of to ensure that they meet all of the deadlines.

Some schools/colleges also set internal deadlines that students will be asked to adhere to. This is to give teachers time to check over each application and ensure that everything is correct before submitting the final draft to UCAS. You should be aware of these milestones and encourage your son or daughter to be proactive with their application to help avoid any last-minute panic.

UCAS application process

What you need to know

All applications are completed electronically via the UCAS website.
The form is split into seven sections which can be completed in any order and revisited to make changes at any time before it is finally submitted.
One section is the personal statement that the student will write and the final section is the reference, usually a teacher/tutor will write this.
Students have a maximum of five course choices. One application is submitted for all five choices.
They do not need to rank their choices in order of preference for the application. Each university will only see the application made to them.

Processing an application

Once submitted, UCAS forward the application to the chosen universities. The universities will carefully review all of the sections and consider whether or not to make the candidate an offer.

Admissions selectors generally look at a range of criteria including GCSE grades, predicted A Level/BTEC grades, the subjects being studied at school/college (some courses require qualifications in certain subjects), and evidence of enthusiasm and commitment to the course in the personal statement and the reference.

At this stage the university will also consider any mitigating circumstances that may apply to the student. Examples include a disability or specified learning difference, those who come from a care background or those who may have suffered an illness that has affected performance at GCSE level.

If any of the above does apply we would strongly recommend that this is included in their application, it will not be considered as a negative mark and being fully informed of a student’s circumstances will help admissions teams make fair and accurate offers.

Next steps