UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, handles all applications to university in the UK. For any pupils wishing to apply for a university course, they must do so through the UCAS website.*
How many courses can be applied to?
UCAS allows applicants to search and apply for up to FIVE different courses. This allows applicants to apply for at least one ‘back-up’ option with lower entry requirements in case their exam results fall short of the grades required for their first choices.
What’s the deadline for applications?
For applications to Medicine, Dentistry, Vet Medicine, or any course at Oxford or Cambridge, the deadline is October 15th the year before the course is due to start.
For applications to all other courses, the deadline is January 15th in the year that the course will start.
What does the online application form involve?
By searching for courses on UCAS, applicants will find ‘codes’ for each course they would like to apply for. Applicants must enter these course codes on their form, in addition to their personal details and a list of their qualifications to date (including the subjects for which they’re yet to sit their final exams).
Finally, applicants must complete a Personal Statement (max. 47 lines) that outlines their reasons for applying to their chosen courses and why they consider themselves suitable.
What should the Personal Statement contain?
The Personal Statement is the most important and time-consuming part of the UCAS application. It gives the applicant the opportunity to ‘sell’ themselves to the universities they’re applying to, showing their enthusiasm and suitability for the course.
Universities want to hear:
1. Why the applicant has chosen to study the subject(s).
2. Why the applicant considers themselves well-suited to the demands of the course.
- What interests them about the subject?
- Does it relate to a career plan?
- What skills and experience do they have that will be useful during the course? Applicants must show that they understand what the course involves and give examples of how they have developed and displayed their skills through their activities, in and outside school.
- What hobbies and interests do they have that show the qualities required of a good student e.g. commitment, responsibility etc.?
Focus Point has put together comprehensive advice for pupils on Writing your Personal Statement.
*For pupils wishing to apply to a practical course in music performance, acting, dance, film, or production at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland or an equivalent 'conservatoire' elsewhere in the UK, the application process is different. Applications must be made via UCAS Conservatoires.