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Study Guide: UCAS

Almost all students who intend to pursue an undergraduate degree in the United Kingdom must apply through UCAS. What exactly is UCAS? The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is abbreviated as UCAS. Students can apply to five universities and must provide a personal statement. Universities will evaluate your offer once you have submitted your UCAS application before informing you of their response. But, then again, what exactly is UCAS?


UCAS is the platform through which you apply to universities in the UK. They support 1.5 million students every year to explore entering higher education, employment and apprenticeships and manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.


Universities and colleges set their own entry requirements for higher education, therefore what is required varies depending on the subject, the course, and the course provider.


  • Qualifications, subjects and exam grades

  • Personal statement

  • Student finance

  • Choices


  • Interview (Subject to change)

  • Admissions test



Register with UCAS


Complete your employment history


Submit your application


Complete your details


Select your course choices


Get a reference


Add your education history


Write a personal statement


Pay your application fee

STEP 1: Register with UCAS

  • Application is done online:

  • Register in the UCAS Hub and complete registration questions.

  • Confirm the year you want to start your studies.

  • Once registered, you will be taken to your UCAS Hub dashboard, where you’ll see a title called ‘Your application’.

  • Click ‘Start’ to begin your application.

STEP 2: Complete your details

  • Complete all mandatory questions without skipping any sections.

  • Provide an up-to-date email address.

  • Provide residency status. (For those outside the UK and need clarification, visit the UKCISA website for more information)

  • Provide information to questions that require only UK students to fill in.

  • Provide information about personal circumstances (While this information is optional, it can help universities and colleges better understand your background, and provide support)

  • You can give a parent, guardian, or adviser nominated access.


STEP 3: Add your education history

  • You must enter all your qualifications from secondary education onwards.

  • If you are waiting for results, your exam results are accepted. If any of your pending qualifications are not on this list, you still need to add them to your application, but also remember you’ll need to send the results on to your chosen universities and colleges when you get them.

  • If you studied at a university or college but did not finish the course, you still need to enter these details. Include the start and finish date, and state that you did not receive any qualifications there.

  • If you are currently studying for a qualification or awaiting results, it is important you make sure your referee adds your predicted grades to your application – some universities and colleges will not consider your application without them.


STEP 4: Complete your employment history

  • You can add details of up to five paid jobs - full-time or part-time. This includes company names, addresses, job descriptions, and start/finish dates.

  • Any unpaid or voluntary work should not be included here – mention that in your personal statement. If you have not had any paid work experience, just leave this section blank, and mark it as complete.


STEP 5: Select your course choices.

  • You can choose up to five courses (all now or some later).

  • There is no preference order and your universities/colleges do not have the access to see where else you have applied until after you reply to any offers you get.


STEP 6: Write a personal statement.

  • At least 1,000 characters long, but up to 4,000 characters to work with.

  • Microsoft Word preferable, but anything similar is good enough

  • Click here if you want to learn how to write your personal statement.


STEP 7: Submit your application

  • Once you have completed your application, you have the opportunity to review it and make any edits.

  • You will then be asked to read and agree to the declaration, which allows UCAS to process your info and send it to your chosen universities/colleges.


STEP 8: Get a reference

  • A reference is a written recommendation from a teacher, adviser or professional who knows you academically.

  • It is required to attach a reference unless you get permission from your chosen universities and colleges.

  • Here’s how to get a reference

STEP 9: Pay your application fee

  • The application fee for 2023 entry is £22.50 for a single choice, or £27 for more than one choice.

  • Your application cannot be submitted until your chosen referee has completed and added your reference to the application.

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