Getting started

Here are all the education options open to you, including the alternatives.
Here are all the education options open to you, including the alternatives.

The best place to start with any sort of decision about your future, is to do your research. If you're not sure what you want to do, we'll show you all your options to help you make an informed decision.

Preparing for higher education

Thinking about higher education?

Here are the different options to help you decide whether you want to go into higher education.
Here are the different options to help you decide whether you want to go into higher education.

There's lots to think about when considering higher education. Doing your research will help you make the right decision for you.

Psychology Every Day

Get updates from UCAS

Sign up for newsletters and updates from UCAS.
Sign up for newsletters and updates from UCAS.

Our newsletters and updates contain all the relevant information you need, right when you need it. Get important information on things like choosing the right course for you, how to apply, and deadline reminders, straight to your inbox.

UCAS jargon buster

Choosing what to study

Research your ideal subject, type of course, and study location.
Research your ideal subject, type of course, and study location.

The important thing is to choose a subject you'll enjoy that will help you reach your goals. Think about what you enjoy doing day-to-day - maybe this could be part of a future career.

Choosing courses (how to)

Choosing where to study

Research course providers to find somewhere you'd be happy studying.

Key dates

Find the key dates for your application.
Find the key dates for your application.

There are some key dates you need to know – when to apply, when you'll receive decisions on your application, and when you need to reply to those decisions.

UCAS jargon buster

Applying

Apply is our online system you'll use to make your application.
Apply is our online system you'll use to make your application.

First you need to decide which courses you want to apply for. Then you can register and make an online application. There are different applications depending on what type of course you want to study.

Using Apply 2017

Track

When you've sent your application, check its progress by signing in to our online system, Track.
When you've sent your application, check its progress by signing in to our online system, Track.

Sign in to Track at any time with the Personal ID we'll send you in your welcome email, along with the password you used when applying. Whenever there's an update, we'll email the address you supplied in your application.

Contact us

If you need to contact us, there are different ways you can do this.
If you need to contact us, there are different ways you can do this.

Before you pick up the phone, check out our FAQs – you'll find answers to the questions we get asked most often. It could save you a phone call!

UCAS jargon buster

Find a course or training programme

It's important to choose a course or training programme that's right for you.
It's important to choose a course or training programme that's right for you.

With so many types of courses in so many subject areas on offer, narrowing down your choices can be difficult. Make sure you choose a course or training programme that matches your interests and aspirations, and that you'll be happy studying.

Choosing courses (how to)

When to apply

Make sure you know when to apply so you don't miss your application deadline.
Make sure you know when to apply so you don't miss your application deadline.

Some courses require applications almost a year in advance of the start date, so it’s worth doing your research and getting started early.

Vox-pop: deadlines advice

Entry requirements

What are entry requirements for higher education?
What are entry requirements for higher education?

Course providers can set a combination of entry requirements. These are a guideline of the recommended academic ability you’ll need for the course. Each course has different requirements – usually a mix of qualifications, subjects, or exam grades they recommend you have or be working towards when you apply.

Tariff

The UCAS Tariff allocates points to qualifications.
The UCAS Tariff allocates points to qualifications.

The Tariff was developed to allow for broad comparisons to be made about a wide range of qualifications by course providers. Some course providers use Tariff points in their entry requirements.

Changes to the UCAS Tariff

Filling in your application

How to make an application through UCAS.
How to make an application through UCAS.

You make your application in our online system Apply. There’s quite a bit to fill in, but you don’t need do it all at once – you can save your progress and sign back in anytime.

Using Apply 2017

Personal statement

How to write your personal statement.
How to write your personal statement.

A personal statement is your chance to show course providers why you want to study the course and why you’d make a great student. Tutors read personal statements to compare applicants, so this is where you should describe your ambitions, skills, and experience that will make you suitable for the course.

Personal statements - finding a formula

References

How to get a reference for your application.
How to get a reference for your application.

You will need to provide a reference on your application. This should be written by a referee who knows you academically and can talk about your suitability for higher education.

Requesting a reference

After you apply

Find out what happens after you submit your application to UCAS.
Find out what happens after you submit your application to UCAS.

Once you've sent your application to us, we process it and send it on to your chosen course providers. We take you through what happens next, step-by-step.

Journey of an application

Interviews and auditions

Guidance for when you have been invited to an interview or audition.
Guidance for when you have been invited to an interview or audition.

Interviews and auditions help course tutors to compare applicants before deciding who to make offers to. Whether you're invited to an interview or audition varies across courses and course providers.

Interviews (how to)

Making changes to your application

You can make some changes in Track yourself, but need to call us to make others.
You can make some changes in Track yourself, but need to call us to make others.

You can change your address, phone number, and email address in Track. Other changes, such as course choices, can only be made by contacting either us or the course provider. Some changes have a time limit too.

Replying to your offers

You can only reply once you've received decisions from all your choices.
You can only reply once you've received decisions from all your choices.

You'll need to decide which of your offers to accept and which to decline. There are different types of offers and different replies you can make to them.

Reply to offers (how to)

Decisions on your application

We explain the different decisions you may receive from course providers.
We explain the different decisions you may receive from course providers.

Once a course provider has considered your application, it will make a decision which will be shown in Track. Find out about the different types of decisions you may get and what they mean.

How to make sense of your offers

Extra

If you've used all five choices and you're not holding any offers, read about our Extra service.
If you've used all five choices and you're not holding any offers, read about our Extra service.

If you applied through the UCAS Undergraduate scheme, you might be able to add another choice if you've received decisions from all five unis or colleges and weren't accepted, or if you declined the offers you received.

UCAS Extra

Adjustment

If you get better results than expected you might be able to look for an alternative course.
If you get better results than expected you might be able to look for an alternative course.

If you've met and exceeded conditions for your firm choice, you may think about looking for an alternative course. You might be happy where you are, but with our Adjustment service if you've had a firm conditional choice accepted – and therefore made into an unconditional firm choice – you could potentially swap your place for one on another course. Adjustment is available from A level results day until 31 August.

Adjustment (how to)

Exam results

Prepare for results day and find out what happens next.
Prepare for results day and find out what happens next.

If your offers are conditional on results, it's now that you see if your exam results are high enough for the course provider to confirm your place on their course.

Next steps after results (how to)

Clearing

No offers? Use Clearing.
No offers? Use Clearing.

You can use Clearing to find a place at university if you didn't receive any offers, declined any offers you did receive, didn't meet the conditions of your offers, or applied after 30 June.

How to use Clearing

Student finance and funding

You can apply for loans to help with your tuition fees and living costs.
You can apply for loans to help with your tuition fees and living costs.

If you’re not sure how to pay for your studies, don’t worry – there’s a wide range of options available to help you. UCAS only manages the application fee, but we’ll explain all the other costs here.

Student finance

Student loans

How to fund your studies.
How to fund your studies.

Higher education is a big investment, so you may need a student loan. You might be eligible for extra funding from other organisations too.

Student finance

Alternatives to higher education

Undecided about uni? There are other options to think about.
Undecided about uni? There are other options to think about.

You could take a gap year, do an apprenticeship, traineeship, study overseas, work, or volunteer.

Preparing for your studies

Things you need to think about before starting your course.
Things you need to think about before starting your course.

There are a few productive things you can be doing right now to prepare for starting your studies.

Preparing for higher education

Care leavers

There's lots of support if you're a care leaver applying to higher education.
There's lots of support if you're a care leaver applying to higher education.

You could get financial support and advice, and help settling in to higher education and accommodation, all year round.

Care leavers

International and EU students

Specific information and advice if you are applying from outside the UK.
Specific information and advice if you are applying from outside the UK.

UK universities, colleges, and conservatoires are diverse, multicultural, creative, and welcoming, with top quality teaching, improved English language skills, and great career prospects. Over 430,000 international students study here every year, from over 180 countries. We give you all the information you need to apply for higher education in the UK, and explain the different rules for UK, EU and international students.

International students (how to)

Mature students

Get started on what to study, when to apply, and how to get a place as a mature student.
Get started on what to study, when to apply, and how to get a place as a mature student.

Every year, thousands of adults go into higher education. It's a great chance to develop new skills and career options – at any age. Mature students are anyone over the age of 21 who didn't go to university after school or college. Some might have taken gap years to volunteer and travel, while 40% of mature students are over 30 and have had work, mortgage, or family responsibilities. There are many ways you can experience higher education. Around a third of undergraduates are mature students – of all ages and backgrounds.

Students with disabilities

Further and higher education are inclusive environments, with support available to help you study.
Further and higher education are inclusive environments, with support available to help you study.

Course providers welcome tens of thousands of disabled students each year, meaning there's already lots of on-campus support available. Contact your chosen course provider as early as possible to discuss what you might need.

Students with disabilities (how to)

Astudio yn y Gymraeg

Cyfleon pan fyddwch yn astudio yn Gymraeg.
Cyfleon pan fyddwch yn astudio yn Gymraeg.

Gall astudio addysg uwch yn y Gymraeg gynnig nifer o ddewisiadau gyrfa i chi – yng Nghymru a thu hwnt. Mae mwy a mwy o sefydliadau’n sylweddoli manteision cyflogi graddedigion sy’n gallu cyfathrebu yn y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg, ac os mai’r Gymraeg yw eich iaith gyntaf neu eich ail iaith, mae digonedd o bosibiliadau ar eich cyfer.

Cyflwyniad i Ymgeisio 2017

Getting student support

How to find financial and social support.
Vox-pop: dedicated support services

Flexible or part-time study

There are different study types to suit busy lifestyles.
There are different study types to suit busy lifestyles.

There are so many variables – it’s all about studying in a way that suits you. Explore the different options, then search for the different kinds of study you're interested in. Some courses you can search for on ucas.com alongside the full-time courses, while others you’d discuss directly with the course providers you’re interested in.

What is flexible learning?

Managing money

Guidance on the best ways to manage your money during your studies.
Guidance on the best ways to manage your money during your studies.

Many students wonder how they’ll afford everything during their studies. There’s a lot to handle – from tuition fees and accommodation, to food, course materials, and a social life.

Managing money

Exhibitions and open days

Find out more about universities and courses at UCAS exhibitions and university open days.
Find out more about universities and courses at UCAS exhibitions and university open days.

Come and speak to universities, colleges, UCAS, and many other interesting organisations at our exhibitions. They’re big events and we hold over 50 all over the UK. They're a great chance to help you figure out what to study, or to find student deals and careers info. Attend university open days to really get a feel for where you could be living and studying, and get answers to any questions you may have.

Visiting a UCAS event (how to)

Find career ideas

There's a range of options if you're interested in heading straight into the world of work.
There's a range of options if you're interested in heading straight into the world of work.

You could get a part-time or full-time job, take on voluntary work, or set up your own business.

Vox-pop: opening up career options

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a good way to gain the skills and experience needed to get into many careers.
Apprenticeships are a good way to gain the skills and experience needed to get into many careers.

Apprenticeships combine work, training, and study, letting you 'earn while you learn'. There are four different levels available, depending on your skills and qualifications.

UCAS' career finder tool gives you the ability to search for apprenticeships, graduate jobs, and internships, as well as providing careers advice and top tips.

Options after your GCSEs or Nationals

Find out about study or work after your GCSEs or Nationals.
Find out about study or work after your GCSEs or Nationals.

There are many options open to you when you finish your GCSEs or Nationals. You could choose to carry on studying some subjects you like, or take vocational qualifications or an apprenticeship.

Taste the future - preparing for post-16 open days

Graduate jobs and internships

Find a job either while you're studying or after you graduate.
Find a job either while you're studying or after you graduate.

Whether you’re looking to apply for jobs or internships now, or are doing some early research into what’s available, our career finder tool provides information and advice about researching and applying for these opportunities, as well as a comprehensive listing of vacancies in a wide range of industries and brands that are recruiting now.

UCAS’ career finder service is a single destination for those looking for work and training opportunities; jobs from hundreds of brands that are actively recruiting now. This service supports those who are considering alternative options post-18, as well as those looking at graduate opportunities.

Vox-pop: Internships and years in industry

Parents and guardians

Practical advice to support your son or daughter through the application cycle.
Practical advice to support your son or daughter through the application cycle.

We provide advice, guidance, and all the information you'll need to help your son or daughter through their application journey and beyond.

Parents' guide to UCAS
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