Key changes for 2024 undergraduate applications

All the info you need about changes we're making to 2024 undergraduate applications.

2024 entry dates

2 May 2023 UCAS search tool displays 2024 courses. 
9 May 2023  Adviser portal opens for 2024 entry. 
16 May 2023  Undergraduate applications open for 2024 entry. 
12 July 2023 Conservatoires applications open for 2024 entry. 
5 September 2023 Completed undergraduate applications can be submitted to UCAS. 
2 October 2023  Closing date for conservatoires music applications.
16 October 2023 Applications for Oxford, Cambridge and most courses in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine/science should arrive at UCAS by 18:00 (UK time).
31 January 2024 Applications for the majority of undergraduate courses should arrive at UCAS by 18:00 (UK time) on the equal consideration date.
Closing date for most conservatoires dance/drama/musical theatre applications.


Changes to academic references

We’re changing the reference for 2024 undergraduate entry to help advisers focus their references on the areas universities and colleges want to know more about.

  • Universities and colleges have told us that it’s becoming challenging to meaningfully compare applicants’ academic references as the content varies from referee to referee. 
  • Advisers report increasing pressure to invest more and more time in compiling the references with an expectation that this will increase applicants’ chances of success.

What are we doing? 

To help advisers focus their references on the areas universities and colleges want to know more about, we’re replacing the free text approach with three structured sections.  

These sections will start from the 2024 entry cycle, which opens in May for all undergraduate applications:  

Key benefits

  • Advisers have built-in clarity and confidence they are providing information that is useful.
  • Advisers have more time and resources to allocate to students on the discovery phase of their application journey.
  • Universities and colleges can easily find information to make selection decisions and target support.

As with personal statements and entry requirements, some universities or colleges may be looking for specific information for specific courses; applicants and advisers are always advised to consider general guidance alongside any local information provided by universities and colleges. 

Nick Hull, Director of Admissions, University of Birmingham

We have worked with UCAS on the reform to the reference and are delighted to support the changes being made. By moving to a structured format for the reference we anticipate being able to identify the information we are looking for more straightforwardly and we hope this information will take teachers less time to provide.

Supporting student choice in 2024

Application fee

For the 2024 cycle we’ll be simplifying our application fee to support student choice. This decision will enable all applicants to take advantage of the additional services available, including UCAS Extra, Clearing, and Clearing Plus.

This one-off application fee will mean all UCAS Undergraduate applicants can add five choices to their application, and utilise these additional services should they need to, opening up choice in a competitive admissions landscape.

The single application fee will no longer be available so the fee for all 2024 undergraduate applications will be £27.50.

(The 2025 application fee will be £28.50.) 

Changes to the gender question 

In the 2024 cycle, we’ll be introducing two additional responses:

  • I use another term
  • I prefer not to say


We’ll continue to work with students, advisers, and universities and colleges to explore how we can improve the options available for future cycles. 

Student access to grades tool

The historic entry grades tool is currently an adviser portal feature that shares course-level information, on the grades students held when entering higher education. 

Students have told us this information would help them make informed decisions about their future when narrowing down their application choices. 

So later this year the entry grades tool will be available on, to give students visibility over a range of grade profiles accepted for entry, to courses over a five-year period (where data is available). Testing shows the reports encourage students to find options they previously thought were unavailable to them.

Adviser Guide 2024

Adviser Guide 2024 (7.1 MB) explains all you need to know about applying to UK universities and colleges, managing your students' applications, and the support and resources we have to help you. (Updated 29 March 2023 with enhanced reference guidance for applications in 2024.)