If you are a new registered centre – first off, welcome to the team! You now have unique access to applications, and by using the adviser portal you’ll be able to manage, send, and track the progress of your students’ applications all in one place.

Before you start

When we set up your centre, we created permissions for your centre's correspondent.

Before you can access and start using the adviser portal, you will need to register an account with ucas.com and verify it – you only have to do this once.

It’s important you register with the email address we have for you. If you update or change your email address at any time, let us know as soon as possible.

It is the registered centre’s correspondent’s responsibility to complete the set up wizard, before you can begin linking to applicants.


Signing in for the first time

The first time you sign in you need to set up the adviser portal. To do this, complete the following steps in order:

1. Go to 'Centre management'

You need to work your way through the compulsory set up wizard, which will ask you to:

  • confirm centre and reference details
  • select application fee payment option
  • create your centre’s buzzword

2. Go to ‘Staff management’ 

From here you need to setup your staff and set access permissions.

3. Click back into ‘Centre management’ 

You can now:  

  • set up your groups
  • create your qualifications shortlist
  • add referee contact details

Your UCAS centre number is shown in the top right of every page. This is a unique number, used to identify your centre. You need this if you contact UCAS.


Confirm your centre and reference details

The details in this section will be used by universities and colleges as the default information to contact your centre’s referees.

You can edit and update the information yourself, apart from your centre name, UCAS centre number, or centre type. If these details are incorrect, please contact our Schools Team between 08:00 – 18:00 (UK time), Monday to Friday:

  • phone from the UK – 0345 123 8001
  • phone from outside the UK – +44 330 333 0239
  • email – [email protected] 

To update individual referee contact details or add additional referees, use the ‘Referee contact details’ section in centre management.

You can also identify any dates your students will be unavailable. This is to discourage universities and colleges from inviting applicants to interviews, or contacting referees, during holiday periods, for example.


Select application fee payment option

The cost for an undergraduate application is £20 for a single choice, or £26 for more than one choice. 

Within ‘Centre management’ you must select how you would like students at your centre to pay for their applications from the following:

  • UCAS to send your centre an invoice (your students shouldn’t send payments directly to UCAS).
  • All your applicants to pay online by credit card or debit card.
  • Some applicants to pay online by card, and UCAS to provide an invoice for the remaining applicants (the invoice is to be paid by your centre).

At any point during the cycle, you can update your ‘aplication fee payment methods in ‘Centre management’.


Create your centre’s buzzword

A buzzword is a unique term you can give to students applying through your centre.

Students are asked for this buzzword when they register in Apply. It automatically links them to your centre – giving you permission to attach your reference, and view and manage their application.

Buzzword key points 
  • You need to set up a buzzword at the start of each new cycle.
  • To avoid confusion between application cycles, we recommend using a different buzzword from those used in previous cycles.
  • You can pick a new buzzword at any time in the cycle within ‘Centre management’, but remember to let your staff and students know if it changes.
  • If a student forgets to use the buzzword, they can change this in the ‘Options’ menu in Apply and send a request to be linked to your centre. After the application has been submitted to UCAS, they need to contact UCAS to be linked to a centre.

Create your qualifications shortlist

This shortlist is shown to your students when they complete the education section in Apply. Creating a shortlist helps them enter the correct qualifications – particularly important if there are similar qualifications to choose from.

Qualifications can be added and removed from the shortlist at any time during the cycle.

You can search to find the relevant qualifications for your centre. Please note, you cannot search using abbreviated qualifications titles, e.g. A level. You can select as many qualifications as required.


Set up your groups

Groups can be a useful way to sort your students and help you manage your cohort by tutor groups or by referees, for example. 

You must add staff and set their permissions in ‘Staff management’ before creating any groups.

When creating new groups for your centre, you’ll need to choose a group name and assign staff members to access them. You can add as many members of staff as necessary.

All staff will be given permission to the default group, but can be removed from it, if needed. Permissions to view, manage, and submit applications and references are controlled in ‘Staff management’.

Students will be asked to choose a group in Apply when they link to your centre. If you don’t set up any groups prior to this, applicants will automatically appear in the ‘Default Group’.

Key points to note on groups
  • Group names can be edited, and staff and students allocated to groups can be changed at any time. Head to ‘Groups’ in 'Centre management' to add/remove staff or students to multiple groups.
  • Add staff to ‘Staff management’ and you’ll be able to assign them groups before they register.  
  • All staff are given permission to your default group – if needed they can be removed. Permissions to view, manage, and submit applications and references are controlled in ‘Staff management’.
  • Staff permissions are the same for all groups they’re assigned to, allowing them to view students in both ‘Application management’, and ‘Tracking offers and decisions’.

Add referee contact details

You need to enter the details for all referees required. The information you provide in ‘referee contact details’ is seen by universities and colleges as part of the reference, and they are able to contact the referee, if needed.

If you require these referees to access the portal, you need to ensure their details are also in ‘Staff management’ and they have relevant permissions.

When adding a new referee, contact details will be copied from the ‘Centre and reference details’ tab, but you can overwrite them, if needed.


Add your staff and set access permissions

Go to your staff list in ‘Staff management’ to add a new staff member by entering their email address. This email must be the same as the one they will use to register on ucas.com If they don’t match, they won’t be able to access the portal.

Once you have entered the staff member’s email address, you need to set their access permissions to define:

  • the areas of the adviser portal they can access
  • what actions they can carry out on an application

It’s important to remember a staff member’s permissions only apply to the group(s) they are assigned to. Use the ‘Groups’ tab in ‘Centre management’ to manage the groups they can access. All staff have automatic access to the ‘default group’.

Once you have added the staff member and saved their permissions, they will receive an automated email directly from UCAS confirming they have been added to the centre, with links to either register or sign in. We also give them links to step-by-step guides.   

Staff permissions can be edited at any time during the cycle.


Account status

The ‘Account status’ in staff management shows if they have completed their ucas.com account registration, and indicates if any action needs to be taken

The statuses are:

  • unregistered – they’ve not started or not completed their registration. Tell them to register on ucas.com, and verify their account using the activation link in the verification email they will be sent.
  • unverified – they’ve started the registration process but not verified their email address. Tell them to verify their account using the activation link in the verification email they were sent when they registered.
  • verified – they’ve registered and verified their email account, meaning they’re able to sign in and get started.  

Staff members must be ‘verified’ to access the adviser portal.


Further information

For more information, see managing applications and tracking offers and decisions

You can also access our short online training focused on:

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