Everything you need to know to get ready for 2021 applications.

Every UCAS registered centre has a ‘UCAS correspondent’ set up in the adviser portal with full permissions. UCAS correspondents are responsible for:

  • setting up their centre details, including creating a buzzword and setting application fee payment options
  • adding new staff, setting their permissions, and assigning them to groups
  • creating and managing groups
  • creating or reviewing the shortlist of qualifications

If you’re an existing UCAS correspondent, all your staff, their permissions, groups, referees, and shortlisted qualifications will be rolled over from the 2020 cycle.

By setting up for the 2021 cycle you’re agreeing to our adviser portal terms of service. When you first time access centre management  you'll see our set up wizard. You’ll need to:

  • check your centre details are up-to-date
  • create a buzzword for 2021
  • set up your application fee payment option

All rolled over details can be edited once your centre has been registered for 2021.

Please check and amend  your group names where necessary before you give the buzzword to your students – they are able to choose a group at the point of registering in Apply.

Anyone already registered for the adviser portal can sign in using the username and password they currently use.

If you would like us to walk you through it, take our online module to setting up for 2021 entry.


New to the portal? Registering to get started ​ 

How to register and sign in to the adviser portal
A step-by-step guide.

If you’ve not used the adviser portal before you’ll need to register an account – follow the onscreen instructions. If you need additional help see our quick registration video.

Key points when registering:

  • Use the email address and password you’ll use to sign in to the adviser portal.
  • Your ‘First name’ field will be displayed on your dashboard in the adviser portal, e.g. ‘Sarah’s dashboard’
  • Register with the email address your UCAS registered centre correspondent has set you up with, as this has been used to set your permissions and access.
  • UCAS cannot reset passwords. Use the ‘Forgotten password’ link on the sign in page.

If you’ve already registered for ucas.com a message will appear advising you that the email address is already in use. You can then use the ‘Forgotten password’ link to reset it.

Verify your account

Once you register, you’ll be taken to a screen where you’ll be asked to enter a code to verify your account. You should have received an email from us containing your unique code.

If you can’t see it in your inbox, check your spam or junk folders. It’ll be sent from noreply@ucas.com – add this address to your safe senders list and ask your IT team to add this addres to their network access controls to make sure you get future updates.

You can request another code by clicking the on-screen link.

Your dashboard

Each time you sign in, the first page you’ll be taken to is your dashboard.

To navigate to the adviser portal, select the ‘Advisers’ tab at the top of your dashboard.

There are five different management tools – access to these depends on your permissions. UCAS registered centre correspondents automatically have access to all five.

There will be the option to view either your 2020 or 2021 cohorts in the adviser portal.

You’ll also see an ‘Adviser information and advice’ section at the bottom of your dashboard. The links take you to helpful advice on ucas.com.

Summary of the adviser tools

The different management areas in the portal are:

  • Application management – view and manage details of your students’ application progress and references.
  • Tracking offers and decisions – view and download details of your student’ offers, decisions, and replies.
  • Centre management – view and manage details relating to your registered centre(s), including the buzzword, setting payment of application fee, qualification shortlist, and groups.
  • Staff management – view and manage staff at your centre(s) and their permissions.
  • Data and reporting – find information about value added, paid for data and reporting services for your centre(s).

If you are an adviser at more than one registered centre, you’ll be presented with a centre list to choose from in each management area.

For more information see our online training.


Creating, editing, and managing groups

You can sort your applicants into groups to help you manage your cohort. For example, applicants can be sorted into tutor or referee groups, or even a group for your ex-students.

Groups and associated staff members, including their permissions, will be copied over from the 2020 cycle – without the associated students.  

You’re able to add, edit, and manage your groups  in ‘Centre management’ once your centre is registered for the 2021 cycle.

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’.

For more information see our online training focused on ‘Setting up your centre’.


Setting up new staff and managing permissions

Your staff members, including their permissions, will be copied over from the 2020 cycle. You’ll be able to edit your staff and permissions once your centre has been registered for the 2021 cycle.

Adding, viewing, and managing staff access to the adviser portal is done in ‘Staff management’.

Adding a new staff member 

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.

Let staff know once they have been added to your staff list as they won’t automatically be sent an email.

Setting permissions

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

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. Staff permissions can be edited anytime during the cycle.

Removing a staff member

It’s important to review staff access to the adviser portal each year. Remove any staff who have left your centre or no longer need access. By removing them from your staff list you’ll remove any actions or permissions they had.

Referee contact details

Referee contact details will be copied over from the 2020 cycle.

Once you’re registered for the 2021 cycle you can edited, add or remove referees.

If you want to set up a new referee identified on the reference in name only without giving them permission to sign in and access the portal, you do this in ‘Centre management’ in ‘Referee contact details’.

The information you provide in the ‘referee contact details’ is seen by universities and colleges as part of the reference, and they can 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.

For more information see our online training focused on ‘Setting up your centre’.