We take you through what you need to do if you've been asked to write an academic or practical reference for a UCAS Conservatoires applicant.

What applicants need to do

After applicants have chosen referees who agree to provide references, they request their references to be sent to them, so they can add them to their applications before they submit to us. This way, the reference goes straight to their chosen conservatoires.

If this can’t be done before the application is submitted, they send their referee an academic or a practical reference form, either on paper or as an electronic file, together with a stamped addressed envelope for each of their conservatoire(s) (if they are being posted).


What you need to do

If the applicant is adding their references straight into their application before they submit, you need to provide the reference to them, so that they can enter this themselves. There is a declaration for them to confirm that the reference is from the named referee.

We advise applicants, if they risk missing any deadlines waiting for their references, they must submit their application without them, and request references to be submitted separately by email or by post to the conservatoires.

The applicant will provide you with the form electronically or on paper — these should be completed and sent by you to each conservatoire. For example, the student is applying to six choices, they should give you six reference forms individually completed with their details and the course and conservatoire details (and six stamped addressed envelopes if you're posting them).

You then need to write the reference (you can tailor it to the specific course) and send them to the conservatoire(s).

Please note; the practical and academic reference must be completed by two different referees.

  • Either email the form(s) to the conservatoire(s) — the form must not be emailed to a conservatoire from the applicant's email address.
  • Or print and sign each reference from, and post to each conservatoire.

If an applicant is applying before 1 October (the deadline for on-time applications), and submitting their references separately from their application, we ask them to aim to have their references with conservatoires by the end of October.

If they are applying after the October deadline, we advise them to aim to have their references with conservatoires as soon as possible.

We recommend you keep a copy of each reference you write for your records.

Predicted grades

If an applicant is still studying or waiting for results, please give a prediction for their final overall achievement. You can also comment on the applicant's performance in any units they've already taken.

If the application, including the reference, contains false or misleading information, or there is relevant information missing, it could influence whether a conservatoire offers a place, or the terms on which a place is offered. In these circumstances, UCAS Conservatoires and the conservatoires have the right to cancel the application and withdraw any offers without refunding the application fee.

International students

If you are providing a reference for an international student, you must write in English. If the applicant's first language is not English, comment on their ability to write and speak in English and say if any of their studies were taught in English. Explain any break in the applicant's education and how they compare with others in your class.

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