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How to write UCAS Conservatoires references

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

UCAS Conservatoires applicants need to select two referees who know them well enough to comment on their suitability for their chosen course(s):
  • one to comment on their academic ability
  • another to write about their practical ability

After applicants have chosen referees who agree to provide references, they send each 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, 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'll then need to write the references (you can tailor it to the specific course) and send them to the conservatoire(s).

  • 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 them, to each conservatoire.

If an applicant is applying before 1 October (the deadline for on-time applications), 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.