Application rates data explorer

This tool is a way to interactively explore some of the data published in the 2017 UCAS January deadline applicant analysis report.

The underlying data file can be found alongside the data files for all charts in the 2017 January Deadline Report. If you have any questions please contact us at

The data explorer is intended for use on desktop computers with mouse control. It's compatible with the latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers. Please refresh your page if it becomes unresponsive.

A glossary and technical notes (regarding Scotland) can be found at the bottom of this page.

Trends through time

Application rates over the last decade for the 18 year old UK population can be investigated in more detail using the line chart below.

The application rates can be viewed split by different dimensions of equality, which can be selected from the dropdown boxes below. These application rates can also be filtered to applicants from a particular country of domicile. For the POLAR3 and sex categories, an additional dropdown box is available to investigate POLAR3 by sex and vice-versa.

For example, the following analysis is available: the comparison of application rates for men and women from Scotland, subset to POLAR3 Q1 only.

Note: The SIMD measure is also available only for applicants domiciled in Scotland.

Hover over the data points to give the application rate for that year. Clicking on the legend text can be used to hide and show the data points from different groups on the chart.


  • Application rate: Number of applicants from a UCAS application cycle divided by the estimated base population.
  • POLAR3: Developed by HEFCE and classifies small areas across the UK into five groups according to their level of young participation in HE. Each of these groups represents around 20 per cent of young people and is ranked from quintile 1 (areas with the lowest young participation rates, considered as the most disadvantaged) to quintile 5 (highest young participation rates, considered most advantaged).
  • SIMD: the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation identifies small area concentrations of multiple deprivation across all of Scotland, providing a relative measure of deprivation among small areas (data zones). In this report, the SIMD 2016 has been used to group areas in each year in the times series, from 2006 to 2017. This is the latest version of the SIMD.
Further information can be found in the 2017 January deadline report.


For people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, UCAS covers the overwhelming majority of full-time undergraduate provision. Therefore, the statistics on application rates can be taken as being very close to all demand for full-time undergraduate higher education. In Scotland there is a substantial section of provision that is not included in UCAS' figures. This is mostly full-time higher education provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young, full-time undergraduate study in Scotland. This proportion varies by geography and background in Scotland. Accordingly, the statistics on UCAS application rates in these interactive charts reflect only that majority of full-time undergraduate study that uses UCAS.

From the 2015 cycle onwards, applications to postgraduate teacher training programmes in Scotland were included in the UCAS Undergraduate admissions scheme. Previously, these were recruited through UCAS Teacher Training. In 2015, around 120 courses at providers in Scotland moved into the UCAS Undergraduate scheme, estimated to represent around 2,000 acceptances, mostly aged 21 or over. Comparisons between 2015 (and later) and 2014 (or earlier cycles) will be affected by this change.

These interactive charts were created using the D3 javascript library and Chart.js.