Filling in your UCAS Undergraduate application

You make your application online. Don’t leave applying until the last minute as there’s quite a bit to do – but you don’t need to complete the application all at once.

Here are the top things admissions teams will look for when reviewing your application:

  • qualifications
  • content of written personal statement displaying passion for the subject area, while demonstrating motivation, enthusiasm, and the skills and experiences that will enable you to succeed at university
  • content of reference
  • knowledge of, and commitment to, the subject discipline
  • good attitude to learning and personal development
  • ability to articulate yourself fluently and accurately in writing – it is a sign of what's to come for tutors
University admissions staff talk about the top things they look for in an application.

Please note, you can only apply once in a cycle. Don't apply more than once in a cycle, as you won’t receive a refund for further applications. If you've applied in previous cycles and want to apply again, you'll have to submit a new application. If you have applied before, your UCAS PID will automatically revert to your previous one.

Applying through UCAS Conservatoires? The process is slightly different – find out how to fill in your application.


1. Register with UCAS

Looking to start studying in 2021? Register in Apply, our 2021 application. You’ll be asked for some personal details, and given a username, asked to create a password, and set your security questions. Add the buzzword your school, college or centre gave you too, or if you're applying independently (without the support of a teacher/adviser) there’ll be a few questions you need to answer.

Looking to start studying in 2022? Register in the UCAS Hub and complete the registration questions – confirming you want to start your studies in 2022 and are interested in ‘Undergraduate’ level of study. You’ll then be taken to your UCAS Hub dashboard, where from 18 May you’ll see a tile called ‘Your application’. Simply click ‘Start’ to begin your application.

When completing your application – make sure you enter your first name and middle name(s) exactly as they're stated on official documents, such as your passport, birth certificate, or driving licence.If you only have one name, enter it in both the first name and last name fields on the application.


2. Complete your details

There are some key points to note:

  1. You must complete all mandatory questions and you can’t skip any sections. These must all be complete before your application can be sent. But you don’t have to do it all at once – sign in and save your progress at any time.  
  2. Make sure your email address is always up-to-date – so you don’t miss important updates on your application.
  3. We’ll ask for your residency status – if you’re from outside the UK and need clarification on this, visit the UKCISA website for detailed information.
  4. There are questions specifically for UK students – these are about your ethnic origin, national identity, and occupational background. These are mandatory questions used for monitoring purposes. This information will only be shared with universities and colleges after you have secured a place and will not influence any decision regarding your application.
  5. We ask for information about personal circumstances – such as your parental education, if you’ve been in care, or involved in widening participation activities, so universities and colleges can form a more complete understanding of you as an individual. While this information is optional, it can help universities and colleges better understand your background, and provide support.
  6. If you’re applying with the support of a school and you didn’t enter your buzzword during registration – you can do this at any time from your application. This will link your application to your school or college, so they can track your progress and provide support, including adding your reference.
  7. We ask how you plan to fund your studies – but we do not manage student finance applications. Find out more about funding and finance
  8. You can give a parent, guardian, or adviser nominated access – if you'd like them to be able to speak to us on your behalf. We'll be able to discuss your application with them, but for security reasons, we can't share your login details (for example, if you need to change your password).

3. Add your education history

You must enter all your qualifications from secondary education onwards – whether you have the result (even any that were ungraded) or you’re still awaiting exams and results. This helps unis and colleges to understand if you meet their entry requirements. However, sometimes a uni or college will make you an offer even if you don't meet the exact grades they're asking for. If you have any questions about entry requirements, speak to the uni/college before you apply.

  • If you're waiting for resultsthese are the exam results we're able to process and forward on to unis and colleges. If any of your pending qualifications aren't on this list, you still need to add them to your application, but also remember you’ll need to send the results on to your chosen universities and colleges when you get them.
  • If you studied at a uni or college but didn't finish the course, you still need to enter these details. Include the start and finish date, and state that you didn't receive any qualifications there.
  • If you are currently studying for a qualification or awaiting results, it is important you make sure your referee adds your predicted grades to your application – some universities and colleges will not consider your application without them.

It's really important you enter the right qualifications on your application – especially if you're taking a vocational qualification, such as a BTEC – as there are a number of different options to choose from in the application, depending on the size and type of qualification you're taking. If you're not sure which version of a qualification you're taking, talk to your school or college, or contact us for advice.


4. Complete your employment history

If you've had any paid jobs – full-time or part-time – here's where you can enter details for up to five of them. Include company names, addresses, job descriptions, and start/finish dates.

Any unpaid or voluntary work shouldn’t be included here – mention that in your personal statement. If you’ve not had any paid work experience, just leave this section blank, and mark it as complete.


5. Select your course choices

You can choose up to five courses (all now or some later). There’s no preference order and your universities/colleges won’t see where else you’ve applied until after you reply to any offers you get.


6. Write a personal statement

This is the only part of the application where you can write in your own style – it’s your chance to tell universities and colleges why you’d like to study with them, and what skills and experience you have. It’s got to be at least 1,000 characters long – but you have up to 4,000 characters/47 lines – whichever comes first.

We recommend you start in Microsoft Word (or something similar) and paste it into your application as the application doesn’t have a spell check – while you’re in your application, hit save regularly to avoid losing your work. As you would with any important piece of work read and re-read and preview it before you mark this section as complete.


7. Submit your application

Once you’ve completed your application, you’ll be shown your full application – make sure you review it and make any edits.

You’ll then be asked to read and agree to the declaration – which allows us to process your info and send it to your chosen universities/colleges.


8. Get a reference, pay your application fee, and send your application to us

A reference is a written recommendation from a teacher, adviser or professional who knows you academically. Everyone needs a reference, unless you get permission from your chosen universities and colleges. You must have a completed reference on your application before it is sent to us.

 

The application fee is:

  • If you’re applying to study in 2021: £20 for a single choice, or £26 for more than one choice. 
  • If you’re applying to study in 2022: £22 for a single choice, or £26.50 for more than one choice. ​

Trouble paying for your application? We've put together a handy guide to help you, which is available in English and Welsh.

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