How you get a reference for your application depends on if you’re applying individually, or through a school, college, or a centre registered with UCAS.
Relevant to
How to request a reference - Apply 2020
Here's how to get a reference for your UCAS Undergraduate application.
How to request a reference - Apply 2019
Here's how to get a reference for your UCAS Undergraduate application.
Signed video on requesting a reference
Here's how to get a reference for your application.
Related videos
All videos

How to choose a referee

If possible, they should be someone who knows you academically and can talk about your work ethic, interaction with other students and your suitability for higher education or a future career.

  • In a current or recent school or college, ask your tutor, teacher, principal or head teacher.
  • If you left education years ago, ask an employer, volunteering supervisor or trainer.
  • Don’t ask family, friends, partners or ex-partners though – if you do your application may be cancelled.
Applying through UCAS Conservatoires? The reference process is different – find out how to get references for UCAS Conservatoires.

Have you been asked to be a referee?

Please see our advice for how to provide a reference and what to include. 

How the reference should be written

Here’s an overview for you, so that you’ll know what to discuss with your referee.  

  • It must be a full reference, written by your referee online in the reference section of your application, in English (or Welsh if you’re applying for courses in Wales).
  • It might include your career goals and work experience – so talk these through with them first – as well as how well you’ve done in specific modules or course components.
  • If your referee is one of your teachers, they can add your predicted grades for any pending qualifications you’re studying now.
  • With your permission, it could include circumstances that have/could affect your academic work, such as a personal problem, illness or any individual needs you have.

Was this page helpful?

Yes  No