You must apply for your chosen courses through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). UCAS handles applications for all full-time undergraduate courses except courses offered by the Open University. UCAS processes over 450,000 applications per year, including more than 50,000 submitted by international students.
You must submit your application on a 'UCAS form'. This form allows you to apply to up to 6 universities or colleges. You may only submit one form. A fee of £15.00 must be sent with your application, payable by cheque, postal order, credit or debit card.
When do I apply?
For courses at Oxford or Cambridge universities apply to UCAS by mid-October
For courses in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and veterinary science at any UK university apply to UCAS by mid-October
For all other courses and all other universities (except Open University)
• EU applicants: Apply to UCAS between September and mid January
• Non-EU applicants: Apply to UCAS between September and June. If you intend to apply to only one course and already have the necessary qualifications, you may apply at any time (please contact UCAS or your chosen university for further advice).
Early application is strongly advised to all candidates. Non-EU nationals are advised to apply before January. UK or EU nationals residing outside the EU, who think they may be assessed as a 'home' student for fees purposes, should apply by mid-January.
You will need to fill out a UCAS form. The UCAS form is 4 pages long, and can seem complicated. Before you start, please check that you have the qualifications necessary to make an application. If you are unsure how your qualifications compare with British standards, please contact UK Naric.
Below is a short outline of the application procedure:
- Fill out your UCAS form, entering the educational institutions you have chosen in the order they appear in the UCAS directory and not in your order of preference. You will not have to declare your preference until you have received offers from the institutions you apply to.
- On receipt of your form, UCAS will send copies of your completed application to the educational institutions to which you have applied. The institutions will review your application and inform UCAS whether they wish to offer you a place.
- If you have already achieved the qualifications required by the institution, your place will be 'unconditional'. If you have yet to achieve the entrance qualifications for your chosen course, any offer will be made on condition of you achieving specific grades in your qualifying examinations.
- UCAS will contact you to ask which offer you wish to accept. You will be asked to make a first choice (firm acceptance) and second choice (insurance acceptance). You will be expected to keep to the decision you make, so think carefully about which educational institutions to put as your first and second choices.
- Your reply should be sent to UCAS who will send it on to the educational institutions concerned. You should not send replies directly to colleges or universities.
- When you receive your examination results, you must send copies to the educational institutions you have chosen.
- If you achieve the conditions of your offer, your place will become unconditional. If the university or college of your first choice confirms your acceptance, your insurance offer is automatically cancelled. Once you receive a confirmed offer, you must confirm whether you accept or reject this place immediately, by returning the slip enclosed to the university or college.
- If you do not achieve the conditions of your offer, you should still send a copy of your examination results to your first and second choices, as they may still wish to offer you an educational place through UCAS. UCAS will inform you of the final decision of the college of university.
- Do not despair if you miss the grades for the course of your first choice; you may still find a place on a similar course at another college or university through the 'clearing process.
What is the Clearing process?
UCAS operates a clearing process in August and September to assist those candidates who have been unable to gain places through the standard procedure, to find an educational place on university and college courses which are not full.
To be eligible to join the clearing process, you must have:
- Applied through UCAS in the normal way, but have not received any offers, or
- Received offers through the usual procedure, but have not met the conditions to be accepted, or
- Applied to UCAS after June (in which case you will automatically be sent a Clearing entry form).