The Essential UCAS Application Guide

Welcome to our essential UCAS Application Guide. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about applying to a university in the UK.

Choosing your Universities and Courses

Through UCAS, the UK’s official online application portal, you can apply to up to five universities. This may seem like a lot, but it’s designed to give you the best possible chance of securing a place at one of your dream universities.

Work out what type of course you’d like to study and find an appropriate level. You can choose from a wide range of courses including foundation degrees, diplomas, bachelors degrees, masters degrees, integrated masters courses and PhDs. It’s important that you apply to the right type of course to match your educational background and career goals. Do your research, attend open days and don’t rush your decision. It’s very important.

Complete your profile

Once you have an idea of your career aspirations, you can complete your online application profile. This includes…

  1. Personal information (e.g. school details, support needs etc)
  2. Qualifications (ability to add any subjects that you are working towards or have completed already)
  3. Work history (if you have any work experience or currently have a part-time job you can add it here)
  4. Personal statement (gives you a chance to tell the provider that you are applying to a bit about yourself)
  5. Contact details (allows you to add your contact details e.g. mobile number and email and keep them up-to-date throughout the application process).

You can save these sections at any stage and when you have finished can mark as complete. All five sections need to be completed before you can send off an application.


Before you can make an application you need to have saved the courses that you would like to apply for and completed all of the sections of your profile. Click the applications tab and select ‘start a new application’. This will then put your application into the ‘Not sent’ category. You can then click the blue ‘view’ button and check over your application before you send it. When you are happy you can click ‘submit your application’. Provider preferencing enables you to put your applications in the order in which you would like to go to them e.g. first choice, second choice etc

What’s next?

Your University will reply to you.

  • They might respond to you through UCAS Progress, so check your application dashboard regularly.
  • They might invite you to an interview, taster day, or meeting.
  • Make sure you keep your email address up-to-date so you can get updates and messages about your application.

Receiving offers and making choices

If you get an offer, you will see this on your ‘Applications’ page. You can receive conditional and unconditional offers through the system, and if there are any conditions, these will be visible. You have then got the option to accept or decline the offer. You can accept as many offers as you would like to. If the school or college doesn’t want to make you an offer, they will mark your application as ‘Unsuccessful’.

Top tips

  1. Do your research and start early
  2. Check the courses you are applying for fit with your career or job aspirations
  3. Check your spelling and grammar on your application
  4. Check you’ve put the correct contact information on your application
  5. Once you’ve completed your application, get someone to check it for you before you submit it

To read our guide about UCAS Clearing, click here.