Get the most out of your UCAS application

All applications to universities in the UK are made through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admission Service.

Although it might seem confusing at first, the system has been designed to be straight-forward and ensure you can keep track of your application, choices and offers.

How to begin:

Firstly, register for your Apply account at where you will need to enter your personal details, get a username, create a password, and set your security questions. Your school or college will also
give you a buzzword which you will also be asked to enter.

Next you will be able to choose your courses – you select up to five but don’t worry they will not be able to see where else you’ve applied and there’s no preference order. For medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or veterinary science, you can only apply to a maximum of four courses in any one of these subjects. And you can only apply to one course at either the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.

The next step is entering all your qualifications, whether you have the result or you’re still awaiting exams and results.

You then need to add in details of any paid jobs – full-time or part-time – and include company names, addresses, job descriptions, and start and finish dates.

Next you will have to write a personal statement – this is your chance to show universities or colleges why you want to study the course and why you would make a great student.

Make sure to check your application carefully before marking it as complete.

Get a reference – this is a written recommendation normally from a teacher, adviser, or professional who knows you academically. Everyone needs a reference.

After you’ve sent your application to UCAS – it will be processed and you will be sent a welcome email confirming the application has been sent. This email will also contain your Personal ID, which will enable you to track its progress.

Key terms:

Extra is a free service and allows students to apply to one course at a time between February 25 and July 4. To be eligible, you need to have had no offers, then you can use Extra.

If you’ve done better than expected in your A levels, Adjustment allows you to see what other courses are available.

If you’ve had no offers or your exams don’t go to plan, there’s always Clearing. It’s how universities and colleges fill any places they still have. You will need to contact the course providers directly if you see a course that interests you.


October 15, 2018: Deadline for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and for most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry

January 15, 2019: Deadline for the majority of undergraduate courses

February 25, 2019: Extra opens

May 1, 2019: If you receive all decisions by March 31, reply by May 1

May 2, 2019: University/college decisions due on applications submitted by January 15

June 6, 2019: If you receive all decisions by May 2, reply by June 6

June 20, 2019: If you receive all decisions by June 6, reply by June 20

June 30, 2019: Entry applications received after June 30 are entered into Clearing

July 4, 2019: Last date to apply in Extra for 2019 entry

July 5, 2019: 2019 entry Clearing opens

July 11, 2019: University/college decisions due on applications submitted by June 30

July 18, 2019: If you receive all decisions by July 11, reply by July 18

August 15, 2019: A-level results day; Adjustment opens

August 31, 2019: Remaining offer conditions must be met, and Adjustment ends

September 20, 2019: Final deadline for 2019 entry applications

October 22, 2019: Last date to add 2019 entry Clearing choices and for universities/colleges to make decisions