Applying to University
All applications to UK universities for full-time courses are made through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
- While the Complete University Guide mainly focuses upon universities, many colleges also recruit through UCAS so you will find over 300 institutions listed on the UCAS website.
- If you are interested in a part-time course you will need to contact universities individually to find out how to apply.
UCAS use the online application procedure Apply.
- UCAS works closely with schools, colleges, libraries and other agencies to ensure that all applicants have access to this system.
- Apply is available on the UCAS website alongside details of all the courses available so you can apply from any computer with access to the internet.
- March–September. Research and make choices about universities and courses. Open Days, conferences and HE fairs/conventions take place between March and September/early October. Make the most of school/college vacations to visit universities and university cities/towns. Applications can be sent to UCAS from mid-September.
- 15 October. Deadline for receipt at UCAS of applications for Cambridge or Oxford or medicine, dentistry or veterinary science/medicine in any university.
- 15 January. Deadline for receipt at UCAS of all other applications to be treated equally from the UK or elsewhere in the EU (except some art and design courses). Applications are normally accepted after this date but are marked as 'late'.
- Many schools and colleges will encourage students to apply well before the 15 January deadline for good reason, with early November a common school/college deadline. This allows the school to add things such as references, and check personal statements and choices.
- February–July. UCAS Extra (Extra is open between the end of February and early July).
- 25 February. If you are eligible to use UCAS Extra you can refer yourself to another choice.
- 24 March. Extended deadline for some art and design courses – visit the UCAS website for details of these courses.
- 31 March. If UCAS received your application by 15 January, universities and colleges aim to have supplied UCAS with their decisions by this date, although they can take longer.
- 8 May. If UCAS receive universities decision on your application by 31 March, you need to reply to any offers by this date, unless you are applying through UCAS Extra. If UCAS has not received your reply, they will decline on your behalf.
- 9 May. If you applied by 15 January and are awaiting decisions, universities need to have sent their decisions to UCAS by this date. If they do not, UCAS will make any outstanding choices unsuccessful on their behalf.
- 6 June. If UCAS received decisions from universities by 9 May, you need to have replied to any offers by this date, unless you are applying through UCAS Extra. If UCAS has not received your reply, they will decline your offers on your behalf.
- 27 June. If UCAS receives all decisions from universities by 7 June, you need to reply to any offers by this date, unless you are applying through UCAS Extra. If UCAS has not received your reply, they will decline your offers on your behalf.
- 30 June. If UCAS receive your application by 30 June, they will send it to your chosen universities and colleges. All applications received after this date will be entered into Clearing.
- July. Results published for BTEC and IB qualifications. Students taking these qualifications do not have to wait until the August Clearing process to confirm their place or check for vacancies.
- 3 July. Last date to apply through UCAS Extra.
- 18 July. If you applied by 30 June and are are waiting for decisions, universities need to send UCAS their decision by this date. If they do not, UCAS make any outstanding choice unsuccessful on their behalf.
- 25 July. If UCAS receives all decisions from universities by 18 July, you need to reply to any offers by this date, and this includes those applying through UCAS Extra. If UCAS do not receive a reply from you, they will decline the offers on your behalf. This is the last date to make changes to your replies.
- 6 August 2013. SQA results are published and the Scottish Clearing vacancy information service starts.
- 15 August 2013. GCE and Advanced Diploma results are published and the full Clearing vacancy information service starts. UCAS Adjustment opens for registration.
- 31 August 2013. UCAS Adjustment closes on this date.
- 20 September. This is the last date that UCAS will normally accept applications for courses starting in 2013.
- 22 October. This is the last date to add a Clearing choice. It is also the last date a university or college can accept an applicant in Clearing.
- Check for any changes to the detailed UCAS procedures for 2013–14 entry here.
If you follow the UCAS guidance carefully, most of the application process is straightforward. On the next page you'll find a few points about some of the more significant sections of the application form.
Next page: Filling in Your Application