Applying to University

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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.
  • Performing Arts students may apply to eight conservatoires via the Conservatoires UK Admissions Service (CUKAS). Read about CUKAS and see the key dates for CUKAS applications.
  • 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.

Key Dates for Your UCAS Application

  • March–September 2014. 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 holidays to visit universities and university cities/towns. Applications can be sent to UCAS from mid-September.
  • 15 October 2014. Deadline for receipt at UCAS (by 18.00 UK time) of applications for Cambridge or Oxford, or medicine, dentistry or veterinary science/medicine in any university.
  • 15 January 2015. Deadline for receipt at UCAS (by 18.00 UK time) of most other applications to be treated equally from the UK or elsewhere in the EU (except some art and design courses – check with the universities). 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 2015UCAS Extra (Extra is open between the end of February and early July).
  • 25 February 2015. If you are eligible to use UCAS Extra you can refer yourself to another choice.
  • 24 March 2015. Extended deadline for some art and design courses (by 18.00 UK time) – visit the UCAS website for details of these courses.
  • 6 May 2015. If UCAS receive university or college 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 does not received your reply, they will decline on your behalf.
  • 7 May 2015. 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.
  • 4 June 2015. If UCAS received decisions from universities by 7 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.
  • 25 June 2015. If UCAS receives all decisions from universities by 4 June, you need to reply to any offers by today, unless you are applying through UCAS Extra. If UCAS has not received your reply, they will decline your offers on your behalf.
  • 30 June 2015. If UCAS receive your application by 18.00 (UK time) today, they will send it to your chosen universities and colleges. All applications received after this date will be entered into Clearing.
  • July 2015. 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.
  • 2 July 2015. Last date to apply through UCAS Extra.
  • 16 July 2015. 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.
  • 23 July 2015. If UCAS receives all decisions from universities by 16 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.
  • 4 August 2015. SQA results are published and the Scottish Clearing vacancy information service starts.
  • 13 August 2015. GCE and Advanced Diploma results are published and the full Clearing vacancy information service starts. UCAS Adjustment opens for registration.
  • 31 August 2015. UCAS Adjustment closes today, and the deadline for any remainign conditions to be met, otherwise the university might not accept you.
  • 21 September 2015. This is the last date that UCAS will accept applications for courses starting in 2014.
  • 30 September 2015. Clearing closes. You can still add Clearing choices in Track but you should contact the university to discuss vacancies first.
  • 21 October 2015. This is the last date to add a Clearing choice. It is also the last date a university or college can accept a Clearing applicant.
  • Check for any changes to the detailed UCAS procedures for 2014–15 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.

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