Students apply to British universities through the standardised online platform UCAS. Here's all you need to know, including key dates, information, and a breakdown of what you need to provide.
First, you'll need a UCAS Hub account to start an application, which you can create at any time.
You have up to five choices unless applying to study medicine, veterinary, medicine/science, or dentistry, in which case it's four choices.
Universities and colleges can't see your other choices when you apply.
26 April 2022: Adviser portal opens for 2023 entry.
17 May 2022: UCAS undergraduate application 2023 cycle opens.
6 September 2022:Completed 2023 entry UCAS Undergraduate applications can be submitted to UCAS.
15 October 2022 (18:00U.K. time): 2023 entry deadline for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science and dentistry.
25 January 2023 (18:00U.K. time): 2023 entry deadline for all UCAS Undergraduate applications, except for those courses with a 15 October deadline.
A Step-by-Step Guide to UCAS
If you're applying with the help of your high school, you should enter their "buzzword" – a unique code set by your high school- to link your application to them.
This allows your school to view and track your application, provide you with a reference and send your application to UCAS on your behalf.
Not all French schools are connected to UCAS, in which case students apply and submit the application requirements independently.
Universities will review applicants':
- Personal Statement
- Academic transcripts and predicted grades
- Reference letter
On some occasions, universities also ask for an additional admissions test (such as Oxbridge)and/or an interview.
The Personal Statement
The Personal Statement is the only section students have complete control over and can use to market themselves as individuals.
Students submit one Personal Statement for all their choices. The essay must be a maximum of 4,000 characters or 47 lines. Remember that every P.S. is run through software to check for plagiarism.
You can read more about the Personal Statement in our dedicated article.
UCAS asks for one reference from someone who knows the student's capabilities and qualities, such as the head teacher or a teacher.
Referees can use up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text. They need to read what the student has written in their application before finalising it. Each university the student has applied for will see the reference but will not see where else the student has applied, which means it's important that referees don't mention a particular university.
What to include in a reference letter:
- Referees can include information about the school where the student has studied and their assessment of the student's suitability for the course they've chosen.
- For international students, the reference must be submitted in English. If written in another language, the reference must be translated by someone other than the applicant or their families – such as the student's English teacher, the school guidance counsellor, or another staff member. It's helpful to comment on students' ability to write and speak English.
- Referees summarise the applicant's likely achievements in future exams and their suitability for the courses for which they've applied.
Predicted grades are part of the reference, and when students link their application to their school, it is the school's responsibility to ensure the grades have been added to an application. Referees can't change predicted grades after sending.
A predicted grade is the grade of qualification an applicant's school believes they're likely to achieve.
Predicted grades should be:
- entered for each pending qualification. N.B. British students take three courses for their A-levels; thus, students ask for their predicted grades in three subjects related to the area of study they are applying for.
- in the best interests of applicants
- timely: it's helpful to make predicted grades transparent and available as early as possible, ideally before the summer break of the final year of high school. These expectations can then form the basis of subsequent conversations with students.
Once students have submitted their choices and received decisions on all of them, they can choose two:
- one as a "firm" acceptance – their first choice
- the other as an "insurance" acceptance, which acts as a back-up should they not get into their firm choice.
Students decline any remaining offers.