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UCAS: A How to Guide

Making your first university applications through UCAS can be a daunting, potentially quite confusing prospect. If you’re not sure where to begin, or just need a quick checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the key elements, read our guide to understanding the UCAS application system.

Understanding UCAS
To apply for an undergraduate course at a UK university, you need to do so through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). The UCAS website itself has a good deal of information to help you learn about the world of university, as well as hosting the portal through which you fill out the all-important UCAS form (essentially the form each university will receive as your application).

Get started by registering on the UCAS website before working your way through the following steps. Remember to give yourself plenty of time: the UCAS form is full of important decisions and responses which might take several drafts before you want to submit them!

Filling out your UCAS Form

You will find a list of your progress to the left-hand side when you are logged in. This displays each stage you need to fill out to complete the form, and your progress.

Required Information

Personal Details
These include basic details, extra information about your background, and (in a separate section) past employment details if you have any.

Course and University Choices
It may not come as a shock that there are hundreds of universities and thousands of courses to pick from. Luckily, UCAS provide all the details for them here, although we recommend also checking the courses out on the relevant university sites for more detailed information before deciding. Research which courses and, once you’ve narrowed these down, which universities you’re most interested in before picking your top 5 on the UCAS form. Make sure to consider entry requirements for each course as well, since there’s no point applying to courses that will be unlikely to take you on the strength of your grades.

School Details and Exam Results
You will be required to input which school you attend, and which qualifications you have taken or are currently taking there. This is also where you will put your planned university start date.

Personal Statement
This is a vital, and perhaps the most well-known, section of the UCAS form. This gives you your only opportunity to give admissions tutors at your chosen universities an idea of what you’re like as a person; why you love your subject, what motivates you, and why you’re a better choice than others with the same grades as you. You have 4000 characters to work with, so make sure that every word counts. We recommend putting a good amount of time into this section, drafting your personal statement at least several times until you’re happy with it.


Once your UCAS form has been filled in and submitted, it is sent to your referee who will provide a reference to support your application before it goes to your chosen universities. If you are applying whilst you are still at school, your teachers will fill this section out for you, meaning it will automatically be sent to your school once you submit. If you have already left school (in the UK), you will need to speak to your school and let them know you are applying so that they can prepare a reference for you.

If you are applying for university in autumn 2022, the UCAS application for most courses is the 25th of January 2023. However, if you are applying for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, or any course at Oxford or Cambridge, the deadline is several months earlier on the 15th of October 2022.

Personal Statement Package

The Personal Statement is the first thing that universities will see about you. Our Personal Statement Package helps you to prepare for your university application. Get in touch with one of our consultants for more information or to book your course today via telephone on +44 (0)20 7499 2394 or email

Personal Statement Package

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