What is UCAS?

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK-based organisation which operates the application process for British universities. Services provided by UCAS include online application portals, search tools and free information and advice to students considering higher education.

What is a UCAS undergraduate application?

If you are in the UK and want to apply to study at a British university, you will have to use the UCAS application form. You will need to register and make the application through UCAS’s online system, Apply. This is a ten-step online form which can only be submitted once per cycle.

How do I apply through UCAS?

When you have decided which course(s) you want to apply for, you can register and make an online application. There are different applications depending on what type of course you want to study. You will need to register with UCAS, and the website will take you through each stage of the application form step by step.

How much is it to submit a UCAS application?

UCAS charges an application fee of £28.50 for up to five university choices.

UCAS application deadlines

When do UCAS applications open?

For 2025 entry applicants, you can pay and submit your application from the 3rd September 2024.

When do UCAS applications close?

This deadline varies, as some courses have different deadlines. The deadline for 2025 entry to most medicine, dentistry, and veterinary courses is 15th October 2024. For the majority of other courses, the deadline is 29th January 2025.

If you miss the 29th January deadline, you can still apply until the 30th of June but courses may have been filled.

How to fill in your UCAS application

You will need to fill in information about your:
Personal details
Course choices
Work Experience
You will also need to write your personal statement. Your personal statement supports your application to study at university or college and is a great way to showcase your personal qualities, skills and passions.

Read our personal statement guide for tips and advice to help you through this process. 

UCAS references

Are my UCAS references important?

Your UCAS reference could mean the difference between an acceptance or a rejection, so it is worth making sure you get it right!
Your referee should comment on your ability, attitude and approach to learning. They may also mention your activities and work experience, so make sure they are aware of everything you do. They will also list any predicted grades to help university staff work out whether you will cope academically on the course.
Talk to your referee beforehand to get all your key points across.

Who can be my UCAS referee?

The reference should be written by someone who knows you well in a professional or academic sense. If you are at school or college, this is likely to be a teacher, tutor or head of sixth form. If you left education some time ago, ask an employer, supervisor or trainer.
You shouldn’t ask family or friends – if you do, your application may be cancelled.

Can I send my UCAS application with a reference?

Everyone needs a reference. If you are unable to get a reference you must get permission from your chosen universities or colleges before you submit your application.

Your UCAS application number

When you register to apply through UCAS you will be allocated a ten-digit number, this is your “personal ID”. This number will be included on any correspondence you receive from UCAS.

Track progress of your UCAS application

Once you have submitted your application you can track the progress by logging into the UCAS system called your UCAS Hub. You'll be able to sign in at any time with the Personal ID you received in your welcome email, along with the password you used when applying.

When should I expect offers?

It is a good idea to get your application in early as some universities start to make offers from September. All applicants should hear back within three weeks of applying. Applicants should log into UCAS to check the status of their application.

When your chosen university has seen your application, your status will change from ‘submitted’ to ‘acknowledged’ on the UCAS website. Your chosen university may need to interview you to further establish whether you are right for the course.
When a decision has been made on your application, you will receive notification that something has changed on your application form. You will either have an offer or your application will be marked as unsuccessful.
You can accept any conditional or unconditional offer on the website.

UCAS Tariff points

UCAS Tariff points is a way of measuring the relative value of all post-16 qualifications in the UK. The UCAS Tariff assigns a numerical score to the possible grades that can be achieved in each type of qualification. This applies to all qualifications that are on the Tariff.
However, lots of Universities do not use the Tariff, you should speak to your teacher or adviser about your qualifications and university entry requirements.

How many UCAS points do I have?

You can calculate how many points you have with the Tariff calculator on the UCAS website.

How are UCAS points calculated?

A points total is achieved by converting qualifications such as A-levels (and many others) into points, making it simpler for course providers to compare applicants.

How does UCAS Adjustment work?

If you have met and exceeded the conditions of your conditional firm offer, you may be able to use Adjustment to find an alternative course. This means you can try to find another place at another university without losing your original offer.
Everyone whose place has been confirmed can register for Adjustment. If you go through Adjustment, you will need to register, research, discuss and agree on the details with the university. They will then send a confirmation to UCAS. Adjustment is open from A-Level results day until the end of August.