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What is UCAS? Guide to Study in the UK ?

3 Min Read
December 08, 2022

by: Saeka Minami Kalpika

Hi, if you're currently planning to study in the UK, you probably have heard about UCAS. UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, a centralized service for students to apply for undergraduate programs to the universities in the UK. In 2021, UCAS processed almost 3 million student applications to universities and colleges across the UK for both local and international students. If you want to know how to submit your application through UCAS for your application to study in the UK, read more on this article.

How to submit

To apply through UCAS, you have to go to their 'Apply' section here. There are seven sections you need to complete:

  1. Personal details
  2. Student finance
    UCAS will ask you on how to fund your studies. 
  3. Choices
    You can choose up to five courses or programs per application. This can be five same courses at five different universities, or five different courses all at the same university or any combination of them. 
  4. Education details
    Enter all your qualifications from secondary education onwards. This helps the universities of your choice to know if you meet their entry requirements. 
  5. Personal statement
    You will need to submit a personal statement. It's got to be at least 1,000 characters long – but you have up to 4,000 characters/47 lines – whichever comes first. Write what you want to tell the universities why you'd like to study with them, and what skills and experience you have.
  6. Employment
    You can input details for up to five paid working experiences if you've had one, whether it's a full time or a part time job.
  7. Reference
    Submit a written recommendation from your teacher, adviser or professional who knows you academically. 

After completing these sections, you need to pay for the UCAS application fee. If you're applying to study in 2022: £22 for a single choice, or £26.50 for more than one choice. ?Once you have submitted your UCAS application, universities will consider your offer before informing you of their response.

UCAS Tariff Points

The Tariff Points (previously known as “points system”) is a way to compare students as equitably as possible. It translates your qualifications and grades into a numerical value, and some universities, colleges, and conservatoires refer to UCAS Tariff points in their course entry requirements. But not all qualifications are on the Tariff, so don't worry if you can't find your qualification, as a university, college, or conservatoire may still accept it. Therefore, you always need to make sure of your intended university entry requirements carefully. If you want to calculate your tariff points, check your grades on the UCAS Calculator.

When to submit

The UCAS application deadlines are fixed, and you need to pay attention to it because late applications will not be considered. The deadline will depend on the university and course you are applying to. For most universities and courses, the deadline is January 15th each year, but if you're planning to apply to Oxbridge and some specific courses, an earlier deadline applies. Make sure to have your time table ready so you will not miss the deadlines! 

You can only apply through UCAS once a year, so it's very important to ensure that your overall application is relevant. From the official UCAS site, here are the top things admissions teams will look for when reviewing your application:

  • Qualifications
  • content of written personal statement displaying passion for the subject area, while demonstrating motivation, enthusiasm, and the skills and experiences that will enable you to succeed at university
  • content of reference
  • knowledge of, and commitment to, the subject discipline
  • good attitude to learning and personal development
  • ability to articulate yourself fluently and accurately in writing – it is a sign of what's to come for tutors

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