This page explains how to fill out the UCAS application. If you've already sent your application, click here.
What's the difference between Route A and Route B?
Route A is the normal route. Route B used to be used for art and design courses, but has now been phased out. Some art courses have a later application deadline in March to allow applicants longer to put together a portfolio.
Registering with UCAS
Registering through school or other organisation
If you plan to register through a school or college, you must use the registration instructions provided by your school/college/etc., as each institution has its own "buzzword". Don't be tempted to register by yourself. You will also be asked for your first names, surname, title, sex, date of birth, address, telephone numbers and email address. The registration process generates your username and you create your own password.
Registering as an individual
You will be asked your first names, surname, title, sex, date of birth, address, telephone numbers and email address. The registration process generates your username and you create your own password.
Tips on Registering
- Don't use an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember who's going to be looking at this application.
- Don't put "captain" as your title, for the same reason as above. Not even if someone pays you a fiver to do so.
- If you don't understand something, ask your referee or contact UCAS if you don't have a referee.
Filling out the online application
Once you've signed into UCAS for the first time, you'll see something like this. Clicking each of these takes you to a different section of the form to fill in. You can log in and out as often as you like, just doing bits of each section each time as you go.
The "Courses" SectionApplicants can choose up to 5 choices through UCAS.
These choices can be applications for a single course code at 5 different universities or 5 different courses at a single university (and anything in between). You do not necessarily have to add all your choices at the same time, but you are advised to use up any remaining choices by the equal consideration deadline of 15 January. As a general principle using fewer than your allowance of five choices is sensible only if you are committed to specific unis for practical reasons, or your course is so specialised that there are few places that offer it.
You're only allowed to apply to EITHER Oxford OR Cambridge unless you already have a degree or will have gained a degree by September of this application cycle, or if you are an Organ Scholar.
Only 4 of your choices can be used to apply for Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science/Medicine. Only 3 of your choices can be used to apply for Art and Design Route B courses. (Route B applicants have until March to apply.)
If you apply to fewer than 5 choices initially it is possible to add extra choices (until you have 5 in total) at a later date.
The order you enter your choices in doesn't matter (unless you are applying for Route B Art and Design courses) - UCAS will reorder them by Institution Code and Course Code.
Your other choices aren't visible to the universities you apply to until after you've received your offers and picked your firm and insurance. This means that Nottingham wont know if you've applied to Wolverhampton unless you happen to mention that information in your personal statement or it gets mentioned in your reference.
NOTE: University staff are NOT allowed to ask you where else you've applied. If they do ask you then you don't have to answer and you should alert UCAS to the fact that you've been asked.
- Inst'n Code: university code, a single letter followed by 2 numbers. Click on the "?see list" button and select your university from the list. Be very careful as some universities have very similar titles and others may have changed their name.
- Course Code: UCAS Course Code, 4 digits, single honours courses are usually a Single letter followed by 3 numbers (eg Q300 English), major minor courses are usually a letter and number (major) followed by another letter and number (minor) (eg Q3V1 English with History), joint honours courses are usually two letters followed by two numbers (QV31 English and History). Click on the "?see list" button and select your course from the list. Be very careful as some courses have very similar titles.
- Campus Code: This can refer to either the Campus you will be studying on or the College you are applying to. Click on the "see list" button and select your campus/college from the list. This is not always required.
- Start Date: Enter your earliest available start date for the course you have chosen. Click on the ‘see list’ button and select the relevant date.
- Further Details: Fill this in only if it's on the Course Search on the UCAS website or the university or college prospectus. For example, QTS. This is often used for general courses to specify which specialisation you are applying for. It can also be used if you're applying for a particular scholarship scheme. It should NOT be used to simply enter the course title or university name (and if you do repeat the university name then at least TRY to make sure you spell it correctly(!)). It also is NOT the place to specify which accommodation you want to live in or enter your predicted grades.
- Live at Home: If you plan to live at home while you study if you pick this university, select 'Yes'. Select 'No' if you will need accommodation information from the university/college. Dependent on the university involved, you may or may not be able to change this at a later date.
- Point of Entry: This is the year of the course you are applying to join. If you have agreed with the university/college that they are willing to consider your application to start the course after year 1, enter the relevant number for they year – eg year 2=2 year 3=3 etc. If you're applying for entry into the second or later years then put 2, 3, 4 etc in here. If you are applying for a foundation year, enter 0.
The "Education" Section
This stage takes a fair amount of time and requires quite an amount of care and attention. Before you start, it would be a good plan to fish out all your GCSE and A-level results slips so you can enter them onto the site with a minimum of fuss. If the exam board and specification you took for each subject isn't listed on your results slips, it may be a good idea to ask someone what the specifications are - especially for GCSEs. Please note that this advice is intended for A-level candidates.
Adding Schools and Colleges
- Firstly, you'll be asked about the secondary schools, colleges and universities you've been to.
- You aren't expected to enter primary schools.
- You can add details of up to 10, but most people will only need to add 1 or 2.
- If you've taken any exams outside of your school/college - for example taken additional A Levels during evening classes - you still need to add details of where you sat those exams.
- When you're done adding schools and colleges, click "add qualifications" under the relevant centre. Then select your qualification from the menu and submenu that appears. This year, it appears as a long list in alphabetical order.
- Most GCSEs will just come under "GCSE". However, if you did a short course or a double award you need to select that from the main menu.
- For the subject title, pick it from the list. If you're not sure which specification you did, just choose the normal one. For example, pick "Business Studies" rather than Business Studies A or B.
- Under "date" most people put the month/year in which they received the results, usually August.
- For the awarding body, make sure you choose the correct exam board.
- When you're done, click "save and add similar". This will add your qualification and take you to a screen where you can add another qualification of the same type. Once you have filled out all qualifications of this type, click "save" for the last qualification. This will take you to your education summary screen.
Adding AS/A2 Levels
- Before adding any AS/A2 levels, you must find out whether or not they are cashed in (also referred to as "certificated").
- If your ASs are cashed in then even if you are resitting a module you must put the cashed in grade on UCAS Apply as an achieved qualification
- If your ASs are not cashed in they must be entered as pending qualifications, no matter how brilliant the grade
- If you are resitting modules for a cashed in AS, the AS needs to be entered twice, both as an achieved and a pending qualification
- A2 grades will always be cashed in so if you are resitting modules to improve your A2 grade you will also need to enter them twice
- If you have a certificated AS as well as the completed A level in a subject, both are entered as achieved qualifications
- A U grade is a fail and therefore does not have to be entered, because you don't hold the qualification. This might seem obvious but you'd be surprised how many times this question has been asked!
Adding cashed in AS/A2 Levels
- Follow the same instructions as above (selecting GCE Advanced or GCE Advanced Subsidiary), but notice that you can now include details of all your unit grades. Entering unit details for AS and A levels is optional. When you have filled out all the boxes finish the application as above.
- You cannot add the UMS marks that you got for each unit, only the grade. However, if one of your UMS marks was good (e.g. only a couple of marks off the next grade up), you may want to ask your referee to include this in his or her reference. (Note: Some universities, including Cambridge, will ask you to provide details of UMS marks and/or unit grades at a later stage.)
- Even if you are planning to re-sit some AS modules, you must include the AS subject and overall grade achieved, with unit results if you wish to give them. You should then enter the AS level again under pending qualifications, to cover the re-sit, with the overall and unit grades entered as "pending".
Adding non-cashed in AS Levels, A2s you haven't yet completed, and planned resits for AS or A2
- Selecting GCE Advanced or GCE Advanced Subsidiary, enter the details for each subject as appropriate.
- No matter what units you have taken and what your predicted grades are, you must put the grade for all units as "pending" and the date in the future (usually June) when you will take the final exams. If you are particularly pleased with any module marks you have received, have your referee mention these in his/her reference instead.
Adding other qualifications
Many other qualifications are worth UCAS points. Even if they're not, it's still nice to add them so that universities can get a better idea about you.
A final note about finishing the education section
- When you come to mark the section as finished, you may be asked for BTEC Registration Number and your Scottish Candidate Number. If these don't apply to you, simply leave them blank.
If you have your certificate, you can find your BTEC Registration Number printed on it. It is the second item on the bottom line of the text. It is a letter followed by a six-digit number. If you do not yet have your certificate, you will need to ask your tutor to find out the number.
The "Statement" Section
For information on writing a great PS, see the Personal Statement FAQs. Be sure to make sure that none of your formatting is erased when you paste it into UCAS. The best way to do this is to copy your PS from Word into notepad and then copy from there into the UCAS Apply box - this removes some of the "intelligent" formatting that Word applies that UCAS doesn't accept.
The "Employment" Section
This section is for PAID work only. Unpaid work experience can be mentioned in your personal statement.
Paid weekend and holiday work MUST be included.
This section is primarily for mature students so don't worry if you don't have anything much to include. UCAS and universities could request references from your employers, they are also allowed to contact them to get verification of the dates you worked there and what work you were doing so don't lie.
If you're a mature student and there isn't enough space to include your full work history (and you feel that your experience would benefit your application) then UCAS suggest sending Employment information directly to the universities you've applied to once UCAS have processed you application.
The "About you" Section
First names, surname, title, sex, date of birth will be filled in automatically from the details you provided when you registered. You’ll need to complete your address, telephone numbers and email address.
Make sure the email address provided is fairly sensible (your universities will be able to see it). It's a good idea to provide a home telephone number, but only include a mobile phone number if you're willing for UCAS and universities to send you text messages.
Check your email account regularly - especially and spam folders. UCAS and universities are increasingly using email as the main method of communication.
Fairly straight forward. Be as complete as possible even though it does feel like you're repeating yourself over and over again.
Residential category is the most important field in this section to fill in correctly as if you get it wrong at best it will mean filling in multiple fee questionnaire forms from universities.
You should tick the box only if you have a relevant criminal conviction.
Fee code: ONLY select 01 Private Finance if you're expecting to pay International fees (~£10k pa up front).
If you're applying for NHS funded courses (Nursing, Midwifery, Audiology, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Radiography) then select 05 DH/Regional Health.
For any other course (including medicine) if you're living in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or EU then select 02 LEA/SAAS/NIBd/EU/ChI/IoM or Student Finance England.
The information you give in this section includes details of any non-exam-based activity you may have undertaken in preparation for higher education, together with other information designed to help UCAS and the unis/colleges to monitor applications and equal opportunities.
Preparing the online application for submission
- Before submitting the online application, use the front page of Apply to check whether you need to verify your email account.
- Go through each section checking for errors, marking them completed as you go.
- When all the sections are marked as completed it’s a good idea to click on 'view all details' to print out and check the whole application.
- When you'e happy with your application, click on 'Pay/Send' from the left-hand menu. The declaration page will then be displayed. You will need to tick all the boxes to indicate you have read and agree to the declaration.
- You will then be asked how you want to pay - the options will depend on what your school has chosen - by credit/debit card, direct to the school/college, or a choice of both. Once you have chosen the appropriate payment method your application will be sent to your referee.
- Your referee may let you make changes after you have submitted it if the referee has not yet passed it on to UCAS.
From here, if you sign into Apply all you can do is see whether your referee has finished your reference yet and whether your referee has submitted your application. When the application is submitted, go to Tracking and Replying to your Offers to find out about the next step.
See also: UCAS Important Dates