The UCAS process for the UK
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) processes applications for UK undergraduate courses at universities and colleges. It is a charity, funded by fees paid by applicants and universities.
In order to apply through UCAS, you must first register to open a personal account. This allows access to a well-designed website which contains a huge amount of tailored information, enabling you to search universities by course, region, tuition fees and grade requirements.
To progress your application, you must electronically pay the required fee – this is critical.
The UCAS application process is complex. Whilst the process “belongs” to the student, Education Advisers Ltd can provide bespoke support to achieve the best outcomes.
Key dates are:
- Deadlines for Oxford, Cambridge and Medical applications are in late October*.
- All other UCAS applications should be completed by late January*. Whilst late international applications will be accepted, the choice of university will become more restricted.
- Universities will complete making offers to prospective students by the middle of May*.
- Results day in mid-August* allows offers to be confirmed by students – this means that you accept the associated fees for the course and accommodation (if provided). Students who do better than expected may wish to enter “adjustment”, where they try to secure a course with higher entry criteria. For students who have not done as well as expected, “clearing” allows them to explore courses which fit their actual grade profile.
*see UCAS website for the exact dates.
How many subjects should I study?
Universities are interested in quality not quantity – therefore, there is no need for applicants to study excessive numbers of A Level subjects. Top universities require 3 academically demanding A Levels – anymore may detract from your ability to successfully focus on the three required subjects.
Universities also look very highly on the Extended Qualification Project (EPQ) which is worth half an A level. This independently chosen and researched project allows the very best candidates to develop and display a personal area of interest outside of the taught curriculum. Engaging with Super-Curricular research enhances this study - click here to find out more
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
The International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB Dip) is a holistic two year pre-university course which is well regarded by UK universities and UCAS operate a tariff system reflecting this. The six compulsory subjects are assessed through exam and coursework and are scored 1-7. Additional marks are available for the Theory of Knowledge component and the Extended Essay. 24 points are required to pass the IB Dip, with 45 as the highest grade.
Individual UK universities can advise on the international qualifications which they will accept. However, it should be remembered that intentional students may be required to demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency, measured through IELTS or TOEFL testing.
What if I don’t get the grades I need?
Education Advisers Ltd offers expert advice on “clearing”, a process which starts on results day, allowing students to trade up (if they achieve better grades) or to seek alternative courses (if actual grades do not match school prediction).
If you wish to consider re-taking a subject, we can recommend successful Sixth Form college partners. However, this will defer your university entry by at least a year.
How to get the right advice
Education Advisers Ltd are expert at supporting applicants to UK, US and other universities across the world. Our tailored packages allow our customers to select a bespoke pathway to meet their needs.