How to apply to university on UCAS

Looking to go to university in September 2023? It’s time to start thinking about your application!

The UCAS undergraduate deadline for most courses is 25 January 2023. So, if you’re looking to apply to university for entry in September or October 2023, it’s important to start your application as soon as possible.

If you need UCAS application help, you have come to the right place. In this blog, you’ll get an understanding of the application process, how best to prepare, and some important tips to consider!

What research to do beforehand

The first step is to ask yourself: What type of course might I enjoy? Where would I like to study? What are my predicted grades?

You can search for courses and providers on the UCAS website. Here, you can apply filters to your options and confirm entry requirements for each course.

The UCAS points system is often used by universities for entry requirements. Be sure to check your UCAS tariff points against your predicted grades before applying and be realistic about your choices. Work out how many UCAS points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS tariff points calculator.

You may also be interested in checking the league tables for your chosen subject and university; these are published each year online by The Times, The Guardian and The Complete University Guide, to name a few.

After this research, you should have a few universities in mind. If possible, sign up and attend open days. Once there, you can get a feel for university life, learn more about your course and explore the local area. If it’s too late to attend one, you could still potentially visit the area, look at virtual tours or use the UCAS chat to a student feature to learn more about what it’s like studying at a specific university.

How to choose courses

Be sure to look at the various modules within the course in detail and ensure that you are happy with the content. You may also want to check that your course is properly accredited by the correct governing body (if they have one).

Once you’ve made up your mind, it’s time to work on submitting an application. In college, there’s a lot of support with this. Be it with your own personal tutor or with the advice you receive from UCAS Takeover Week which we hold each autumn term.

What university admission teams want in a UCAS application

University admission teams will look at the following when reviewing your UCAS application:

  • Your qualifications and predicted grades
  • The quality of your personal statement – is it passionate and enthusiastic?
  • Your skills and experience – do you have what it takes to thrive in your chosen subject area?
  • Your knowledge and commitment to your chosen subject
  • Your attitude to learning and your personal development
  • Your ability to articulate yourself within your writing and application
  • The quality of your reference

Completing your application

You will need to register for an apply account on UCAS Apply with a unique buzzword given by your college. Once logged in with a provided username, you can fill in some personal details and begin the application process. Be sure to note down your Personal ID somewhere safe!

Your UCAS application will consist of six main sections listed on the left-hand side of the screen.

  1. Personal details – This section is the most straightforward. Here, you will fill in name, postal address, contact information and note down any financial support you may need at university.
  2. Additional Information – For those living in the UK, you can note down further background information including ethnicity, national identify and occupation. There are also optional questions regarding religion, sexual orientation and whether you identify as transgender. You may also input extra-curricular activities and personal circumstances within this section.
  3. Course choices – Here you can choose up to five university courses. This is filtered easily with clickable links to ensure you select the right university and course. If you apply to different universities, they will not be able to see your other choices.
  4. Education – Here you will list all your schools and qualifications to date, including current qualifications, those that were ungraded and your predicted grades (ensure your referee adds these). Once you get all your qualifications, you will have to forward copies of these to your chosen university.
  5. Employment details – This section will ask you to list any jobs you may have had, be it full or part-time roles. When it comes to work experience, be sure to mention this in your personal statement, not here.
  6. Personal statement – Your personal statement is a fantastic opportunity to showcase yourself. Here, you can explain your suitability to your chosen course and highlight why you would be a great student. Before submitting your personal statement, be sure to get it checked over by your tutor, friends and family. Your written personal statement will be paired with your tutor’s reference (you will be lucky to get a glimpse of this and other teachers may contribute), alongside your predicted grades.

As you go through each section, they will be marked as not started, in progress or complete. All sections need to be completed (and checked over) before submitting your application.

Be sure to read and tick the “View all details” section, sign the declaration and then pay the application fee.

Deadline for UCAS applications

The UCAS undergraduate deadline for most courses is 25 January 2023, these are for courses with entry in September or October 2023.

Please note, art and design courses may have alternative submission dates, so do clarify this with your tutors and UCAS.

The UCAS application fee for 2023 entry is £22 for one choice, or £26.50 for more than one choice.

Once your application is submitted, keep an eye on UCAS Track for updates from your chosen universities. Best of luck – you can do it!

If your results don’t quite go to plan, or even better than planned – UCAS Extra, UCAS Clearing and UCAS Adjustment is on hand to secure the best place for you. We also have Activate Learning careers advisers available to speak to at college.

If you need any further information or guidance, please contact us at