Study: UCAS applications explained

From choosing the right universities or colleges to apply for, to acing your personal statement, the UCAS application process can feel overwhelming. We’ve got you covered with what you need to know.


The first step in the UCAS application process is thinking about what courses you would like to apply for and at what level. For example: Through UCAS you can apply to university all the way to an apprenticeship.

Your parents, a trusted teacher and your school’s careers adviser can help you with finding the right fit for you.

Your full application, including your personal statement, is due by 15 October 2020 if you are applying for medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry courses, or 15 January 2021 for the majority of other courses. Always check the deadline for your chosen university.

A big part of your application is filling in details about yourself, any previous qualifications and you course choices, but it will also give you the opportunity to talk about your hobbies, interests and skills through your personal statement.

After you apply

Once you have pressed submit on your application first thing first – breathe a sigh of relief, you did it!

The hard work is over but it’s important to keep an eye on the UCAS Track system once your application is sent. This allows students to check the progress of their application and where any offers or rejections will appear.

You could get an unconditional offer which gives you a guaranteed place, or a conditional offer which relies on you achieving particular grades in your exams. Ensure you continually check this to ensure you don’t miss anything and don’t worry if you get any rejections, there are always other paths to your dream career.

Before you know it, your personal statement will be written, your application submitted and you can finally relax.

Personal statement

Starting your personal statement can be the most daunting part of applying for higher education, you have to sell yourself to your provider of choice in just 4,000 characters or 47 lines, whichever comes first.

Although it seems scary, the personal statement is an essential part of your application and is a valuable tool.

Your personal statement is effectively an essay about you, your interests and why you want to study your chosen course. It is an opportunity to showcase all the skills you have learnt at school along with what makes you the ideal candidate.

No one really likes writing about their achievements, but admissions staff want to find out what makes you different from other candidates and why they should pick you. Make sure your personal statement is tailored to the courses you are applying for and includes any relevant work experience, hobbies or volunteering experience that you have done towards this.

Thinking about your personal statement as early as possible will give you the chance to write multiple drafts, have other people check over it and, most importantly, proof read it until words don’t look real anymore.

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