How to fill-in the UCAS University Application Form

By: Get Ready for University

So to fill in the UCAS form, you need to go to the UCAS website and click on the Apply section. It's pretty straightforward once you get into the form, there's just different sections that you need to fill in. So when you log in you need to register first of all. So give some of your personal details. This will generate a username for you and a personal ID and you need to choose a password. So you just use your username and password every time you log in. And when you log in you can do as much or as little of the form as you want to. You don't have to do it all in one go and you don't have to do it in a particular order.

So there's different sections that you need to complete and if you look down the left hand side of the screen you'll see all the different sections that you need to do. And there's a key at the bottom that shows how much of each section you've done. So three green dots means it's in progress and you can put a red tick in it to show that you've completed that section. So first of all you've got your personal information and your personal details. So this will ask things like your residential status and whether you're looking for funding. Two important things that you need to think about in this section is first of all nominated access. That asks if you want to nominate someone that UCAS can discuss your application form with. So it's up to you whether you want to do that but it could come in handy if you're not available at some point to discuss something. So that's your choice. The second thing is it asks for your email address, so this is the email that UCAS will correspond with you and also all the universities, so you need to make sure it's one you check on a regular basis. And as well think about the actual address of the email.

Because if universities are going to see it, there are a few email addresses I've seen used on UCAS forms that I wouldn't want to say out loud. So just think about what the email address you're using actually is. Another section is for additional information. So that will ask you about your ethnic origin, your nationality and one thing to flag up here is it asks if you've done any activities in preparation for higher education. So that can be useful if you've done summer schools or taster sessions, you can include it there and it gives you a bit more space later on to talk about something else in your personal statement. Depending on how you've answered your questions they'll ask you about student finance. So basically it asks if you want to opt-in or opt-out to share your information with the Student Finance people, and that will be tailored to your specific region.

So if you opt in it saves you time as what it could do is flood some of the information from your UCAS form into the Student Finance form when you come to eventually filling that in. You've then got your choices section. So with the choices you get a maximum of five options at any five institutions. So a couple of things you need to remember. If you're applying for medicine, dentistry or veterinary science you can only put four of those courses down, so the fifth course has to be something different. So it's usually something related, so for example if you put medicine down your fifth one might be Medical sciences or Biomedical Sciences. If you're applying for Oxford or Cambridge, you can only apply for one of those, not both of them so you need to decide beforehand which one you're going to put down. Otherwise it can be any five choices at any five institutions. The only thing you need to remember is the same form goes to all of your choices so obviously you can't put down one application for Psychology, one for History, one for Ocean Sciences, one for Medicine - that's just not going to work.

How to fill-in the UCAS University Application Form

But it can be related subjects. When you put down your choices, you need to put down the course code, the university code and there may be a campus code to include as well. But there will be drop down menus, so you just need to select from the drop down menu. And then UCAS will just automatically shuffle them according to the code of the institution order. So it's not like you put them in order of preference at this point. You've then got a section for your personal statement. So this is probably the most difficult part of the form. All the other bits are just filling in the different sections, but for the personal statement this is the chance you get to personalise your application form.

You get 47 lines or 4,000 characters to explain why you want to study that particular course or that particular subject at university. And again, the same personal statement goes to each of your applications, each course that you put down. So you need to make sure that you don't tailor it to any specific university or any specific course. And it needs to be relevant to all of the choices that you've put down on your UCAS form. So write down why you want to do the course, what your A Level subjects are and why you're studying them, or what other qualifications you might be doing. Talk about maybe any work experience or extracurricular activities, hobbies, activities, all that sort of thing and make it relevant to the subject of your interest.

Because this is the only chance that you get to communicate directly with the university admissions tutors and like I said it's there to explain why you think you should apply for that course and why you would be a good student for that particular course. You've also got a section on employment and here you get to put up to five employers, 5 jobs that you've had. It can be part time or seasonal work or can be full time work.

And sometimes people think that maybe working in a shop or being a waiter or waitress isn't that important but it's better than leaving a blank space and it actually tells admissions tutors a little bit more about you, maybe the kind of responsibilities that you've had or other things that you do outside of school or college or what you're doing at the minute, so it's always worth thinking about something to put down in the employment section. You've also got your education section to fill in. This can take a bit of time because you've got to put in all of the schools or colleges you've attended or are attending. You've got to put down all your qualifications and the ones you're waiting to take and you've got to declare any resits. But please just make sure all of this is correct, because if they find any mistakes here it will just be flagged up by UCAS and they'll have to double check everything. So once you've completed the section you can put a tick next to each one. So if you're applying from a school or college, you will need to then send off your application form to somebody at the school and they'll sort out the reference.

If you're applying as an individual, then you'll need to sort out the reference and put in the details there as well. So when it gets sent to your school or college, somebody there will write the reference for you, so once you've done your personal statement section and completed all the sections, just double check it all and make sure all the details are correct. Double check your spelling and grammar, your course codes and qualifications and just all your personal details and then you'll send it off to whoever at the school will deal with the reference side of things. When it comes to paying for the application form if it's through a school or college, they will decide how you're going to pay so it may mean putting in card details online or you may be paying the school or college directly. If you're doing it as an individual then you'll need the card details to pay for it there and then. Then you'll agree to the terms and conditions, sign the declaration and then you'll send off the UCAS form. Like I said if it's to the school, they'll sort out the reference and send it off to UCAS. If you're an individual it just goes straight to UCAS.

So they will then check all the details, they'll send you a welcome email, just with everything in there. So just double check it at that point as well to make sure all the details are correct. If you find anything that's wrong, get in touch with UCAS and flag it up. Then UCAS will send it to all your five choices and the universities will eventually get back in touch with you. If you're applying through a school or college as well you won't be able to do any of this until you get the Buzzword from the school or college.

So as soon as you get that and as soon as Apply is open, I recommend that you fill it in as soon as possible. What the Buzzword does is it links all the application forms from the same school or college together. If you're an individual you don't need that. And you've got certain deadline dates that you need to keep in mind. So if you're applying for Oxford, Cambridge, Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science it's the 15th of October. The rest of you it will be the 15th of January. But there are some art and design courses that are marked as the 24th of March, so you've got a little bit longer to put together a portfolio of work for those particular courses. Now although you might think you've got lots and lots of time to do all this, I do recommend that you get it in sooner later than later. You may have an internal deadline date at your school or college if you're applying through them, so that's something that you need to think about. But also just in practical terms it makes a lot more sense to get your form in early.

Admissions tutors usually have more time to look over them because a lot of people will be handing their forms in the last two weeks of January before that deadline date. Which means that they've got a lot of forms to read through and a lot less time to consider whether or not they are going to make you an offer and whether or not you are somebody who's going to get a place on the course. Also the turnaround time from universities tends to be quicker if you hand it in sooner. Also when it comes to being invited to the university for post application open days you get invited to the earlier ones which always tend to be a bit quieter. So there's just lots of good reasons why you should think about getting this done sooner rather than later. But just a few tips that I would leave you with though. Research your institutions and your course options before you start filling in the UCAS form. If you're somebody that's going to find it difficult to narrow it down to the five choices, go to Open Days before you start filling in your application.

Give your teachers at the school or college plenty of good things to talk about in the reference. So if you haven't done much in year 12, you haven't got much time to turn it around before they're writing references about you. So give them lots of good things to talk about in their reference.

And if you've got any questions or anything you want to find out, contact the university and ask them directly. And finally, with the personal statement if you're thinking that you haven't got enough to talk about do as much as you can over the summer before you start filling in the application form. If you haven't got a life - get a life! Basically, tick all the boxes, get everything done and then it's going to be much simpler to fill in your application form once that's open for you to do that. So good luck with your applications through UCAS.

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