How To Apply To A UK University?

If you want to apply to any university in the UK as an undergraduate, you need to do so via a centralised application system called UCAS (short for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

There are two main deadlines to remember when it comes to the UK university application process. The deadline for all undergraduate courses at Oxford and Cambridge is 15th October

If you are applying for a Medicine, Veterinary, or Dentistry degree you should also do so by 15th October to be considered for courses commencing in September of the following year. 

For all other courses and universities, the deadline is 15th January.

Your first step is to go to and create an account there. It is free.

Once you have your account, you need to start filling out the digital application. There are several sections, which we’ll go through in this #UniShort. 

How to Apply to a UK University? Fill in Your Personal Details 

You’ll need to fill in your Name, Date of Birth (DoB), your place of birth, your country of residency, and an up-to-date email personal email address, amongst other things. 

If you are a UK-based applicant, UCAS will ask you for some extra information such as your ethnic and religious background. Don’t worry about sharing this information with them. 

Your answers to this section will NOT affect your chances of admission as this information is not shared with the universities.

Add Your University and Programme Choices

Each university has a unique code on UCAS. This code is normally three digits: a letter followed by two digits. For Oxford this code is O33. For UCL it’s U80. On top of that, each degree you are applying to will have a unique UCAS code as well. 

This degree code is normally four digits: a mix of numbers and letters. You need to carefully check that you’re picking the correct code: a mistake in giving UCAS the right code will mean your application might go to the wrong department. 

If you’re not sure which code is the right one, head onto the admissions website for the university in question. You can check the code for your preferred course here: if you can’t find it, ring the admissions coordinator. 

You can only apply to five universities so use the limit wisely. It is a good idea to apply to a number of universities with varied application requirements: try applying for one or two highly competitive schools, but remember to have a couple of safer options as well. 

Provide Your Education & Employment Details

Here, you’ll fill out the details of the school you’re at, as well as the name of your headteacher, your GCSE grades and predicted A-level or IB results. 

You’ll also talk about your employment experience, including both paid and unpaid jobs. You can mention internships, or if you’ve done work shadowing an MP or relevant professional. 

Admissions officers love to see applicants who meet the academic requirements whilst also being able to give back to the wider community. If you have experience with volunteering, talk about this here. These types of activities show universities your commitment, independence, initiative, and ability to manage your time well.

Personal Statement

This is your opportunity to demonstrate your passion for the subject and why the admissions tutor should select you ahead of the other candidates. 

For more in-depth information on how to write an effective Personal Statement, check out the Studying in the UK section of our website.

How to Apply to a UK University? Provide Details of Your Referee

Normally this is a teacher in your school. Be sure that they submit it well before the UCAS application deadline!

Final Checks

Double-check all the information you’ve provided. You would be surprised at how many silly mistakes applicants make when filling out the UCAS form. You don’t want to get caught out, so go back and check everything at least three times.

Pay the Fee of £25. Press SUBMIT.

That’s it! You are now officially an applicant. What follows is a long process of waiting to hear back from universities.

Start filling in your UCAS over the summer and this will save you a lot of stress later!

Comments are closed.