The process for applying to University is not straightforward so we have produced this article to help your understanding. It is sensible to start thinking about University before choosing your A-Level subjects and to make the process easier, you can start researching and attending Open Days in year 11 and year 12.

The system we use for all University Applications in the UK is called UCAS.

There are five steps each UCAS applicant must complete on the site for applying to university:

1. Register all details with UCAS to set up an account – there is lots of information to complete so be prepared for this to take some time. It is important that all details are correct and up to date.

2. Choose a course – Applicants will need to decide which course they want to do and be sure about their choice. There is lots of helpful guidance and tools on UCAS and other websites to help with course choices. It is possible to apply for different courses at different universities but only one personal statement can be submitted for review.

3. Choose a university – Every UK university is listed on the UCAS website with all their courses. After a course has been selected, UCAS lists all the universities that can provide so that is a starting point to begin researching different institutions. Each applicant can choose a first choice and four options to use as back-ups.

4. Fill out the application form – Applicants must list the 5 universities and courses that they want to apply for as well as submitting a personal statement. The Universities’ admissions teams will use the personal statement to make decisions and award places so it is vitally important. There are strict restrictions on word count and schools and colleges usually provide support to help write this.

5. Submit of the form and wait for responses Once all sections of the application are complete, an applicant can send in the forms and wait for replies.

It can often take a while for Universities to review applications. Once they have discussed the application, they will contact the candidate via UCAS with a response that can be either an offer (conditional or unconditional) or a rejection.

It is important to note that applications for some medical or art and design courses or to Oxford or Cambridge, the UCAS application deadline is much earlier. This is because the selection process may take more time with additional elements such as an interview day and/or assessments.

If an applicant doesn’t receive any offers from their chosen universities it is possible to apply for a place through clearing on UCAS. Clearing is a process which happens on results day when applicants can ring UCAS to ask which universities offer their chosen course, have space and can offer a place based on their results.

Student finance will be necessary for most students to fund their degree and living costs. Applicants will need to have decided whether student finance is needed or not when they make their UCAS application. It is important to complete a student finance application with plenty of time before the course begins through the government website.