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UCAS applications

Who are UCAS?

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is an independent charity, delivering services across a wide range of support contexts, including advice and information surrounding admission processes. Driven by their ethos of assisting people with progressing in their educational journeys, UCAS is a crucial part of most young people’s journey’s into Higher Education in the UK. UCAS provide services including the main UCAS Undergraduate applications, UCAS Conservatoires performance-based service and UCAS Postgraduate services for applicants endeavouring postgraduate courses. An independent charity, UCAS earn money through fees paid by students applying to higher and further education courses, fees paid by universities and colleges for candidates that are accepted during admission processes and through income created by subsidiaries such as UCAS Media Ltd. UCAS is governed by higher and further educationalists that form a Board of Trustees, as well as trustees from independent sources.

 

 

What do UCAS do?

UCAS support millions of applicants annually from students, assisting thousands of students located across UK, EU and international countries, applying for full-time study in the UK and securing placement. UCAS offer services through UCAS Conservatoires, UCAS Teacher Training and UCAS Postgraduate, assisting with application and admission processes across a vast range of subject sectors and subject levels. UCAS publish data which can be accessed digitally to assist applicants with accessing statistical information, which may pertain to their specific educational endeavours, covering information in relation to applicant admissions and provision services. UCAS have published a Corporate Strategy for 2020-2025, detailing their ambitions to engage people with making aspirational decisions in relation to their learning journeys, expanding into virtual and digital provisions, storing and displaying statistical data and offering choice so that the ambitions of the many may be met.

 

 

What are UCAS Tariff Points?

UCAS Tariff Points will be familiar to those who have studied at post college-level, a numerical translation of final course grading. Many qualifications use a UCAS Tariff value, dependent on the grade that the individual has obtained and the course level of study. The number of Tariff points that applicants receive will then determine whether they are eligible for their chosen HE course, though in some cases, exceptions may be made if a student has demonstrated a strong portfolio of work (in the arts sector). UCAS Tariff points are often referred to by universities within the entry requirements, but teachers will most likely translate these to grades for ease of learner comprehension. UCAS offer a Tariff points table and calculator for better understanding of what your university requires of you during the admissions process. It is important to read the conditions of your independent course conditions to create an informed goal.

 

Terms commonly used by UCAS:

Conditional Offer versus Non-Conditional Offer

Conditional Offer – A conditional offer may be made by your intended university, meaning acceptance onto the course is subject to specific conditions, often grade and UCAS Tariff point based. This is a typical offer from universities due to the rising number of university applicants and the competitive nature of admissions. Conditions may be subject specific, making reading the conditions comprehensively imperative.

Unconditional Offer – An unconditional offer is far rarer, meaning that you are guaranteed a place on your intended course regardless of your final grades. This may be due to an exceptional interview, an example of an exceptional portfolio, or successful work experience.

Changed Course Offer – If you have not met the conditions of your application, you may receive a changed course offer, or, if the university or college you have applied to have made fundamental changes to the course on offer. These changes could be pertaining to start/ end dates, modules or the course title and content as a whole.

Choice – Choice refers to the course that an applicant has applied to enrol on, with most students applying to a range of courses and universities for increased likelihood of admission.

Clearing – Clearing is an Undergraduate UCAS service that is open to candidates that have either not made the grade conditions for their intended course, not received any offers or have declined offers. The service enables students to apply for courses that still have vacancies.

 

 

UCAS Applications:

Register:

UCAS applications start with registering in the UCAS Hub online, completing a series of registration questions concerning the academic year that you are applying for and the level of study you are applying for (Undergraduate or Postgraduate). For applicants looking to start their studies in September 2023, applicants can begin their applications but cannot submit to UCAS until September 2022.

Individual Details:

Applicants will then be asked a series of questions via a portal, all of which are mandatory and necessary for successful completion of the UCAS application process. It is useful to note that UCAS will save the information that you enter as you go, so it is not necessary to complete the application in one go. UCAS will ask for personal contact information, including your email address, home address and telephone numbers. UCAS will also ask set questions for UK students, concerning ethnic origin, occupational background and national identity, mandatory for the application process but confidential from universities until your place has been confirmed. UCAS will also ask questions pertaining to personal circumstances, specifically concerning whether applicants have been in care or cared for others, as this information is key when calculating the amount of student maintenance loan can be afforded to an individual.

Educational Background: UCAS will ask you to fill in all of the educational qualifications that you have achieved to date, including GCSE grades and predicted grades to give universities the best chance at understanding whether the course is the appropriate option for you.

Employment History: UCAS will then require you to fill in details concerning any paid jobs you have had prior to university, whether they be full-time or part-time, including adding in the companies details and the job descriptions. This can indicate to UCAS how you intend to fund yourself through your educational journey externally to loans.

Course Choices: UCAS will then ask you to enter the course and university choices you have made (the courses that you wish to study on), with a maximum of five courses allowed.

Personal Statement: The personal statement portion of the UCAS application is the only part of the application process that enables you to express yourself as an individual, so it is important to take advantage of this. The word count means that you must write a minimum of 1,000 characters up to a maximum of 4,000 characters (approximately 47 lines worth), meaning being concise with your wording is vital to expressing yourself successfully.

Submission: After reviewing your submission to ensure all of the information you have entered is yours and accurate to your plans, you can edit any information that has changed or needs addressing.

Reference: Teachers, advisors and academic professionals that have taught you are then asked to write a reference for you, a mandatory portion of the process, unless stated by your chosen university.

 

 

Applying for Medicine:

If you are applying for a course in the medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or veterinary science subject areas, you are limited to a maximum of 4 course applications in any one of these subject areas. You may still have a maximum of 5 choices in total, but those seeking to apply for these subjects must keep the 4-maximum rule in mind when applying.

Applying for Oxbridge:

Those applying for a place at either the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge are normally restricted to applying to one course at one or the other. However, those applicants who are a graduate at the beginning of the course and are applying for specifically graduate medicine at the University of Cambridge, may also apply to study medicine at Cambridge whilst also graduate in medicine at the University of Oxford.

 

 

Writing a UCAS Personal Statement:

A personal statement should be seen as a chance to express yourself and your desire to study the course that you have applied to study at university. It is important when writing your personal statement to consider the fact that you can only write one statement which is then sent to all of the universities, so avoiding reference to a particular university is crucial. It is also important to consider if you have applied for various courses, as you will need to exemplify and explain your interest in the field of study that you are applying for; in this case, it may be useful to discuss how you have a multitude of interests and passions and that this is reflected in your open-mindedness and educational ambitions. Your statement should tell the university admissions why you are the right candidate for the course and level of study, so discussing what you have learnt (briefly) during your college studies is important, as well as explaining what you would like to further develop. Carefully reading the course descriptions and using key words and skills identified within the course criteria can enable you to stand out from the crowd, showing the admissions team both your attention to detail, and also that you are invested in what the universities’ course has to offer. Discussing previous achievements, whether that be participation in the Duke of Edinburgh (DOE), National Citizen Service (NCS) or participation in your college’s student council can enable universities to see the qualities that you can bring to the new student body.

 

 

UCAS Events & Exhibitions:

UCAS hold annual events, including their well-established UCAS Exhibitions, which enable students to catch a glimpse at their higher education prospects and options. UCAS Exhibitions concern student talks and open Q&As, enabling students to gather a better understanding of their options, expert advice on how to research into personal options and chances to meet universities, colleges and employers in person, supporting open days and campus tours. It is useful to take advantage of these fairs, with universities often supplying resources such as prospectuses and further information on open days through UCAS.

 

 

 

UCAS Support London

Mayfair Consultants offer private tuition and support for clients preparing to endeavour in Higher Education, whether that be for an Undergraduate, Postgraduate or Apprenticeship course/position. If you are preparing for end of course exams, or simply need support with understanding the role of UCAS in your journey to Higher Education, our tutors can guide you through the whole process. Many of our tutors hold postgraduate degrees, making them best-placed to meet clients’ needs. If you’d like arrange private support sessions or have any questions about our UCAS support services please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606 or you can send us an email via our contact form.

 

 

UCAS Resource Links:

https://www.ucas.com/about-us/who-we-are

https://www.ucas.com/ucas-terms-explained

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/changing-your-ucas-application

https://www.universityfinder.org.uk/ucas-points-calculator

https://www.gov.uk/university-clearing-through-ucas

https://www.discoveruni.gov.uk

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/guide/ucas-application

https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/ucas-points/

https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-university/writing-personal-statement/how-write-personal-statement

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