Student Advice

The ultimate guide to applying for university

Ben Maples  · Mar 27th 2024  · 4 min

Applying to university can feel a bit of a daunting task, but try not to panic! Break it down into manageable chunks and you’ll have plenty of time to sort things out and pick the course of your dreams!


If you’re struggling to know how or when to apply for university, read on! We’ve got all the important dates you need and 11 steps for applying to university.

University timeline

Your key dates for 2025 admission:

Step 1: Register with UCAS

First up, registration! Registering with UCAS gives you access to your UCAS hub, where you can track your application and upload anything you need, like your personal statement. You can also apply to universities here and keep track of application process.

It is possible to apply to university without UCAS, but most UK universities accept applications through UCAS, so best not to overcomplicate the process! Some unis have been known to automatically reject any applications that didn’t come through UCAS.

Step 2: What course do you want to study?

This is the biggest and most important question to ask yourself in this whole process. What course do you want to study at university?

Take your time on this. Think about what you enjoy and what you might be interested in doing when you enter the world of work. If you're struggling for what to do at university, then check out our university degree quiz and see what is the best course for you!

Step 3: Start looking at universities

Once you’ve decided on your major, you should consider where you’ll study. This is another huge decision, and you need to take a few things into account.

What do you, personally, consider to be a non-negotiable? Do you want to be closer to home? Do you want the university with the best facilities? Think about all of these things when making your choice.

If you still find you're struggling, then check out our university rankings and decide what is best for you!

UK university timeline

Step 4: Go to some open days

University open days and UCAS discovery days are a great step to take, to make sure that your university choice is the right one for you before submitting your university applications.

Open days give you the chance to explore what a university is actually like. You can see its facilities first-hand, ask questions to the faculty, and even see what current students think about the place.

Even better, you can check out the local area too. You can see where the local student accommodation is as well as the local pubs, restaurants and student services.


I think we should add a step: weighing up your options. You've attended open days, you have an idea of the courses and unis you like, but how do all the pieces fit together? What we recommend is talking to someone - whether friends, family and your teachers or careers advisors. They're a grat source to help you work through any worries or concerns.

Step 5: Start writing your personal statement

Don’t worry about writing your personal statement too much. It can seem daunting at first, but honestly, you'd be surprised at how quickly it’s out of the way!

Your personal statement is exactly what it sounds like - a statement about you! Talk about your hobbies and interests and why you want to study the subject you're applying for. When you've done this, speak to friends, guardians or teachers and get them to review it for you.

When you’re satisfied with your statement, then upload it to UCAS and breathe a sigh of relief - the hard part’s over! If you’re still struggling, then check out our personal statement examples for more inspiration.

Step 6: Submit your UCAS application

Once you've submitted your personal statement, your UCAS application should be ready to go! Double and triple check all your information is correct and then hit submit.

From there, there’s nothing left to do! All you have now is to sit your exams and hang tight for A-Level results day or BTEC results day to focus on… easy, right?

Step 7: Get your results

Receiving your results will be stressful for a number of reasons, but just take things slowly. If you get the results you need, then fantastic, head down to step 8!

If you didn’t? You’re not alone., this is what Clearing is for! Here you can find a new university to apply to, or you can always re-take your exams and re-apply next year.

You did it! The hard work is done...or is it? Now you have your path set, it's time to pack up your bags and get ready for 3-4 challenge yet incredibly rewarding years.

undergraduate Uni's

Get your questions answered by sending them an enquiry now.