UCAS Application FAQs

Ben Maples  · Jan 4th 2024  · 5 min

Tackling UCAS applications can be difficult to get your head around. With many moving parts, you're bound to have questions as you go through, the process.


Below, we have compiled some frequently asked questions about the UCAS application process. These questions should give you an insight into how to apply for university and how to apply for certain specific courses.

UCAS application guidelines

What does UCAS stand for?

UCAS stands for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

How do I select my choices in UCAS?

You select the choices you want through UCAS and add them to your UCAS Hub. You can select the options, place them in any order on the hub, and keep track of them from there.

Do I apply for all universities through UCAS?

Yes and no. All universities are listed on UCAS and all formally accept applications through the UCAS platform.

That being said, you can apply directly if you need to. You generally do this when changing universities mid-term, rather than part of the initial application, but you can apply directly to some.

Some universities do not allow it, however. A select few universities may potentially reject any offers that do not come through UCAS, so best to stick with UCAS, if you can.

How do I research universities?

Uni Compare is a great place to start. We have a number of hugely useful university rankings that you can use to research which course or university is best for you.

UCAS application FAQs

What are the entry requirements for my course?

The university entry requirements for a university degree course vary depending on where you apply. Generally, most courses will have their entry requirements listed when you come to apply.

How many uni choices can I make in UCAS?

You can make up to five choices on UCAS. You can make more, as long as you were rejected from all five or if you declined the offers, through UCAS extra.

Does it matter what order my choices are in?

No, it doesn’t. You can have your choices in whatever order you like - just make sure you're picking the subjects you want to study!

When does my personal statement have to be submitted to UCAS?

Personal statement deadlines tend to vary from year to year. They will also depend on the course and university you are applying for, as many have earlier application deadlines than others.

Generally, UCAS applications must be in by the end of January. With this in mind, this is generally when you will need to have your personal statement done, though sometimes it may be asked for earlier.

What are UCAS tariff points, and how do I work them out?

UCAS tariff points are points used to determine your eligibility for a course. Each grade you receive in a specific qualification is given a weighted-point average, these are then accumulated at the end of your application, and the resultant total determines whether you have reached the entry requirements.

As for working them out, there are lots of ways to do this. UCAS has a very handy UCAS tariff points calculator, which tells you exactly how many points you have.

When can I apply to Oxbridge, and can I apply for both?

Oxbridge applications are completed earlier than other universities. Oxbridge requires that all students applying for their 2024 courses must apply by Monday 16th October 2023.

You cannot apply for both. Neither university accepts being a back-up to the other, so if you were to apply for the University of Oxford, you would need to apply for the University of Cambridge in the following admissions cycle, if you don’t get in.

What is the deadline for UCAS applications?

The UCAS deadline really depends on what you are applying for and where. Oxbridge requires students to have applied by Monday 16th October 2023, but this is also the deadline for students applying for dentistry degree courses, medicine degree courses and veterinary degree courses.

All other universities and courses have the same dates. All students must apply for courses by Wednesday 31st January 2024.

University UCAS application guidelines

What is the difference between an unconditional offer and a conditional offer?

The main difference between the two is alluded to in the name. An unconditional offer is an offer that is made to a student that does not have any pre-set conditions. Effectively, any grades you get will be acceptable to the university for this course.

A conditional offer is different and the most common for students to receive. A conditional offer sets forward a set of entry requirements for a specific course. An offer is then made to the student which is dependent on them achieving the conditions of the offer.

Universities can withdraw both types of offers. Neither is necessarily set in stone until your place is confirmed at university.

How will I know if the offer is unconditional or conditional?

The offers will be made apparent by the university. They will inform you, likely via UCAS, what the terms of the offers are.

How do I decide which university I want to go to?

Only you can know the answer to that. Consider your options and what you want out of a university experience. Do you want to live in a city or do you want to live somewhere more remote?

Consider the facilities of the universities you are considering too. Look at the various TEF awards they may have or anything else you can think of.

Make the decision for you and what you want! Only you know what you want from a university.

Do other universities know where I’ve applied to?

No, other universities cannot see where else you have applied, so don’t worry! However, when you no longer have any live offers or when you have accepted your offers, universities will be able to see where you have applied then.

What if I don’t want to go to university?

You don’t have to go at all! Not everyone who finishes A Levels wants to go to university, so don’t sweat it.

Plenty of options are open to students who don’t want to go to university. There are colleges or T Levels, but you can also go straight into the world of work too.

And if you change your mind about going to university when you’re a bit older? Not a problem, as you can still apply as a mature student.

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