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UCAS Application: The Jargon Explained

UCAS Application: The Jargon Explained

UCAS Application: The Jargon Explained

With students researching universities and narrowing down their choices to decide which university they want to go to, the next stage is the UCAS application. Here is the jargon explained so you don’t get tongue-tied and can focus on selling yourself to your universities.

UCAS Track

UCAS Track is after you have completed your application and received offers from universities (unconditional or conditional). It will most probably be once you are taking your exams and awaiting your results. You can track your application, and on results day you can log in to check your offers and accept invitations to universities.

UCAS Extra

This is for students who have no offers and is open from February to July and gives students the chance to add extra choices to gain offers from universities. Students are able to add an extra choice(s) if they have received offers from all five choices where they didn’t get an offer or declined the offer themselves. Other students can add choices if they didn’t pick the maximum five before the end of June.


Clearing begins just before A-Level and BTEC results day and includes students who didn’t receive the grades they needed for their conditional offers from University. It is a second chance to get into university and to study a course that you want. Some students choose completely different institutions and courses or decide to wait another year. Clearing goes hand-in-hand with results day and usually lasts around a month, although dates change every year.


Adjustment is a new and exciting option for students who received better grades than expected, and have the chance to apply for a course and/or university who set a higher threshold. The adjustment has a shorter life than Clearing.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a part of your UCAS application where you write about yourself and address the universities you are choosing to go to. It is your opportunity to sell yourself, explain why you want to attend that university and why you want to study the course you have listed. It is a chance for universities to see you for who you are and get to know you.


A referee is someone who will write a reference for you on your application. It can be an employer, teacher or family member. Most of the time students use a teacher who has seen their performance, attitude and skills academically and can showcase your best attributes to the university.

Mature students

Depending on the individual institution, mature students are slightly older than the average student. Some mature students can be considered 21 years or older. Lots of universities accept mature students of any age.


Undergraduates are students who haven’t studied a degree before at a university and/or independent college. Undergraduates usually study between three to four years to finish their course and will take ‘undergraduate courses’.


A postgraduate is a student who is studying beyond degree level which includes PhD’s and Doctorate programmes or Masters. To study at these levels, you will have to have studied a degree beforehand.


An institution is a university or college where you can study Foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level degrees and qualifications.

Tariff (points)

UCAS Tariff points is a system that converts different qualifications, so it is easier for students and universities to analyse the academic level of students. When you get your results, you can convert your grades (A, B, C etc.) into points (280 tariff points) and this can help you choose which universities to apply for and where you are able to study.

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