If you have been thinking about applying to universities and doing some research, there’s a very high chance you have come across the term UCAS. What is it and how does it affect you with uni applications? Here’s everything you need to know.

What does UCAS mean?

UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It is the known system responsible for processing applications to higher education settings throughout the UK.

Do you need UCAS to apply to university?

If you are based in the UK, most university applications are processed through UCAS. UCAS is a trusted platform that allows you to apply to multiple universities using a single application, making the application process much easier in the long run. 

How much does a UCAS application cost?

Some applicants may be surprised to know that there is a fee when applying through UCAS. 

“This one-off application fee will mean all UCAS Undergraduate applicants can add five choices to their application, and utilise these additional services should they need to, opening up choice in a competitive admissions landscape. The single application fee will no longer be available so the fee for all 2025 undergraduate applications will be £28.50.”UCAS

What does a UCAS application involve?

No one said university applications were quick and easy! 

The UCAS application consists of multiple sections, all of which are important. Sections include personal information, education history, a reference and a personal statement. Take your time and ensure your personal statement shows genuine passion and clearly reflects why you are interested in the course you are applying for.

What are UCAS points and how do they work?

UCAS points are a way for universities to easily compare applicants from varying educational skills and backgrounds. The points act as values that are assigned to different qualifications.

Universities often refer to UCAS Tariff points as a way of demonstrating their course requirements.

Who will read my UCAS personal statement?

After completing applications, your UCAS personal statement will be read by admissions tutors at the universities you have applied to.This is your opportunity to showcase your personal qualities, motivation, skills, and enthusiasm for the course subject. Don’t waste it!

Who can I use as my UCAS reference?

As UCAS only allows applicants to provide one referee in your application, it’s best practice that your UCAS reference is written by someone who knows you from your educational background. Tutors and other teaching professionals can provide great insight into your achievements and abilities. 

What is the UCAS deadline for 2025?

With 2025 fast approaching, you want to ensure you have important dates and deadlines on your calendar. For the majority of courses starting in 2025, the UCAS deadline is the 29th January 2025. Of course, there are some exceptions and specific courses may vary. Oxbridge for example, has a deadline of the 15th October 2024. The earlier deadline also applies to courses such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science.

How long does it take for UCAS to confirm your place?

After investing so much time and effort into your application, the last thing you want to be doing is waiting to hear back. Each university and college will make their decisions at different times. However, there are deadlines by which they will need to have decided. For 2024 applications these dates are:

  • 16 May 2024 – if you send your application by 31 January 2024.
  • 17 July 2024 – if you send your application by 17 July 2024.

If a uni you’ve applied to doesn’t make a decision by the appropriate deadline, that choice will be automatically made unsuccessful.

If you are fortunate enough to receive conditional offers (congratulations!) and meet the entry requirements, your place is likely to be confirmed shortly after results day. Remember, if you go through the UCAS Clearing process, this may take a little longer.

How does UCAS clearing work?

If you haven’t gained the result you hoped for from your university applications, UCAS Clearing can be beneficial in helping you explore other options.

UCAS Clearing is a process that matches applicants without any offers to available university places. Typically, UCAS Clearing opens in July and is a helpful option should you have not received any offers or have declined all offers, but are still interested in attending university.


As you apply for university and embark on this new academic journey, remember to take the time to research your options, seek advice from your teachers and mentors, and be genuine in your application. 

If you’d like some advice or would like to know more about the courses NEC offers to help prepare you for university later down the line, get in touch today. We are always happy to help. 


If you want to contact UCAS directly you can do so on 0371 468 0 468.


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