Once you have decided on uni, you will need to decide which university and what specific degree subject you wish to study. For most subject areas there are a number of different degree courses and pathways – investigate them - there will be one to suit your particular interest.

There are over 50,000 degree courses available at just under 400 institutions across the UK, offering a huge choice of subjects and learning and assessment methods. So take time to look around!

University Degrees – How to Apply

It may seem daunting, but the process of applying to university is quite straightforward once you have made the decision to go.

The application process is made easy by UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. You can search for universities and courses on its website - - and it also provides plenty of advice to help you make your decisions.

Even if applying to university is a few years away, it is never too early to start thinking about it or to visit. Universities often offer taster days and visits tailored for school and sixth form college students - check their websites for information.

  • Look at the courses on offer, the grades required and the location of the various universities offering the subject you are Interested in. Check them out on student satisfaction league tables.
  • Visit the uni on open days and talk to anyone you can find who studied there.
  • Investigate the bursaries and scholarships available and don’t assume that you are not eligible without doing your research.
  • Consider whether you would prefer a City or Campus University, they offer a different experience.

You will need to be thinking about applying in your first year of college and all colleges help with university applications but expect students to be pro-active in choosing courses and universities, making their UCAS application and writing their personal statements.

In terms of timing, ideally you would be taking the following steps:

Years 9-11 – studying toward level 2 qualifications either GCSEs or BTECs. It is important at this time to be keeping your options open and thinking ahead. If you are considering going to university then you should have this in mind when you are choosing your GCSEs.

Spring term Year 12 – Checking to see the courses and universities that interest you. Look at the prospectuses but if you still are not sure, a useful site to explore is

Summer term Year 12 - visit university open days and look at university summer schools where you get a chance to stay on campus, learn something new and meet other students. Ask at school about Make Happen events and travel bursaries.

Autumn Term Year 13 – You will now need to decide your top 5 courses to apply and write your personal statement. This piece of writing goes to all the universities you apply to, some colleges give excellent guidance on this and more help can be found on the UCAS website.

Once you have chosen the universities and courses you would like to apply to simply complete the UCAS application form. Most schools and colleges will help with the application and send the forms for you – Make a note of the college internal deadline for applications to be completed by. The final UCAS deadline is January 15th.

Once you have logged into UCAS you can track your applications progress to and beyond the offer process.

Students will apply for student finance and make arrangements for halls of residence (accommodation for the first year) in early summer.

Remember If you are unsure whether to apply or not, it is worth making an application so that you have that option – if you do it while you have the support of careers and college staff it will help you. You can always defer any offer you receive and perhaps take a gap year.




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