Applying to University (UCAS)

It is very easy to apply to university.  Every student in the country uses the UCAS website to apply to the universities of their choice.  Here are the things you need to know:

General facts

  • You only make one application to UCAS per academic year.   This means you only write one personal statement which is for all of your courses.
  • It currently costs £24 to make an application to 5 universities.  5 is the limit. 
  • You can make a new application the following year if you decide to change your courses or don’t get in to the universities of your choice.
  • Your application will be sent to the 5 universities of your choice.  UCAS send your application to each of them separately.
  • You can apply any time between September and January 15th.
  • Oxbridge and medicine applications have a different deadline of the 15th October.
  • You don’t have decide on all 5 courses together.  You can send your application with fewer than 5 choices and then add in the remainder later.
  • You do not apply for university finance through UCAS.  This is done later, through Student Finance England.
  • You can’t make any changes to your application once it has been sent. 
  • You can cancel your application or withdraw from UCAS at any time if you choose.  It will not affect your chances of making a successful application in the future. 

Applying to University

  • Usually, you use a school ‘buzzword’ which connects you to the rest of the school and means that your UCAS advisers/teachers can track your application and see how you’re getting on.  Your academy will give you this in July/August/September.
  • Your reference and predicted grades will be supplied by your school.  You should check your predicted grades with your teachers/Head of UCAS to make sure that they are in line with your chosen universities’ minimum grade expectations.
  • Your school will want you to start the process as early as possible.  The summer before you apply is a good time to do your research and write your personal statement.
  • Harris students all have access to Unifrog, a university and apprenticeship application support service.  This will help you to do your research and write your personal statement.
  • Your academy will take you to a university during springtime of Year 12. You will also do at least two dedicated UCAS days, to make sure that you understand the whole process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what to write in my personal statement?

Harris give lots of advice and guidance on this.  We have UCAS days at every academy in the summer, after exams.  In addition, the Harris Experience Advanced (HEA) works with every HEA student on their personal statements. This includes students applying for Oxbridge and medicine/veterinary science/dentistry.  For more details of this programme, follow this link:  https://www.harrissixthform.org.uk/220/harris-experience-advanced

How do I know what university to go to?

Harris give lots of advice and guidance on this.  We organise visits to a university in the springtime to give you more general knowledge.   We run UCAS days at every academy in the summer, after exams.  Unifrog, a university and apprenticeship  application online support service to which every Harris academy has access, has lots of advice and guidance to offer in this area and links you up with every university website in the country.  We also have teacher and career advisers at every academy if you need further guidance. 

What if I change my mind about my courses or universities?

If you change your mind, you can decline any offers you have and withdraw from any courses who you are still waiting to hear from.  Then you will be given the chance to go through UCAS Extra.   UCAS Extra allows you to apply to one course at a time directly, up until results day in August.

What if I don’t get any offers?

Just like above, if you don’t get any offers, you will be given the chance to go through UCAS Extra.   UCAS Extra allows you to apply to one course at a time directly, up until results day in August.

What if I accept offers but I don’t get the grades in August?

 Some universities are lenient on their grades and give you a place, in spite of missing a required grade.  Don’t rely on this happening however! If you get turned down by both your ‘firm’ and ‘insurance’ universities, you will be put into UCAS Clearing, where you will be given a chance to see what other courses are still available. If you like the look of any of these courses, you can apply for them after results day.  Surprising as it may seem, there are many excellent courses available on UCAS Clearing. 

What is I don’t know whether I want to go to university?

That’s very normal. Our advice is that you should seek out lots of advice and discuss the matter before making a decision. If you are still unsure, it might be useful to visit universities and talk to people there.  Finally, there’s always the option of taking a gap year and returning to your academy to make an application the following year, once you have your grades and know what you are interested in studying. 

What if university is too expensive for me?

There is lots to say on this subject.

Find Out More

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