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Undergraduate Applicants

Here’s how to apply to university and what you can expect from the universities that you’ve chosen as your first choice and insurance.  

How do you decide where to apply?

Start exploring your options for university. Look online, go to UCAS fairs, speak to friends and family, attend Open Days and do some research at school/college. Draw up a long list and then narrow it down to a shortlist of the five courses you want to apply for. They may be at different universities or all at the same – it’s totally up to you.


How do you apply if you live in the UK? 

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications for all undergraduate courses. Applications are made using the secure, web-based system at:

You may apply for up to five courses and you should list your choices in alphabetical order, not in order of preference. Typically you can start to apply from September and your application should have been received by UCAS by mid-January.


How do universities decide whether to make you an offer?

Selection processes vary for different courses. You may be asked to provide further information or to go for an interview for your course.


What types of offer might you receive?

Universities might decide to make you an unconditional offer (if you already have your grades) or a conditional offer based on you achieving certain levels in your qualifications. Universities may also reject your application outright, or make you an offer for an alternative course.

How many offers should you accept?

You need to decide which is your ‘first choice’ offer. You can also choose one back-up or ‘insurance’ offer.

What happens when you get the results from your exams?

If you meet your offer… you are in! If you have a near miss, you may still be considered by your first choice university. Or you may need to take up your insurance choice.

If you miss the offer of your insurance choice too, you could go into clearing as a way of finding a place at another university. Alternatively you could take a gap year, re-sit your exams and reconsider your options.

Good luck!


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