In most cases, applications to university are handled by UCAS. This means students will submit their applications, mostly via their school or college (as a UCAS registered centre), to UCAS who will then pass their application on to the relevant universities. The main application cycle typically runs from September to mid-January each year.
The application process includes the following steps:
Making the application:
Students complete their application form with their personal details, additional information / student finance permissions, course choices, education history and qualifications, employment history and a personal statement. A reference will need to be provided by a teacher. Always be sure to check that your students have made their applications using your centre’s buzzword and not as an individual. Once received, UCAS will then send application forms to the chosen universities - this can take up to 48 hours.
After receiving an application, we will make a decision to make an unconditional offer, a conditional offer or decide that the application is unsuccessful. Where necessary, we may also offer a place on a different course, request that the student attends an interview / selection activity and/or ask to see a portfolio. Some universities may also ask students to take an admissions test.
Students can follow the progress of their application using UCAS Track - with 24/7 access, this shows their choices, offers and personal information. Here, students can reply to offers and use the system for Extra, Clearing and Adjustment.
Replying to offers:
Once your students have received decisions from all of their choices, they must narrow their choice to two. Their FIRM will be their first choice and their INSURANCE will be their back-up (and should be a lower grade offer than their firm choice) - they will then decline all other offers. If students do not receive any offers, they may be able to use Extra or Clearing.
If your students have used all five choices and have no offers, or have declined all offers, they could add Extra choices for consideration one at a time. Students should consider related or alternative courses, so research here is very important.
If your students meet or exceed their Firm offer, this is the one they will accept. If they just miss their Firm offer, they may still be able to take up the Firm offer (depending on the final university decision) or will be referred to their Insurance offer. For students who meet or exceed their Insurance offer, this is the one they will accept. For those that just miss their Insurance offer, they may still be able to take up the Insurance offer (depending on the final university decision) or enter Clearing. If your students do not receive the results they had hoped for, they should try not to panic - there will still be lots of options available, so do take a look at our Clearing vacancies when they go live on our website.
This typically runs from early July to October and can be used by students if they have no offers, have not met the conditions of an offer or have made a UCAS application after the June deadline. Students can contact universities directly by phone and, if made an offer, can add the course as a Clearing choice on UCAS Track. We will have various options available, so do take a look at our Clearing vacancies when they go live on our website.
This is available to students who have met or exceeded the conditions of their Firm choice, allowing them to look for another course / university at a higher entry tariff and ‘adjust up.’ The original Firm choice will be safe whilst your student is looking, until they are accepted elsewhere. Adjustment is available for five 24-hour periods, starting from when the students offer changes to Unconditional Firm, or on A-level publication day, whichever is the later.
Making the best use of websites is key - start by taking a look at our website for more information about how to apply. UCAS also have a wealth of information available for teachers and advisers and overviews of apply and track, how to write a reference, types of offer, confirmation and clearing, and how to prepare for interviews.