What is UCAS?
First of all, lets unpick what UCAS stands for. Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is the full name of the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK.
'UCAS provide information, advice and admissions services to inspire and facilitate education progression' - UCAS
If you decide that you want to go to university, UCAS will support and guide you every step of the way. You will firstly register online, fill out your application form, track the process of your application from each individual university, recieve interview invites and offers and recieve support should you need it to find an alternative way to get a place at a university.
You will apply for your chosen university by submitting information including your education and employement history, any special needs or disabilities, and a personal statement.
REMINDER! Your personal statement is a very important part of your application process, you can find out more information on our ‘Personal Statement’ page.
Replying to Your Offers
When all 5 choices have responded on UCAS, you can now reply to your offers. You should think very carefully about this as you have plenty of time to reply. Your deadline is available in UCAS track. Speak to relevant staff in school before replying.
When ready, log into UCAS track and for each choice that has made you an offer you will have the options: ‘firm’, ‘insurance’ and ‘decline’. You can only make one choice your ‘firm’ and one your ‘insurance’. Your ‘firm’ choice is where you intend to go, the university you like the most. Your ‘insurance’ choice is a back-up plan. If you don’t get the grades for your ‘firm’ choice, then you will go to your ‘insurance’. It is therefore crucial that the entry requirements for your ‘insurance’ choice are lower than that of your ‘firm’ choice.
Warning! Unconditional Offers: These should be approached with caution. If a university is offering you a place without stipulating that you have to achieve certain grades, then think, is this really where I want to study? In the past unconditional offers were introduced to reward the very highest achieving students, but in recent years they have been used as a sales tactic by universities. If you wanted to go to that university in the first place and can see yourself being happy there, then you should go for it, but if you are only applying to them because of the unconditional offer, take a step back and reconsider this.