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Higher education at 18/19 or later

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Apply for a course



Follow these general steps when applying for a course:

  • Find out what the application process involves by checking on the institution's website - it will be different depending on whether you are applying for full-time, part-time, etc.
  • Find out the deadlines for each course you want to apply to, and give yourself plenty of time to complete your application
  • Check what the entry requirements are - do they accept your qualifications and will you meet the grades they want?
  • Get ready to market yourself, your skills and experiences!
  • Think which people might be your referees.




Schools and Colleges of Further Education support their students with their UCAS application, so make sure that you attend all the relevant lessons that will tell you what you need to do. Some of you may be planning to apply once you have left school or college, perhaps during a gap year, so it is worth checking with your school or college to find out what support they can give you once you have left.

UCAS is the organisation responsible for managing applications to most full-time higher education courses in the UK e.g. degrees and Foundation Degrees. The UCAS website has useful information on the application process.

For anyone applying to university for a full time course, you should follow these general steps when applying.

  • Check information about the course on the UCAS site.
  • Check what the entry requirements are - do they accept your qualifications and will you meet the grades they want? If you are not sure you will, contact the university’s admissions department by phone or email to check. Just because it isn’t on their list, doesn’t always mean that your application will not be considered.
  • You may select up to five courses. For most courses, you should try to apply between September 1st and January 15th. It is important to note, however, that applications for Oxford or Cambridge (Oxbridge), medicine, veterinary science, and dentistry must be completed before October 15th. Courses are competitive so an early application puts you in a stronger position.
  • Part of the application process requires you to write a personal statement telling the universities why you want to study that degree. You will need to think about your skills and experiences as well as your academic qualifications. There is lots of help on the internet to get you started with your personal statement - student room , which uni UCAS. You can also see sample personal statements on the Getting in site. Tempting as it might be, do not copy – it’s your personal statement and UCAS has a very sophisticated system to catch out those who have copied. The information in your 'Level Up!' Profile can also help you complete your personal statement.
  • If you are still at school or at a college of FE, they will need to write a reference for you.
  • If you are not ready to apply by the recommended deadlines, a later application may be possible as long as courses are not full.

The UCAS website provides:

  • A wide range of information and support that will help your research and decision making before, during and after your application.
  • A tool that enables you to ‘Track’ the progress of your applications on-line, as well as managing decisions and your offers.

UCAS offers on-screen help and advice as you work your way through ‘Apply’. You can also watch the UCAS video guide to using Apply.

If you need help or advice on your application, you should contact your careers adviser or call the UCAS Customer Service Unit on 0871 468 0468.

To explore more about teaching and to apply for teacher training follow this link.


There are lots of opportunities for part-time study in colleges and universities, check out their websites to find out what is on offer.

Applying for part-time study is simpler and quicker than for a full-time course. Applications for part-time courses are made directly to the university or college where you wish to study. Apply direct to The Open University if you are considering studying with them.  

How to apply

Find out all you can about the course and the entry requirements by checking information on an institution's website.

Check with your college or university about the application form you need to complete for your chosen course and then apply online or get a form from Academic Registry or the Admissions Office.

Check when your chosen course starts as part-time courses commence at various dates and times throughout the academic year. The date for submitting applications should be in the details about the course on the university/college website, or in the course prospectus.

Getting skills for uni. - free, online courses



MOOCs are a recent development which aim to use new technologies to bring free learning opportunities to large numbers of people, world-wide. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses.

FutureLearn is offering a course called: Preparing for uni,

Future Learn also offer lots of other free, online courses designed by universities. The courses can offer you a great way to start preparing for uni or for getting knowledge and experience related to your chosen subject. They will also look good on your personal statment, as evidence of your interest and commitment.