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Applying through UCAS

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If you're thinking of going to university, or other higher education institution in the UK, apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Apply online, through the UCAS website Apply

The site has plenty of information and guidance on how to use the system, including a number of video guides that can be found on the UCAS website.

Apply 2022 and UCAS Course Search 2022 is live from May 2021.

Here are some important dates to watch out for, along with a brief outline of the application process.

For entry in 2022

Here is a handy list of main key dates for entry in 2022.

18 May 2021
UCAS Apply for undergraduate courses opens, so you can begin to make choices and start filling in your application.

7 September 2021
You can start submitting your applications.

15 October 2021
If you're applying for Oxford or Cambridge universities and most courses in medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine apply to UCAS by 6.00pm on 15 October 2021. 

26 January 2022
For the majority of courses apply to UCAS by 6.00pm on 26 January 2022. Always check course details for the correct closing date.

Applications received after 26 January 2022 may not be considered and some popular courses may not have vacancies after that date. Check with individual universities and colleges. Try to apply as early as possible.

25 February 2022
Extra 2022 opens - If all your decisions are in and you didn't get any offers, or you want to decline those you have, you can apply to more choices for free with Extra.

30 June 2022
Deadline for late applications before Clearing system begins. Applications received after this date are entered into Clearing.

4 July 2022
The Clearing system opens and you can search for and choose courses. Contact institutions to discuss your application before you add your choices to Track.

10 August 2022
Adjustment opens for eligible applicants.

21 September 2022 (TBC)
If you haven’t already made an application to UCAS, this is the last date that you can submit one to go into Clearing.

20 October 2022 (TBC)
Clearing vacancy search system closes; you can still use Track to add Clearing choices but contact institutions to discuss course vacancies. It's also your last chance to add 2022 entry Clearing choices.

Using Apply

You can use Apply anywhere with internet access and you do not have to complete the form in one sitting. The following sections require to be completed.

Register to use the system – add some personal details, get a username, create a password and establish your security questions. Your school, college or centre will give you a buzzword before you register; this links your application to the school or college and allows staff to add your reference to it.

Personal details
This includes your name and address, recorded through the registration process. You complete the funding and sponsorship options, your residential status, indicate if you have any special needs or disabilities and any criminal convictions and then nominate someone to act for you if you will be away during the application period.

Additional information
Provide details about your ethnic origin, national identity any summer school/taster courses you attended, parental education and occupational background. Three new equality questions are now included which are used for statistical reports but it is not compulsory to provide this information.

Complete this section if you plan to apply for student finance and you would like a reminder about when to apply. If you agree, UCAS share this information with the student finance companies.

Insert up to five course choices or four of any one of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or veterinary science courses – plus one other subject. Note that you can only apply for one course at either the University of Cambridge or the University of Oxford.

Provide details of schools you have attended since you were 11, where you are now studying and what qualifications you have – do not send certificates. You will also need to know your Scottish Candidate Number.

Provide information on any full time or part time jobs you have had.

Personal statement
This is your chance to explain why you should get a place on the course – the UCAS website provides a lot of guidance on the content of this UCAS Personal Statement Help and there are examples in our 'UCAS applications - completing the personal statement' article.

View all details
You can access the complete form at any point during the application stage and make any amendments. If you're satisfied with it, mark it as complete.

Provide confirmation that you've completed the form accurately and honestly and agree for UCAS to share the information with HE institutions and your school.

The application fee for 2022 entry is £22 for a single course or £26.50 for more than one choice (and for applications sent after 30 June 2022). You will pay by credit/debit card or pay your school/college, they will inform you when to pay.

One of your teachers will add this to back up your application.

What happens next?

Your school or college sends off your application.

When UCAS receives your application, it sends you a welcome email that lists your choices. Use your personal ID (confirmed in the welcome email) and password (which you created when you registered) to view your application on Track, the system that allows you to track its progress. 

UCAS gives each institution you have applied to access to your application form – they do not know where else you have applied.

Each institution then decides whether to offer you a place. They may ask you to gain certain exam results – a conditional offer.

Provided your application is in by 15 January in the year you wish to enter, the institutions you applied to will reply from March onwards and by early May at the latest.

When you have heard from all your institutions, choose two offers to hold until you get your exam results. Choose one as your first choice - firm acceptance, and a second as a back-up choice – insurance acceptance. If you accept an unconditional offer, you cannot hold any other offers.

Use Track to reply to offers. Make sure you meet the deadlines shown on the UCAS website.

Gap year

If you intend to take a gap year and start your course in 2023, check that the university or college will accept a 'deferred entry' application. Tick the Defer box in the Courses section of the application form. Remember you must still meet the entry requirements by the start of September 2022, as if you were starting your studies in 2022.

UCAS Extra

If you have no offers, you can apply for other courses through this service, which operates from 25 February until 4 July each year. You apply for one course at a time, through Track.


When the exam results come out in August, if you still have no offers, or do not get the required exam results, apply for other courses through Clearing. The UCAS website lists Courses with vacancies.

You need a Clearing Number to apply – you will find it through Track. You can watch a video on 'No Offers? Use Clearing' on the UCAS site.

Look through the courses, find one that interests you and contact the university or college yourself (or have your nominated person do so) to ask if they will accept you.

The admissions tutor you speak to will tell you what to do next.

When your exam results come out try to be at home during August. You may have to reach decisions quickly about your future. It would be better if you spoke directly with admissions tutors rather than your nominated person.  The Clearing vacancy search system closes on the 20 October. If you get a place through Clearing, UCAS will send you an official letter confirming it.

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