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How do I apply through UCAS?

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If you're a UK student applying for a full-time undergraduate degree at a UK university you apply via the Universities Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The application process is the same for all UK universities, and follows a 7-step process:

7 steps to applying

1. Making choices

Use the course search at UCAS.com to find out which universities do the courses you're interested in.

Choose some possible universities, request their prospectuses and/or look at their websites.

Create a shortlist of universities and visit their Open Days (Sunderland holds several Open Days throughout the year).

2. Applying

You can choose up to five universities when you apply.

You can apply anytime from September of Year 13 (or the second year of your college or FE college) until 15th January.

If you're planning to apply to Cambridge or Oxford, or if you're applying for courses in medicine, dentistry or veterinary science then your application must be submitted by 15th October. You can apply for part-time courses by using our downloadable application form (.pdf) and submitting it directly to the University.  

3. Offers

When UCAS receives your application form it will pass it on to your chosen universities.

UCAS will send you a UCAS ID number, which you can use to track the progress of your application on the UCAS website.

You should start receiving responses from universities between November and May.

Universities can make 3 types of response:

  • Unconditional offer: the university will accept you regardless of your final grades
  • Conditional offer: the university will accept you on the condition that you achieve a minimum tariff point
  • Unsuccessful application: the university has decided not to offer you a place

You or the university also have the option to withdraw the application during the process.

4. Making a decision

If you receive one or more offers you can make your decision on where to accept.

You can make one firm acceptance, which is your preferred choice, and one insurance choice. The insurance choice typically has a lower tariff point requirement. If you accept an unconditional offer you must decline all other offers.

The deadline for making a decision will depend on the date you received your last offer.

Extra choices: if you have not received any offers by March, or you have chosen to decline all your offers, you can enter 'Extra' and make an additional application. UCAS will accept late applications until 30th June.

5. Results day

Exam results are published in August. Once you have your confirmed tariff points you will be able to check on the UCAS website to see if you have been accepted by your chosen university.

If you have been accepted by your first choice or your insurance choice you will receive information about accommodation and the start of term.

6. Clearing

If you did not meet the conditions of your offers, or if you didn't receive any offers, you could still find a place through Clearing. Any universities with unfilled places advertise their Clearing courses on the UCAS website, their own websites and the national press.

Once you have found a suitable course through Clearing you should telephone the university to find out more. If the university offers you a place you can accept straight away, or you can wait until you have had a chance to visit the university.

7. Going to university

From late August / early September, your university will send out information about enrolling, accommodation and what to expect from the first few weeks.

Then all that's left is to pack your things and get ready for a life-changing experience!

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