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UCAS - How to apply


So you have decided that you wish to study in the UK but need to some help filling in that application form. We asked the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) for some advice.

UCAS handle all applications for places on full-time higher education courses in the UK. This year alone they have 336 universities and colleges listed in the UCAS Directory. Whatever your age, qualifications or nationality if you wish to apply for any of the 45,000 courses listed you must complete the application form provided by UCAS.

When you receive your application form from UCAS (Contact details below) you should also receive an acknowledgement card. When you have completed your form put an international coupon on it and enclose the card when you send in your form. UCAS will then post the acknowledgement card back to you to confirm that they have received your application.

Application forms from international students outside the EU must send their application form between September1 2000 and 30 June 2001, except if you are applying to Oxford or Cambridge University or for medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine/science in which case you must apply by 15 October 2000. Other deadlines apply for Art and Design Route B courses - see the UCAS 'How To Apply' booklet for details. However, if your application is sent after December 15th 2000 universities and colleges may consider you application but there are no guarantees, also the more popular courses may not have any vacancies left. EU students should apply before December 15th and if you already have the necessary qualifications you can apply at any time. It is always advisable to contact your chosen universities for advice. UCAS advises all international students to apply early to allow time for immigration, travel and accommodation arrangements. They are also aware of high level of competition for a place at a UK university "Give yourself the best chance - apply as early as possible!"

Always remember that you can only submit one UCAS application form in each year's application cycle so do consider your university choices very carefully before completing the form "You should be happy with your choice of course and university or college before you make your final decision. Remember, you will be spending the next few years there".

UCAS will send copies of your form to your chosen universities or colleges. UCAS will also send you an application number, a list of your choices and a leaflet called 'Advice for Applicants'. This may take up to four weeks.

Once they have received your application universities will then decide whether to make you an offer - usually by asking you to achieve certain exam results. UCAS will then ask you which offers, if any, you want to hold while you wait for your results. If you meet the offer the university or college will confirm your place. If you do not meet the entry requirements your place may still be confirmed if your results are acceptable and places are available. UCAS advises always in this case you should get in direct contact with your university or college.

"We are not involved in selecting students. Universities and colleges make their own decision, and we are not responsible for their decision".

The "Do's and Don'ts" in completing you application form

Do use only a black-ball-pen or type, and make sure your ink does not leak through to the back. UCAS will need to copy your form and reduce it in size, so it must be clear.

Do make sure your typeface is at least 12 point and in a standard typeface.

Do use BLOCK CAPITALS on page 1 of your application form (your personal details) as UCAS use computers to read this section so it needs to be clear.

Do write inside the boxes provided.

Do inform UCAS if you have any disability, special needs (including dyslexia) or a medical condition. UCAS collect this information simply to monitor progress in equal opportunities in higher education. Universities and colleges do not use this information when they decide to make you an offer or not. Universities and colleges welcome students with disabilities and try to meet your needs wherever they can. If you have any special needs then complete section 8 of the form clearly stating your needs.

Do practise first on a photocopy of the form - it is generally advised to make quite a few copies, so that the original form that you send through has no mistakes. Do remember that your application form is all the a lecturer has to go on to make a decision whether to offer you a place or not so do the best job that you can in order to give your self a proper chance

Do send an original application form. Each form has a reference number and UCAS will not process a photocopied form or fax.

Do give your reference number in all future correspondence with universities/colleges and UCAS

Do use the codes to complete the section for university choices. You will find these forms in the UCAS Directory or on their website www.ucas.com

Do complete the additional information - this involves the occupation or most recent occupation of your parent or guardian who earns the most. If you are over 21 you must give your own occupation. Also use the correct codes for your ethnic origin. All of this information is for UCAS to monitor application rates and equal opportunities. It is important to note that this information is only provided to Universities and colleges after the selection process.

Do list all the qualifications you have completed whether you have passed or failed them. Including exams you took when you left school and the exams you took to get into higher education.
Do give the title of your qualifications in the original language.

Do give details of any English language tests you have taken or plan to take

Do spend a lot of time preparing your personal statement. UCAS suggest that you answer questions such as why you want to study in the UK? Are you studying any subject that you will not have an exam for? Have you had a position of authority or used your communication skills in any activity? You should also show evidence that you can complete a higher education course in English.

Do use as much as the space of you can. A good personal statement can help your chances to gain a place at university. It is one of the most important parts of the application so take your time to make sure that your handwriting is neat and that the statement is short and concise. Do not write an essay and do not go over the space provided - practise on photocopies first.

Do give the person who is writing your reference the information provided by UCAS on "How to apply - 2001 entry" so that they know exactly what to focus the reference on. Make sure that your reference is written in English.

Do send your UCAS application fee with the completed form.

Do read the booklet provided by UCAS thoroughly and follow the instructions given very carefully when completing your form

Do Not detach the two halves of the form

Do Not attach extra sheets. Send all additional information directly to the university

Do Not stick or staple extra or replacement sheets onto the form.

Do Not write in the green boxes

Do Not write outside the black borderline

Do Not mark or damage the reference number boxes.

Do Not use correction fluid if you make a mistake. Simply cross a neat line through your mistake and make any corrections clear. It is advisable not to make any mistakes. So…. practise, practise, practise!

Do Not mistake the seven-digit number in the top right-hand corner of the form as your application number - this is a different number for office use only

Do Not try to squeeze to much information on one line.

Do Not send UCAS exam certificates

Do Not use abbreviations on the form except when asked to in the instruction booklet

Do Not try to give UK equivalents of qualifications or awards.

DO Not send extra information to UCAS, send it directly to the University

Do Not get any stains on your application form. Keep the original form in a safe place

Do Not fold the application form when sending it through the post.

Do Not leave any of the form incomplete unless it specifically states you can. This may lead to UCAS not processing your form. If you need advice contact UCAS or ask your teacher/careers advisor etc.

Do Not leave your application form till the last minute.

Do Not rush when completing your form and follow the instructions provided by UCAS carefully.

If you need any further information then contact UCAS by telephone on + 44 (0) 1242 544961, by E-mail on enq@ucas.ac.uk or by fax on +44 (0) 1242 544961 or you can write to UCAS, PO Box 28, Cheltenham, GL52 3ZA, United Kingdom.

At any time you can click on our International Student Enquiry Service in order to have your details circulated to multiple academic institutions so they can mail you comprehensive further information and brochures. Remember this service is completely free of charge.

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