Thursday, 25th April 2019


UCAS,UCAS and University Applications, GraduatesThere are over 300 higher educational institutions in the UK, including universities and further education colleges offering degrees and other HE qualifications.

If university is something that you have decided is right for you, the next challenge can be completing your application. UCAS is the central governing body of entry into higher educations in the United Kingdom. So UCAS is an invaluable and necessary resource for applying to higher education.


UCAS processes more than two million applications for full-time undergraduate courses each year and is the main point of call for all higher education entrance information.

As well as processing applications, UCAS has its own tariff, universally recognised by all higher education institutions. Almost every type of qualification that can be achieved whilst at school or college is allocated a set amount of UCAS points, from A-levels and BTECs to Key Skills and music examinations.

Universities will state how many UCAS points are required for entry, either generally or for a specific course. For example, a requirement might be “300 UCAS points, including a grade A at A-level Physics” or it might simply state the grades of qualifications required.

When applying for university, or a higher education course, there a number of different deadlines to be aware of. Applications to study Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry and applications for Oxbridge have an earlier deadline than other courses.

For more information on the UCAS tariff system and all the deadlines please follow the links below:

Personal statements

When applying to university, the personal statement is the part of the application that gives you an opportunity to tell universities and colleges about your suitability for the course(s) that you hope to study.

The institutions will have received your qualifications and educational background information, but it is the 4000 character personal statement that allows you to stand out and persuades the university that they want to accept you as a student.

Writing your personal statement can be a difficult process, as you need to cohesively demonstrate your special qualities and your enthusiasm for studying the particular course at the particular university.

Many of you may not have the knack of creative writing, but the personal statement needs to be interesting, comprehensive and must show good grammar and spelling.

How to write your personal statement

Your personal statement is about you. You cannot plagiarise someone else’s or get another person to write it for you. There are many things to include in a personal statement:

  • Why you want to study the course – aspects that interest you; for your future career; subjects you are good at etc.
  • Why you want to study at university – future career; extra-curricular qualifications you have taken; committees you have been on; experiences that show you like independent learning
  • Your interests and skills – sports teams; musical instruments; student media; languages your speak; prizes you have won out of school; interesting hobbies or classes out of school
  • Gap year (if you are deferring entry) – why you want to travel; how it will help you

Useful links

For extra help on writing your personal statement or to read examples, the following sites may be of use:

Tuition fees

Higher education institutions across England have been charging fees since 1998 following the Teaching and Higher Education Act. At the time, there were three different tiers of payment established:

In 2011, the coalition government raised the cap so that universities can start charging up to £9,000 per year as of September 2012. The loans offered to students will increase accordingly, as will the earning threshold graduates will need to reach before they start repaying the loan – repayments are due after students start earning a minimum of £21,000 per year.

The Student Loans Company

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is the non-departmental public body responsible for granting loans to students of higher education. It was introduced in the early 90s and granted loans to university students to help cover the costs of living while at university (maintenance). Since 1998, the SLC has been allocating loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships to cover both tuition fees and maintenance costs to students in the UK.


Tuition fee loans are not income assessed. They are paid directly to the institution and are equal to either the amount charged by the higher education institution or the tuition fee limit decided by the government.

Maintenance loans can be either income assessed or non-assessed. The latter comprises around 70% of the maximum maintenance loan entitlement and is available to all full-time students. Those who opt for income assessed loans can receive more support depending on various factors, including family earnings, place of study, place of residence and whether the individual is receiving additional financial support.

Grants and bursaries to cover, or help towards, the costs of tuition and living expenses can also be given to eligible students who have their finances assessed.

For further information please visit: The Student Loans Company or browse our job advice service.