University FAQs

University FAQs

What Is UCAS?

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is the centralised admissions service that UK students use to apply to university.

What Are UCAS Points?
Lots of courses list UCAS points as their entry requirements. Your letter grades can be converted into numerical value. Use our UCAS Calculator to find out what your UCAS points total is. Simply input your predicted grades and your score will be calculated.
When looking at courses be sure to check if any required subjects have to have a specific grade, rather than relying on your overall total.
Calculate your UCAS points on our UCAS Calculator.

How Many Universities Can I Apply to?
You can apply to any number between 1 and 5. If you only apply to one university the application fee is £18, if you apply to more than one it’s £24. Some courses such as medicine only allow you to apply to a maximum of 4 universities.

If you're struggling to decide which university apply to use your University Finder Tool to be matched with a list of courses meeting your specific criteria.

How Do I Apply For University? 
Students apply to university through UCAS. The process is very simple. Register on and input details about yourself such as address and your background. Next you’ll be asked to submit a personal statement. This is a 4000-character long essay about why you’re the perfect candidate for that university. Then you’ll input your five course/university choices. Finally, your teacher will input your predicted grades and provide a reference.

What’s Clearing?
Clearing is a UCAS process which allows students to apply and get a place at other universities if their results are not high enough to get into their firm or insurance uni. It shows courses with vacancies that you can apply to.
Want to learn more about Clearing? Head to our Clearing FAQs blog post.

How Do I Pay For University? 
Student Finance England provides students with financial support so they can go to university no matter what their financial background is. They offer students the opportunity to get a tuition fee and a maintenance loan. You begin to pay back your student loan the April after you graduate, and only if you’re earning over £25,725 a year. After 30 years your loan is wiped clean.
Find out more about Student Finance here.

How Do I Choose a University?
Picking which universities to apply to is a daunting task, you need to make the right choice for you. Three years is a long time to be living somewhere and studying a subject you hate. Make sure you do a lot of research and try to visit the university either through an Open Day or a campus tour.

There are lots of things you need to consider; the course itself, the university, the location of the university, how the course/university ranks in league tables, student satisfaction and job prospects, etc. The most important thing to consider when looking at universities is what YOU want. Whilst listening to teachers and parents is important, you’re the one who’ll be living there for at least three years. Make sure it’s where you want to be.

Browse through our university open day calendar.

Where Will I Live?

Most first years are guaranteed a place to live on campus at university. There are a number of different options. You can choose to live in halls with a shared bathroom and kitchen, or in flats with an ensuite bathroom and a shared kitchen.

Alternatively, you could opt to live in Private Halls. Private halls of residence are operated by a third-party company rather than the university. Private halls follow a very similar layout to university halls. They have private bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, shared kitchens, and social areas, and are located close to the university or in the city centre. Private halls providers include: iQ Student Accommodation, My Student Halls, and Unite Students.

Living in private accommodation in a house or in flat share with students is also an option. Private housing is often a lot cheaper than halls of residence and are quieter. You normally get a 52-week contract and larger rooms with a DOUBLE bed (most halls have single beds). Whilst the houses won’t be on campus, they’ll be in the city centre or short walk/bus ride away from university, so you get to see way more of your university town outside of the campus bubble.

You could also live home and commute to university. Find out more about commuting to university here and here.

University Definitions

Adjustment: A process which allows students to get a place at university if their final grades are higher than expected.

Clearing: A UCAS process which allows students to apply and get a place at other universities if their results are not high enough to get into their firm or insurance uni. It shows courses with vacancies that you can apply to.

Conditional Offer: A university offers a student a place dependent on meeting the agreed grades. If you don’t meet the agreed terms your offer may be revoked.

Deferral: The process of deferring your university offer to the next academic year. 

Firm choice: Firm choice is the first-choice university whose offer you’ve accepted.

Grant: A means tested non-repayable sum of money awarded to students from student finance England, your university, or a third party.

Freshers: First year university students.

Freshers week: First week at university where you settle into your new accommodation and meet your flatmates, course mates, and lecturers.

Insurance choice: This offer is accepted as your second choice, if you don’t meet the requirements of your firm choice, you may go there. Your insurance choice has lower entry requirements than your firm choice.

Integrated Masters: A 4-year long course where you finish your undergraduate degree after 3 years, then continue on to do a Masters degree.

Joint honours: Students study more than one subject and combined into one qualification e.g. BA Economics and Geography. 

Mature Student: Someone over the age of 21 during their first year at university

Personal statement: A 4000-character long essay about why you want to study a particular subject at university and why you’re equipped to study it.

Sandwich Course: A 4-year course with a year out for academic study abroad or a placement year in industry.

Seminar: Interactive teaching class at university.

Studying Abroad: Most universities offer students the chance to spend their third year studying abroad at a partner university around the world before returning to their host university for their final year.

Student Loans: The Student Loans Company provide students with tuition fee and maintenance loans to ensure everyone can attend university.

Unconditional Offer: Regardless of your final grades, the university has offered you a place.