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Applying to university – how it works

Applying through UCAS

UCAS is the central service that all students need to use when applying to study for a full-time degree in the UK.

Instead of applying directly to a university, your child will submit and track their application through the UCAS website. The site is full of helpful advice and videos to guide them through the process. If they are based at a school or college then their teachers and careers advisers should be able to assist them with their application.

Your child will need to set up a profile on the UCAS website. There’s no need for them to complete everything at once. They can save their progress and come back later. Please note that UCAS charge a small fee for their services.

In most cases, your child can choose to apply for up to five courses. This could be the same course at five different universities or multiple courses at the same university. They won’t have to choose which of those universities is their preferred option until later on in the process.

Check the entry requirements

Your child should look carefully at the entry requirements for the courses they’re interested in. As these vary between universities. Most (including ourselves) accept a wide range of qualifications, including A Levels, BTECs, the new T Levels and equivalent international qualifications.

On the UCAS website the entry requirements for a course are often expressed in terms of ‘UCAS tariff points’. This is a system they use to provide a transparent way of outlining entry requirements across a wide range of qualifications. In the table below you can see how this works.

Some courses may have more specific requirements. Many science courses, for example, require students to have a GCSE in Maths and an A Level in a science-related subject. And these may need to be at a particular grade.

Make sure your child understands the entry requirements for the courses they’re applying for so that they have a realistic chance of being accepted.

 This is how your child's qualifications translate into UCAS tariff points.

Scroll or swipe on small screens to see all table columns

A Level grade
(at A2-level)

BTEC QCF/RQF Extendend Diploma

BTEC QCF/RQF Diploma

BTEC QCF Subsidiary Diploma

T Levels

A* = 56 pts

A = 48 pts

B = 40 pts

C = 32 pts

D = 24 pts

E = 16 pts

D*D*D* = 168 pts

D*D*D = 160 pts

D*DD = 152 pts

DDD = 144 pts

DDM = 128 pts

DMM = 112 pts

MMM = 96 pts

MMP = 80 pts

MPP = 64 pts

PPP = 48 pts

D*D* = 112 pts

D*D = 104 pts

DD = 96 pts

DM = 80 pts

MM = 64 pts

MP = 48 pts

PP = 32 pts

D* = 56 pts

D = 48 pts

M = 32 pts

P = 16 pts

D* = 168 pts

D = 144 pts

M = 120 pts

P = 96 pts (C or above on the core)

P = 72 pts (D or E on the core)

BTEC / T Level grades - D = Distinction, M = Merit, P = Pass

After your child has applied – what happens next?

After your child has submitted their UCAS application it can be anxious time. While they wait to hear back from the universities they’ve applied for. 

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They’ll be able keep track of everything by logging into the UCAS online system. Which will display any offers or rejections they’ve received from their chosen universities. And give them the option to either accept or decline them.

UCAS will set a deadline for your son or daughter to respond to and accept or decline any offers they’ve received. If they don’t respond then their offers will automatically be declined, so it’s essential that they meet the deadline.