You may also want to check out the deadlines for applying to make sure you don't miss out, and look at the latest information on university rankings to help inform your decisions.
2. Register for UCAS Apply
Once you have decided which degree programme you want to apply for and which universities you want to apply to, you'll need to register for UCAS Apply.
To do this, you'll need to fill out some personal details, create a username and password, and set some security questions.
Make sure you enter your name as it appears on your birth certificate or passport.
3. Sign in
Next you can add funding and sponsorship options, residential status, special needs or requirements, etc.
Add your email address, which will be verified by UCAS.
You can also give a parent or guardian nominated access if you wish them to be able to speak to UCAS on your behalf.
4. Complete your additional information
If you're a UK student, you'll need to fill in some extra details about your ethnic origin, occupational background and national identity.
Don't worry - these won't have any impact on the outcome of your application, and will only be sent to universities once you have been offered a place.
5. Course choices and education history
You can add up to five courses on your UCAS form, and there's no preference order. Universities won't be able to see where else you've applied to until you've replied to any offers you've received.
If you're applying to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, you can only add up to four course choices. If you want to apply to Oxbridge, remember that you can only apply to either Oxford or Cambridge, not both.
For those taking a gap year, check that the universities accept deferred entries.
You must enter all your qualifications from secondary education onwards – this includes any you have already received, or you’re still awaiting the results for.
UCAS will process most exam results you are waiting for, and forward these on to universities and colleges as soon as they become available.
If any of your pending qualifications aren't on here, you still need to add them to your application, but also remember you’ll need to send the results on to your chosen universities and colleges when you get them.
If you studied at a university or college but didn't finish the course, you still need to enter these details. Include the start and finish date, and put down that you didn't gain any qualifications there.
If you are currently studying for a qualification or awaiting results, it is important you make sure your referee adds your predicted grades to your application, since some universities and colleges won't consider your application without them.
It's essential you enter the correct qualifications on your application, especially if you're taking a vocational qualification, such as a BTEC or NVQ, as there are a number of different options to choose from on the Apply sysyem, depending on the size and type of qualification you're taking.
Universities and colleges will use the information you put in your application to make their decisions, so if you're not sure which version of a qualification you're taking, talk to your school or college.
6. Work experience
If you've had any paid jobs, either full-time or part-time, you can enter details for up to five of them. These include company names, addresses, job descriptions and start and finish dates.
For any unpaid or voluntary work you've completed, you should mention this in your personal statement.
7. Paste in your personal statement
This is your chance to show universities and colleges why you want to study the course, why you would make an ideal student and why you would be an asset to the university's department.
To help you write this, we have lots of resources here at Studential, including:
It might take a while until you’re happy with it and you’ve checked it through with teachers, family and freinds, which is why we recommend you start writing as early as possible (some students like to get their first draft done by the end of the school holidays in July/August).
8. View and edit
Read through your application and see if you need to make any edits, then mark it as complete and save it.
Once you’ve marked all previous sections as complete, you’ll be able to read and agree to the declaration.
This allows UCAS to process your application and send it to your chosen universities or higher education colleges. You can then move on to the final sections.
9. Pay your fee and send
A reference is a written recommendation from a teacher, adviser or professional who can write about your academic ability.
Everyone needs to submit a reference, which you will need to do before can submit your application to UCAS.
For 2021 entry, the application fee is £20 for a single choice, or £26 for more than one choice.