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UCAS Reference

Part of the UCAS application form involves getting someone to write you a reference.

Help! Who can write my UCAS reference?

UCAS references are normally written by someone who knows you at school or college, such as one of your A level tutors or your head of sixth form.

Don't worry if you haven't recently left school or college - there are alternative options!

For example, you can speak to either your current or previous employer, or if you are taking an apprenticeship or some other form of training you can ask your supervisor.

As long as the person knows you well enough to be able to comment on your academic abilities and your suitability for higher education, then UCAS should happily accept your reference.

Is there anyone I'm not allowed to ask for a reference?

You're not allowed to ask family, friends or previous/current partners to write your reference for you.

If UCAS find out this is the case, they will cancel your application - so be careful who you ask!

What should be included in the UCAS reference?

Whoever is writing it should be able to comment on your chosen career path and your suitability for it; how you have performed at school/college, or at work/during training if you have not recently left education; any personal circumstances (such as health problems, or family death) that may have affected you in the past or could affect your performance in the future.

They may also refer to any learning difficulties or disabilities you may have, but only with your permission!

Applying through a school, college or other organisation

Unfortunately UCAS will not allow you to see your reference, as this will be completed on your behalf by the centre you are applying through.

All you can do is check that each section of your UCAS application is correct, mark them all as complete, pay for your application and send it online to your referee.

They will then complete the reference section before sending it off to UCAS.

Applying as an individual

If you’re applying independently, you can still ask a registered school, college or other organisation to complete the reference for you.

Just go to the 'Options’ section in Apply and click 'Ask a registered school, college or organisation to write your reference only'.

They will then write the reference for you and a red tick will appear when the section has been completed.

If you’re not using a registered centre as your referee, you will need to contact them to make sure they are willing to give you a reference via the UCAS website.

You will also need to find their phone and email details so UCAS can contact them to request your reference. If they decide not to give you a reference for whatever reason, UCAS will let you know.

To do this, simply enter the referee's contact details in the Reference section on the Apply system, and click 'Ask referee to complete reference'.

I don’t need a reference...

Unless all of the universites and colleges you have applied to have said you do not need to provide a reference, you must give them details of your referee and their reference.

There is an option on the Reference Welcome page that you can tick if this is your situation.