Preparing for university is incredibly important, particularly in the current competitive market. As a result, it is important that both students and parents fully understand the process. Fullbrook 6 is all too aware that the preparation is crucial, and as a result have produced a number of resources to help guide you through the process. These resources can be seen below.

Should you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs A South (Student Support Officer) via email: [email protected]

Please mark the message for the attention of Mrs A South.


Do my courses have to be the same?

You are allowed five (5), but you don’t have to use them all and many applicants don’t – if you only use one choice there is a lower application fee. If you want to apply for medicine, dentistry or veterinary science/medicine, you are only allowed to use four choices for these courses, though you can use the other one for a different subject if you wish.

Each university will only see details of its own application and so they will not know where else you have applied or whether all the courses in your application are the same. The form is therefore classed as “blind”.

Remember that you only get to write one personal statement, so if you opt for radically different courses (e.g. Physics at Oxford, Film Studies at Essex, History at Sheffield and Politics at Aston) it will be difficult to construct a personal statement that demonstrates your enthusiasm for all of them equally.

Should I apply early?

Universities are required by UCAS rules to treat all applications received by the appropriate deadline on an equal basis. This means that applying early or late should make no difference, as long as the deadline is met, and in practice this is the case for virtually all applicants. Indeed if you are applying for a low-demand subject you will probably get equal treatment, even if your application arrives well after the deadline.

Occasionally, a very popular university may experience a sudden increase in applications in very high-demand subjects such as Medicine, English or Law, which only becomes apparent after it has started making decisions. It will then be faced with a choice of either carrying on making offers in the same way and ending up with an intake way above target, or tightening up its criteria and admitting the right number. Neither of these outcomes is desirable: too many students means large classes and over-worked staff; tightening the criteria means being slightly tougher with some applicants. The university may choose the latter course, in which case a few of the later applicants might be rejected whereas, if they had applied earlier, before the increased number of applications was apparent, they might have received an offer.

What happens next?

The first thing to happen after you have submitted your application to UCAS is the arrival of a Welcome Letter confirming the courses and universities you have chosen. It is important to check this carefully to make sure there is no mistakes and keep your application number safe, as you will probably need it later. The Welcome Letter will also include your application number and your password for Track, the online system for following the progress of your application. You can, if you wish, opt to have all communications sent to you by email rather than the post.

Then there is nothing to do but wait. Universities are increasingly aware that applicants don’t like to be kept hanging around so you may find some decisions arriving fairly soon. However, if your application arrived at UCAS close to the main deadline (around 50 per cent of applications are submitted in the final six weeks before the deadline) it can take several weeks before you begin to receive correspondence from the universities, as they cope with the post-Christmas back-log.

Unconditional Offer (U): This means you have already met all the entry requirements for the course.

Conditional Offer (C): This means the university will accept you if you meet certain additional requirements, usually specified grades in the examinations you will be taking.

Rejection (R): This means that either you have not got, and are unlikely to get, some key requirement for the course, or that you have lost out in competition with other, better applicants.

How do I reply to offers?

You can hold on to any offer you receive until all your chosen universities have made their decisions, but then you have to choose which ones you want to accept.

You can accept one offer as your Firm acceptance (often called your UF choice if the offer was unconditional or your CF choice if it was conditional). If your Firm acceptance is CF, then you can accept a second offer as your Insurance acceptance (often called your CI choice), but you must decline any others. Most applicants who have more than one conditional offer will accept as CF their first choice university and then a university which has made a lower offer as their CI choice.

You can, in fact, decline all your offers if you wish. Perhaps you have realised that you have made a dreadful mistake in your choice of subject and now wish to look for another subject in UCAS Extra or the Clearing procedure. However, normally you will want to accept one offer as your firm acceptance.

Once you have done that, you and the university are bound together by the rules of UCAS. If you firmly accept an unconditional offer then you have a definite place at that university. If you firmly accept a conditional offer and then meet all the conditions, the university is obliged to accept you and you are obliged to go there.

Obviously, it makes sense to choose a lower offer for your Insurance choice so as to maximise your chances of getting at least one of your two choices. However, make sure it is somewhere you would still like to go because, if that is where you are placed, the UCAS rules require you to go there. Finally, make sure you do reply to your offers. If you don’t, and ignore the reminders UCAS will send you, you will be ‘declined by default’ and lose your offers.

You can track the progress of your application throughout the process using Track. Your password will be sent to you with the acknowledgement of your application and the facility will give you an up-to-the-minute summary of where all your applications are at in the system. There is even a version for mobile phones.

What is UCAS Extra?

If you are unlucky enough not to receive any offers from any of your choices, or you have a change of heart and decide to decline any offers you do have, UCAS Extra comes into play at the end of February and is open until early July. This, in effect, allows you to make a sixth choice of university. If you become eligible for UCAS Extra, UCAS will send you all the details you need, and courses at universities willing to consider UCAS Extra applications will be available on the UCAS website.

You can then either use the UCAS website to make an application or contact a university directly. If you are made an offer, either unconditional or conditional, you can firmly accept or decline it just like any offer in the main UCAS scheme.

If you don’t get an offer (or decide to decline your offer), you can opt to make another UCAS Extra choice and so on, until either you get an offer or you run out of time (the scheme ends in early July).

UCAS Extra does not allow you to prepare a new on-line personal statement or reference – this can be a real drawback if you originally applied for a medical degree and now wish to make an Extra application for a radically different course.