Going to university is very different from attending school. There is a wide choice of universities, with an even wider choice of courses, so there is something to meet everyone’s interests. You should do plenty of research to make sure that you get onto the course that’s right for you. Go to for more information.

Attending an open day is the best way to get a feel for what a university or a course will be like. You will get the opportunity to explore the campus and speak to students and teachers as well as attending taster lessons. Schools/colleges normally organise trips to visit universities but you can do this on your own too. Visit

At university you can gain valuable skills and a qualification to help you follow your chosen career:

How long?

Most degrees last between three and four years but some have a duration of up to seven years, for example if you would like to become a Doctor, Vet or Dentist.

What can I study?

Ranging from Level 4 Foundation Degrees to Level 6 Bachelor Degree.

Opportunity to continue to Postgraduate level.

Some careers require a degree as a minimum qualification and the higher your qualification, the higher your earning power.

More than 130 universities in the UK, with thousands of courses on offer.


Tend to focus on academic study; essays, exams, presentations, lectures, tutorials and research.

Work experience

Opportunity to do a placement or a year in industry to gain experience. Opportunities for international experience.


You can get a loan of up to £9,250 per year, as well as a tuition loan and maintenance loans to help you with living costs.

You can apply for grants if you are eligible to certain benefits e.g. disability benefits or childcare costs.

The important thing to remember is that the amount you’ll repay will be based on how much you earn, not how much you borrow. Find out more here.

Application Process

Apply via UCAS application. Different grades are used as an entry requirement alongside a personal statement and references from school tutors.


15th January for most courses.

15th October for Oxbridge and medical courses.

24th March for some art-based courses.

How do I apply to university?

UCAS is the online system for university applications. If you apply through your sixth form or college you will get help and advice from a member of staff. You will need to register your details and create an account.

You can make a maximum of five choices on your university application. Each university will have different entry requirements. For more information, visit the UCAS points calculator.

The courses you apply for can be different but remember you will only be able to submit one personal statement.

Personal statement

It is a key part of your UCAS application, alongside your predicted or achieved grades. It’s your chance to show the university what makes you unique in 4,000 characters. It is important to reflect on why you think you are suitable for the course, showcase your skills and experience, include achievements you are proud of as well as how your current/previous studies relate to the course.

For more information, click here.

Key dates for applications are:

Your sixth form/college will have their own deadlines for applications. Remember to give yourself plenty of time in case you need to make last minute changes.

Typical responses to your application:

Access to Higher Education: