Skip links

About UK Universities

How do I apply to UK Universities?

Most applications to universities to the UK are submitted through the Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS), which is a UK-based organisation responsible for operating and managing the application process for higher education courses in the UK. Most university courses utilize the UCAS portal, but there are a select few courses within each university which require direct applications to the university itself.

Which courses should I apply to?

Five UCAS Courses

You can apply to a maximum of five courses on your UCAS application. This means that you will apply to five equivalent courses at five different universities. However, you can also choose to apply to two related courses at the same university if it fits with your application.

Exceptions

Oxford University and Cambridge University will only accept one application to either university. You cannot apply to both.

Courses in the veterinary science, medicine or dentistry fields limit you to four courses on the UCAS, instead of the usual five. You can use your fifth option to apply for a non-medical course. Many students choose to apply for a related course, such as Biomedical Engineering.

Deciding on a course of study

There are over 50,000 undergraduate courses at more than 395 providers in the UK, so it’s important you do your research. What would you like to study? What would you like to achieve after university? Is being located in central London important to you? These are some important questions to ask as you decide which courses to apply to.

Look at the UCAS subject guides to understand what the different subject areas have to offer — including graduate destinations, entry requirements, and personal statement tips.

Browse the UCAS search tool for inspiration on the types of courses you can study — you can use the subject filters to narrow your search.

What are Top UK Universities looking for?

Academic Requirements

IB; or A-Levels; or APs / SATs; or GPA

You will need one teacher recommendation that speaks to your academic abilities. This would ideally be someone who has taught you recently (JC1 / JC2 or Grade 11 / 12).

Applications require accomplishments that are academic in nature (eg: Honor Roll / Olympiads / Research Experiences).

Some courses (Law / Medicine / Oxbridge applicants) will require special admissions tests such as the LNAT or UCAT.

Non-Academic Requirements

These activities demonstrate to universities that you are exploring your chosen subject outside of the classroom with genuine passion and curiosity.

This is a short essay of roughly 500 words. This essay will require you to state your intended course of study at university, why you wish to pursue this interest, and how you have already meaningfully engaged with this subject previously.

What are the best ranked universities?

1. University of Cambridge
2. University of Oxford
3. London School of Economics
4. University College London

5. University of Edinburgh
6. King’s College London
7. University of Nottingham
8. Durham University

1. University of Oxford
2. University of Cambridge
3. Imperial College London
4. University College London

5. King’s College London
6. University of Edinburgh
7. University of Glasgow
8. University of Manchester

1. University of Cambridge
2. University of Oxford
3. London School of Economics
4. University of Warwick

5. University College London
6. Durham University
7. University of St Andrews
8. King’s College London

1. University of Oxford
2. University of Cambridge
3. University College London
4. London School of Economics

5. University of St. Andrews
6. University of Warwick
7. Durham University
8. King’s College London

1. University of Oxford
2. University of Cambridge
3. Imperial College London
4. University College London

5. University of Manchester
6. University of Edinburgh
7. University of Sheffield
8. University of Bristol

1. University of Cambridge
2. University of Oxford
3. Imperial College London
4. University of Warwick

5. University of St Andrews
6. Durham University
7. University of Manchester
8. University College London

Writing an engaging Personal Statement

Your UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) personal statement is an important part of your university application to differentiate yourself from other applicants. You will need to demonstrate that you are a suitable candidate who will thrive at the university with your drive, skills, and enthusiasm for the subject. We have compiled a few tips that will help you write an engaging personal statement.

Be Specific

Your UCAS Personal Statement needs to be highly personalized to you in order to show your unique motivations and academic interests. As you will be sending one personal statement to all of your chosen schools and subjects, it is important to tailor your personal statement to emphasize your commitment to the subject as much as possible.

Supporting your application with specific examples will demonstrate that the course aligns with your academic pursuits and goals, persuading admissions tutors that you are suitable for the course and will contribute to the learning environment at the university.

Structure it clearly

With the 4,000 character limit, concision is key. A clear, logical structure will be easier for the admissions tutor to follow cohesively. The “ABC” structure is an effective method to write about how your experiences have shown evidence of your enthusiasm for the subject.

Action

What have you done that demonstrates your passion for the subject?

Benefit

What skills have you gained? How did your experiences influence your academic and professional goals?

Course

How do these actions demonstrate suitability for the course?

Some achievements that you could talk about to show the best side of yourself are:

Outside coursework or readings. Any books or courses that have corroborated your interest in the subject.

Work or research experience. Any work/internship experiences or research you participated in that advanced your interest in the subject or determined your career goals.

Extracurricular activities. Ways that you have extended your learning beyond the classroom.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do

Do ask for more feedback from others such as a trusted teacher, friends, or family members to ensure you submit the best work possible.

Do be authentic and stay true to yourself! Give the admission tutor an insight into your personality and strengths.

Do write clearly with a formal, academic tone that shows depth in your writing.

Don’t

Don’t wait until the last minute to write your personal statement! Give yourself time for reviewing and revisions.

Don’t copy someone else’s personal statement — UCAS has software that checks for plagiarism!

Don’t use examples or experiences irrelevant to your course. Every sentence should help explain why you would contribute to the university.

Cambridge vs Oxford

Each year, competition for key spots at Oxford and Cambridge is notoriously fierce. Every application season, we hear of stories about fortunate students who are admitted to Oxbridge, and those who fail to make the cut.

Oxford is known for their Humanities and the Social Sciences programs (especially their renowned PPE programme, while Cambridge is lauded for its Science programs.

While Oxford and Cambridge are both considered world-class academic institutions in the UK, there are differences between the two.

Both Universities are world-renowned in their calibre of teaching, research and student life.

The primary difference between the two Universities will ultimately boil down to what you want to study at university.

You can only apply to either Cambridge or Oxford University in an application year.

Key Differences

Cambridge University Oxford University

Economics
Offers a pure Economics course and a hybrid Land Economy course.

Economics
Does not offer pure Economics – students can take hybrid courses like Economics and Management, Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) or History and Economics.

Law
All undergraduate students applying to read Law must take the LNAT.
Courses tend to be more practical in nature.

Law
All undergraduate students applying to read Law must take the LNAT.
Courses tend to be more theoretical in nature.

Natural Sciences
Students cannot immediately choose a specialization. Instead, they study a broad-based Natural Sciences curriculum before specializing in concentrations such as Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, and so on.

Natural Sciences
Students can choose to directly pursue a concentration within the Natural Sciences– i.e. Physics, Chemistry etc.

Computer Science
Offers a Computer Science course.
Does not offer hybrid or interdisciplinary courses within Computer Science.

Computer Science
Offers a Computer Science course.
Also offers interdisciplinary courses like Computer Science and Philosophy, and Computer Science and Mathematics.

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.
+