The application process

Most students apply to university a year before enrolment.

Here you will find some key dates, to help you keep track of what happens when.


UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) opens for full-time undergraduate applications for the following September.

September - December

Many universities hold open days during this time. They provide the ideal opportunity for your son or daughter to take a look around the universities that they are interested in attending.

Find out more about our Undergraduate Open Days


This is the deadline given by UCAS for the majority of undergraduate applications to be submitted. Certain courses may have an earlier or later deadline, such as applications to Oxford or Cambridge or Art and Photography courses. Schools and colleges will also have an internal deadline for references that need to be completed by a teacher.


UCAS Extra opens. If your son or daughter has used all five university choices on UCAS and are not holding any offers, they can add more choices through this service.

February - April 

Many universities offer applicant/offer holder days during this time. These days enable applicants to take part in course taster sessions to gain a better understanding of what attending the university would be like.

Find out more about our Applicant Days

Late March

This is the deadline for all universities to respond to applications that they received by the January deadline.


Early this month is the deadline for students to respond to offers from universities if their offer was received by the March deadline.


Early this month is the deadline for students to respond to offers from universities if the offer was received by early May.

Late June/early July

Clearing opens - Clearing is a way for universities to fill any spaces they have left for the new academic year. It also gives students who do not hold an offer another chance of finding a university place.


BTEC and A-level results are released.

Students whose results are better or worse than expected can go into Clearing or Adjustment. They will need to call universities directly to check if places are available. Clearing closes towards the middle of September, with most university courses starting around this time.

International students

Key dates throughout the year are still relevant to international students. Students will also need to consider visas and CAS as part of their application process, and plan accordingly.

See our guidance for international students for more information.