Newest Review: ... to send it to your application off as soon as possible so that your reference has time to write you a good reference. I have heard stori... more
Uni here I come
Member Name: hollywoodmum
Advantages: Informative, easy to use
Disadvantages: Can't read reference, the waiting game
UCAS stands for University & Colleges Admissions Service. I had some experience with this site when the online apply system was first launched back in 2004. I was working in Student services at a college at the time and had to upload tutor references for students on to the site. This past year I have experienced using UCAS as a student myself.
What They Do
UCAS is a central admissions system for All Higher education institutions in the UK. They are not affiliated with any institution. They managed applications to HE courses by processing the applications and helping students make informed choices.
The site contains information for students, their parents, advisors and HE Staff.
The site has a Where To Study section. Using this section it is possible to search for institutions by alphabetical order, my region or even by clicking on a map to find institutions in that area. There is also useful info on how to chose the right course. It then goes on to explain the whole process.
Appying through UCAS is a bit of drawn out process. Firstly after conducting your research into course and instutions you need to go to the apply section of the site. when I worked in Student Services the majority of applications were still paper based but now all applications are electronic.
The first steps are pretty basic, filling out your personal details. After this your asked to fill in more technical questions about where you study, professional memberships, courses you've studied, fee codes, disabilities, criminal convictions, etc. It can take a while but you can save your progress at any time and sign back in with your login and password to complete it later.
Your then asked to give your choices of University and course of study, this process is much quicker if you have made a note of the correct course codes from your previous research. You are allowed to make between one and five choices.
Your then asked to fill in your employment history and them make a personal statement to support your application.
Your personal statement can be copy and pasted into the box provided or typed in it can be no longer then 4000 characters.
This is the hardest part of the form, you need to big yourself up, include relevant transferable skills, show a keen interest in what you want to study and why. It may sound easy to some but it's no mean feat especially when you consider that they use similarity detection software to stamp out plagiarism, if any personal statement is found to have 10% of text in common with another the application is rejected. Most application are rejected or accepted depending on what someone write in their personal statement.
Apart from payment this is the student's application complete. After this the tutor receives a notification that the student now needs a reference. The tutor uploads this but the student will not see it on their application.
Once completed the student logs in and clicks on pay and send. You can pay by card but you can also pay through your current institution's cash office.
To apply for on course it is £11 but to apply for more than one it is £21 so it is worth while taking up all five choices.UCAS issues each applicant with an individual tracking number. As your application has been sent you've now finished with UCAS apply and will log into UCAS Track instead.
The wait between applying and hearing anything back is agonizing.
it is possible to check your applications progress by logging into Track Progress. To this you need to enter your tracking number, user name and password. If you application changes or is updated you receive and email which tell you your application has changed.
Here you may get bad news of being rejected, or good news of being accepted or invited for interview. decision letters are available to view and print off.
Once you have heard off all your choices it is possible to decline them, accept a firm offer and accept and insurance offer.
If all your choices are unsuccessful or you decline them all it is also possible to apply for UCAS Extra through track. This is where you can make another choice at no extra cost.
If not there is always clearing but for this you have to wait.
I am a 34 single mother of 3, unsatisfied with my lot in life I've spent the last two years in full time study. I first studied a Level 2 Access Course then progressed to Level 3 Pathway to Social Work (which I have passed with Distinction). This year on the level 3 one of my first tasks was to start y research and application to uni using UCAS.
Most of the form I found was pretty easy especially as you could save your progress at any moment and continue later.
I made 5 choices all for the BA (HONS) Social Work at UCLAN, Liverpool John Moores, Huddersfield, Salford and Machester Metropolitan.
I found the hardest part the personal statement. As quite a laid back modest person Im not used to 'bigging myself up', the UCAs site provided advice on do's and don'ts but I still struggled. I wrote four drafts before I was satisfied.
Everything else was very straightforward although I did find it unfair that I could see what my tutor had written in my reference.
I sent my application off on 10th December 2010, the deadline of 15th January 2011 came and went. Although i was aware UCAS emailed you when your application changed I was very impatient and kept logging in to check my progress anyway.
eventually towards the end of January I began to get replies, Liverpool John Moores was the first, they rejected me because my personal statement did not demonstrate I was concerned with poverty, child abuse or elderly abuse.
My second change was off Salford offering me a place on Social Policy rather than Social Work, My third was from UCLAN inviting me to an interview and test (which I passed and got a place), my 4th was from Man Met offering me Social Change and finally Huddersfield offered me Health and Social Care.
I accepted UCLAN as my firm and Man Net as my insurance. After this UCAS directed me towards Student Finace UK.
So from September Im hauling my cookies from Bury to Preston everyday, I really must learn to drive.
UCAS is an essential service for students and institutions. It would be impossible for staff in a uni to deal with the amount of applications they receive every year. The site offers great advice and enables students to research courses and institutions which enables them to make infomed choices.
Apart from the Personal Statment, applying is easy but time consuming and Track is so simple an idiot couldn't go wrong.
The worst part is the waiting inbetween applying and hearing anything back.
i know some of my fellow students found the application quite daunting but as long you read all advice and guides that are available through the site you can't go wrong.
Summary: Essential for students