Applying through UCAS in the UK and CAO to Ireland

Applying through UCAS in the UK and CAO to Ireland

Do you want to study in the United Kingdom or Ireland? Then you will most likely need to apply through UCAS (UK) or CAO (Ireland). Learn more about the application and how we can help.

Applying to the UK through UCAS

UCAS is the UK undergraduate (Bachelor) level application system. The abbreviation stands for the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. UCAS allows you to apply to up to 5 universities in one go. Our partner Uni Direct is a registered UCAS centre and helps students apply to study any subject at any university in the UK.

As part of the UCAS process, you need to write a personal statement of just under one page in length, outlining why you want to study that subject to accompany your UCAS application. UCAS also needs a reference from one of your teachers about you and your suitability to apply to study in the UK. As a registered UCAS centre, Uni Direct can upload your reference on behalf of your teacher.

If you are applying to certain courses and subjects, it is essential that you apply through UCAS. We have outlined below how it works.

UCAS application deadlines

UCAS usually opens for registration in the middle of May and you can submit your form as early as the beginning of September for next year’s intake. Below you will find the application deadlines but please note that you need to start preparing your application and take necessary admission tests well in advance of the deadline.

  • The UCAS deadline for Oxford and Cambridge is in the middle of October for entry in September the following year. The same deadline also applies to students applying to study medicine/dentistry/veterinary science at all UK universities.
  • The UCAS deadline for all of the other top level universities (like Imperial College of London, University College London, London School of Economics etc.) is in the end of January for entry in September/October.
  • For the top level universities and courses like medicine, you need to apply on time and cannot miss the deadline. For lower/mid ranking universities, you may be able to apply after the deadlines up until the end of June, but the sooner the better. It depends where you want to apply to. We can advise on the likelihood you will get offers if you apply late.

The exact deadline dates may differ from year to year so make sure to check the UCAS website or fill out our info request form to get help if you apply in the last-minute. Courses starting in the spring also have different deadlines.

Personal statement and admission test

Applying to the top level universities is very competitive. You need the best grades and a very good personal statement.

If you are applying to Oxford or Cambridge you will need to consider admissions tests and look at which admissions test you need to book and sit at a test centre near where you live. We can advise on booking admissions tests at one of your local test centres. You should practice well in advance for the admissions test you are sitting and you need to register and book the right admissions test well in advance. Practising will help you achieve a higher test score. Oxford and Cambridge use the admissions tests when they are reviewing applications and deciding who to invite to interview.

Similar to Oxford and Cambridge, students applying to study medicine need to have sat an admissions test – usually either BMAT or UCAT.

If you apply through UCAS and are invited to interview, again you need to feel confident and competent at how you answer the questions you are asked. It is likely that your interview will be held online.

The top level universities and programs like medicine/dentistry/veterinary science have high tuition fees for all non UK-nationals after Brexit, £20,000 – 30,000 or more each year. However, we can also advice you on good lower/mid ranking universities with more reasonable tuition fees (for non medical subjects).

Fill out our information request form to get help to apply through UCAS in the United Kingdom.

Applying through CAO to study in Ireland

Uni Direct can also give you application support to study in Ireland. It has become a popular study abroad destination with European as it is so much cheaper than the UK following Brexit.

As a European student, if you apply to study in Ireland you must apply through a centralised system called CAO. For next year entry, CAO opens in early November. It is likely it will close on February 1st and you need to have applied well before this date as you have to post documents to them.

The CAO application system lets you put up to 10 options down. You have to decide where to apply to based on your grades/predicted school grades.

Fill out our information request form to get help to apply through CAO in Ireland.

More information

Read more in our article on How to apply to universities abroad and 7 steps to get into the best universities in the world.

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