To get onto a course at a UK university you need to apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) – and there is a strict timetable in order for the process to work properly. The dates remain the same every year so regardless of when you plan to start University, the UCAS deadlines won’t change.
To give yourself the best chance of getting to the university of your choice, you need to start planning in year 12. The actual application will be submitted in year 13, or later if you should decide not go to university straight away.
What do I need to do now?
Whilst studying GCSEs, you do not need to do anything official. What is important is for you to have an idea of what you would like to study, as this may affect you’re A-Level choices. For example, if you think you would like to take Accounting at university, but you don’t look into this course first, you may miss out the fact that most universities want Math’s A-level. This situation is easily avoidable. Take a look at what you want to study, and for examples of subjects have a look at our ‘courses’ page, then, check out university information for what they require you to have to study that course. This will help you gain a realistic view of what to study next.
If you’ve already made your GCSE or A-level choices but need another subject to get onto your preferred university course, then don’t worry! Most degree programmes offer a ‘preliminary year’. This is a course where you can learn the information you need to be able to start the degree programme with the same level of understanding as those who met the initial entry requirements.
What about later on? Check out our timeline here to see how you can best prepare for applying to university.
What if I don’t want to take A-levels or go to University straight away?
Not everyone takes A-levels. There are many options for students to take qualifications that are at the same level as A-levels. Also not everyone goes into University when they are straight out of school. There is more information on alternative routes into higher education here.