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UCAS – FAQs & Helpful Websites

Jump to the useful websites.

Who has overall responsibility for Higher Education at Robert Smyth Academy?

Ms L Kirk

Where and when can I see her for advice?

Her office is upstairs in the Sixth Form Centre. Daily tutor time is a good time to see her. She holds a regular UCAS drop-in during the Autumn Term. She may well ask to see you via the register.

Who else will be supporting me with my application?

Your form tutor, 6plus teacher and subject teachers.

How many courses can I apply for and do I have to list them in order of preference?

Up to five courses – you put them in alphabetical order. Applicants to medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine/science, should apply for no more than four such courses with a fifth in a different subject.

Can I add more choices at a later date?

Yes, if you applied to fewer than five originally and providing you have not replied to your offers.

Will admission tutors see my other choices?

No, they are blanked out.

What happens when I click on “send to referee”?

Your form will be locked. It will be available to Ms Kirk and the Academy administration team who check your final reference.

Can I unlock the form?

Yes, Mrs Hall will be able to do this for you. Once unlocked you can make alterations and then click on “send to referee” again.

How long does it take for the form to be sent to UCAS?

It is impossible to be precise. It depends upon how many other forms are being processed at the same time. Early forms may take up to a fortnight; while in November the process may take longer. Ms Kirk and Ms Jones check and sign each form before it is sent to UCAS. It is a lengthy process and patience is required.

Who do I make the cheque payable to?

The cheque is made out to ‘Robert Smyth Academy’ and handed to Mrs Hall. Please do not give it to any other member of staff.

What happens after UCAS receive my form?

UCAS will send you a welcome letter and applicant guide. They will send a copy of your form to your chosen universities and colleges at the same time.

Do institutions respond at the same time?

No – it varies greatly. Sometimes you have to sit an admissions test, and/or attend an interview. Art and Design students usually have to present a portfolio of their work. Some admission tutors wait until the 15th January deadline before making decisions.

What is a conditional offer (C)?

This an offer with certain conditions attached, eg specific grades, possibly in named subjects, or a certain number of UCAS points.

What is a unconditional offer (U)?

This is an offer with no conditions attached. The applicant has met all the entrance requirement, eg for an Art Foundation course.

How long do I have to reply to offers?

Once made, an offer cannot be withdrawn. You should wait until you have had a response from each of your courses before deciding which you will hold on to. You will receive a letter from UCAS giving the date by which you should respond.

How many offers can I hold on to?

Two: a firm and an insurance offer. The ‘firm’ is your first choice and the second offer an ‘insurance’ choice in case you do not make the conditions of your ‘firm’ offer.

Do I have to accept two offers?

No, you can reject them all, accept one only or a maximum of two.

Am I bound by these decisions?

Yes. It is important that you think very carefully before making your decisions. You must not accept an offer if you are not prepared to go to that university.

What can I do if I am holding no offers either because none were made or I have rejected all those that were?

Do not despair; you do not have to wait until Clearing. You can use Extra to apply to further universities and colleges that still have vacancies from 24th February to the end of June. You will be notified by UCAS if and when you become eligible to use Extra.

What is Clearing and Adjustment?

Clearing is a process that runs from A level results day in mid August. It is a system for matching applicants without a place with course vacancies. If you do not get the exam grades you hoped for, and if your places are not confirmed, there is still a chance that you could find a place on a suitable course. You may well have to be flexible about where and what you want to study. Tens of thousands of places are secured through Clearing each year.

Adjustment also runs from A level results day in mid August. It allows those students who have achieved higher grades than expected to ‘trade up’ to a course with more demanding entry requirements. 

Where do I find out about course vacancies if using Clearing?

You will be advised by UCAS through Track if you are eligible for Clearing. Lists of vacancies, including entry requirements, will be published until late September on the UCAS website and in some national newspapers.

What do I do if I find a suitable course vacancy?

You should contact the university/college to express your interest. You may well be interviewed over the phone and offered a place. If so, you will need to enter the course details into Track and the university/college will then confirm your place. If you are unsuccessful you may repeat the process, applying to one at a time.

What if I am away on holiday in the middle of August?

Don’t be! You may well have to make important decisions quickly. You need to contact institutions personally, not your parents or teachers.

Helpful Websites


The official UCAS website.


University and college open days are indexed here.

This site is completely self explanatory.

  • Search  –  search by name, location or institution profiles
  • Calendar  –  open days sorted by date per month
  • Advice  – How to choose a university
  • Advice  –  What questions should I ask at open days
  • Advice – what to look for in a university town or city
  • Advice  –  Gap years
  • Advice  –  five top tips for starting university

Remember you need to book with the university when you want to visit during an open day.


As well as being clued up on the money side of going to university, students will need to choose what they study and where. The Unistats website is a valuable resource which will help students thinking of entering higher education make informed decisions. Containing a set of information referred to as Key Information Sets (KIS), it contains everything students need to know, from student satisfaction, accommodation and finance to graduate employability and lots more.

Other Useful Sites

http://university.which.co.uk/ – A helpful resource for finding and comparing universities and colleges.

http://www.parentadviser.co.uk/ – Free careers resource for parents.

http://themoneycharity.org.uk/advice-information/students/ – Student Finance



Last updated: February 19, 2017