How to apply for college

If you’re interested in attending further education to improve your career, you’ll need to know how to apply for college. The process is pretty simple, although there’s a lot of admin to do, but the most important thing is timing.


There are over 37,000 undergraduate courses currently being run at 370 institutes in the UK. Most applicants choose up to five similar courses to increase their chances of getting a place so be prepared to compromise. Before you get a handle on stuff like entry requirements and application deadlines, you’ll need to find the right courses for you. You can do this through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Check out their site ucas.com for a comprehensive list of the courses available.

Apply and track

You can use UCAS to make your application. The first stage with this basically involves completing and submitting the application before the deadline. You’ll find that there’s competition for placements so don’t delay your application. If your application’s received after the deadline, you’re giving the institute the opportunity to automatically reject it. There’s a nominal fee to pay (currently it’s £12 for a single choice and £23 for multiple choices).

How to complete the application form

If you have the mind-set that the application should be completed over a number of days, you’ll find the process easy enough. Whether you're applying to Oxford and Cambridge or your local university, all applications involve lots of questions so take your time, keep saving your progress and return to the form regularly. It’ll soon be complete. You’ll find a useful tutorial video on the subject at ucas.com.

Consumer rights

It pays to be aware of your consumer rights before you commit to a course as you may feel the need to be reimbursed for the course. Studying is expensive, so as with any other major purchase, understand your rights to cancel. This is a complicate subject, particularly when discussing a service like education, so head to gov.uk for all the details.

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