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How to Apply to UK Universities

Published by Afterschool.my on Jun 29, 2017, 04:21 pm

For undergraduate entrance, the only way to apply to UK universities is through the Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS) portal. Neither the constituent colleges nor the departments accept direct applications to their office. This applies even for portfolio-based subjects such as music and fine arts.

For those who plan to apply for Oxford, Cambridge, and other top universities, they will have to apply through UCAS.


How to apply go UCAS (General Guideline)

  1. Fill in the UCAS form, which requires personal details, personal statement, reference, and other supporting documents. More information can be found here: http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/undergraduate/filling-your-application
  2. Fill in the UCAS undergraduate application form at www.ucas.com/apply. Select the college/university of your choice by entering their institution code. The list of institution codes can be found here. UCAS allows you to choose up to six institutions of higher learning.
  3. Write up a personal statement to be attached to your UCAS application. Submit your application form.
  4. UCAS sends copies of your application form to each of the institutions that you have listed. Each university will decide whether to make you an offer. They may ask you to achieve certain exam results. Decisions will be sent to UCAS.
  5. UCAS will forward the responses from the universities to you or you can check online using UCAS Track.
  6. UCAS will ask you to decide which two offers, if any, you want to hold while you wait for your results. You must respond to UCAS with your decision and not directly to the universities.
  7. If you meet the conditions of your offer, the institution will confirm your place
  8. If you do not meet the conditions, but your results are acceptable and places are available they may also confirm your place.
  9. If you do not have a place at this stage (August) you should enter into clearing.


  1. The Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) and the UCAS form must reach the University of Cambridge by:

1.1.    20th September for those wishing to be interviewed in Malaysia

1.2.    15th October for those wishing to be interviewed in Cambridge

1.3.    For those applying for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, the UCAS form must be submitted by 15th October

  1. Fill in the UCAS undergraduate application form at www.ucas.com/apply. Enter the institution code for Cambridge which is CAM C05.
  2. University of Cambridge has a collegiate system where the university is an association comprising 31 different colleges.

3.1.    When choosing a college, you have 2 options: you can either choose a particular college to receive your application, or you can make an ‘open application’ and accept the allocation made by a computer programme. In both cases, your UCAS application will be sent to a college, and that college will assess it.

3.2.    To choose a college you must consider certain aspects:


Write up a personal statement to be attached to your UCAS application.

  1. Fill up the Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA). COPA is a form that has 9 sections – application type, personal details, application details, education, qualifications, choral/organ, fees & funding, additional information, and pay & submit. More information can be found at http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/copa.html
  2. Complete the online Supplementary Answer Questionnaire (SAQ). Shortly after your UCAS application, you’ll receive an email asking you to complete SAQ. More information can be found at htt://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/saq.html
  3. Prepare for and take an Interview (either in Malaysia or Cambridge).
  4. Sit for any additional Cambridge Assessments (e.g. Cambridge law test, BMAT, TSA, etc.)
  5. Wait for your admission results to be released.


  1. Apply on the UCAS website. You need to apply a year before the start date of your course. The deadline is 6pm UK time on 15 October every year.
  2. On your application form, enter the institution code for Oxford which is O33.
  3. Oxford has a collegiate system. It has 30 colleges, and most of them offer most courses. They all have the same academic standards and extra-curricular opportunities don’t vary as much. Facilities, however, may vary between colleges.  Students can make an open application by choosing campus code 9 on their UCAS application. The system will randomly assign your application to a college or hall that offers your course.
  4. Students applying for Oxford don’t necessarily need to choose a college, however those who wish to be in a specific college can refer to this link http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/colleges/college-listing. For a more detailed description of each college, they can refer to this link http://d3upfpng8piaqj.cloudfront.net/OU_2014_Colleges.pdf  If a college is very oversubscribed for a particular course, the college might pass you to another college for interview instead. In 2013, 34% of successful applicants got an offer from a college they didn’t specify.
  5. You may also need to register for a test or send in written work, depending on which course you are applying for. Check your course page here. A written work should be no more than 2,000 words and must be received by the college by 10 November. Most colleges require students to post their written work.

5.1.     The typical requirement for entry in terms of A-level grades are A*AA. Oxford typically does not impose harsh entry conditions because the bulk of the assessment is normally already done at the interview stage.

  1. There is no separate Oxford application form, unless you are applying for Accelerated Medicine, it’s a course for science degree holders. Applicants must a complete a Supplementary Application Form, in addition to the UCAS application form, to be submitted by 15 October.
  2. For those applying for choral or organ award (these are awards to singers and organists), candidates must complete an additional Online Application Form by 1 September. Prepare for and take an Interview. Interview takes place in December, after the end of term.
  3. Sit for any additional tests for those who applied for courses that require examination.
  4. Wait for your admission results to be released.

important dates

How about entrance examinations?

Depending on the course and college you apply to, entrance examinations do exist as part of the application for quite a number of subjects.

For instance, at Oxford there is a Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) for entry to the MPhys and MEngSci courses, the Mathematics Aptitude Test (MAT) for entry to the Mathematics and Statistics courses, and the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) for the BA Jurisprudence course. All subject tests, except for the LNAT, are centrally administered by Oxford’s Admissions Testing Service.

For Cambridge, there is the Cambridge Law Tests and written work for BA Law, the Bio-Medical Admission Test (BMAT) for medicine and veterinary medicine. All tests are administered by Cambridge’s Admission Testing Service

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