How to apply
For any help with the UCAS form for UCL, please contact UCL's Widening Participation Unit
UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service which is the central agency that deals with University applications. You only have to fill in 1 application form which UCAS then distributes to the universities of your choice saving you time and effort! UCL requires applicants to apply through UCAS.
How does it work?
In most cases students apply to universities before they have sat their final exams, so your teachers will provide you with your predicted result, and a university will use them as a guide. The application ‘window’ is between 1st September and 15th January each year. We will make an offer of a place or invitation to an interview based on these predicted grades and the quality of the rest of the form and personal statement. A personal statement is basically a short essay describing why you want to study, your interests etc.
Don’t let the UCAS application period creep up on you – try to seek as much independent help and advice possible, read internet blogs from real life students, read stories, ask friends.
This is the UCAS ‘timetable’. It’s not official but is a good guide to helping you through the process.
On here it starts from the year prior to study – so about 18 months before you would start university
Don’t forget that the initial research period can be far earlier depending on how well organised you are.
- You can choose up to 5 courses from up to 5 different universities on your form. However, it is not advisable to apply for 5 courses at the same university.
- The final deadline is 15th JANUARY – try to get in earlier than that!
- Once you have completed your application and sent it off, you will start to receive decisions from the universities you put down on your form – and the entry requirements for that courses. Some universities may well interview you; we generally interview those that are in the UK.
- From those decisions, you have to decide which would be your first and second choices.
Our admissions tutor looks for a number of things on your UCAS form to assess if you have the right qualities for our courses such as:
- GCSE Grades to show a spread of subjects
- Predicted A Levels /BTEC qualifications
- Referees Report
- Personal Statement discussing your motivation for applying, your interests, work experience and extra-curricular activities
- Interview techniques
You must understand however that meeting the entry requirements is an absolute must! If you don’t meet the basic requirements – i.e. a minimum of ABB at A Level, universities may not consider you. It will be a wasted choice. If you are in the UK we will invite you to attend for an interview.
The entire UCAS application process is now online; you can find this at www.ucas.co.uk. You have to create an account for yourself online – and the process costs £15 (your school may pay but it is normally down to you)
There are 3 parts to the form:
- The first part of the form is your personal details and the course and university choices section. Each university has a code name, for example UCL is U80. Each course also has a code – for example BEng Electronic Engineering is H600. Make sure you get them right!
- The second part is your Personal Statement
- And the third part is for your Teacher’s Reference
You can save the form at any time and return to it to complete it.
The personal statement is the most important part of the UCAS form and you only have 300-400 words to make the most out of it! It is the opportunity for you to shine, for you to reveal more about yourself and for admissions tutors to see how you stand out from the rest.
We recommend you work on a draft using a word processor so you can correct it more easily and use a spell checker. Spend 70% on the space on Course Choice and spend 25 -35% on Extra-curricular Activities and how this relates to the academic. Then finish with a concluding statement.
What to include:
In order to make a winning statement, we have provided you with some hints and tips of what to include so that your form will get full consideration by your university.
Rule 1 – Ensure your statement is organised, literate and with a clear layout, no spelling or grammatical mistakes
- What are your motivations towards course choice?
- Why do you want to study Electronic Engineering?
- How has your interest developed over time?
- What have you done to pursue your interest?
- Be specific – give examples!
Your understanding of the course:
- Mention exciting and not so exciting aspects of our course
- This reveals depth and breadth
Relevance to the course you are applying to:
- Don’t talk about an aspect of the couse if it is not offered
- But don’t write your statement in favour if one institution.
Your short and long term motivations for choosing a course and your understanding of this is the most important part of the personal statement. You should aim to spend around 70% of the personal statement on this but don’t forget Rule 1!
Work experience can be arranged though your school or college, normally with the help of the careers adviser / head of year.
Detail any work experience, especially if it is relevant to the course, i.e. Maths, Engineering etc
- Arrange some if needs be
Extra-curricular involvements and activities:
- Try to generate enthusiasm and energy – show the real you!
- Demonstrate your time-management/prioritu making skills
- Be reflective, talk about how your experiences have developed you as a person.
- Are your extra-curricular activities relevant to the couse?
Mention career plans/gap year plans
- What’s the long term goal?
If you think that you’ve missed out on something, you can arrange your own experience at weekends or during the holidays. Never lie about work experience you will be found out!
- How do you select people for interview?
- A copy of your UCAS form is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor, who pays close attention to your qualifications, status and interest in the subject.
Dependent upon the information on your UCAS form, interviews are offered to UK-resident applicants. If you are an EU or overseas applicant, we asses your UCAS form and, if needed, we will offer you an interview over the phone. We also offer you the chance for an interview if you are visiting the UK – but do not encourage you to make a specific journey to London just for this purpose.
- What are the interviews like?
- Interviews allow us to assess your intellectual ability and how interested you are in Electrical Engineering. The interviews typically last around 20-30 minutes. They will be a mix of general questions about your experiences as well as technical questions where we try and find out how you think through problems.
- Who will interview me?
- All interviews are conducted by a member of academic staff.
- How can I prepare for the interview?
- We test how much knowledge you already have, so we advise you to learn and understand the basics of engineering. We also like to know if you share a passion for electronic engineering, so it is good to ask yourself why you really want to study it.
- What happens after the interview?
- Your interviewer will write a short assessment and recommendation to the Admissions Tutor. The Admissions Tutor assesses your UCAS form and makes a decision regarding whether to make an offer to you. This decision is processed by the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, UCAS is updated and the decision is available on-line.
- Does anything else happen when I am invited to interview?
- You will be welcomed to the Department by the Admissions Tutor, meet other enthusiastic applicants and receive a welcome pack with information about the Department and UCL. There is a short induction talk about the Department and what we can offer you. There is a tour of the department and its facilities, and the opportunity to speak with current students and other members of staff. This is a great way to learn about the social side of UCL life, and see how friendly we are as a department.
You will normally get a letter from UCAS after we have made our decision – and you can also view these decisions online using your UCAS online account. We will say either:-
- Unconditional Offer (If you already have the grades, you’re in)
- Conditional Offer (Only if meet the grades required)
- Refused (Sorry your application was unsuccessful)
Once you have received all your letters you will receive a final letter will be from UCAS outlining your choices/summary of the offers made. You have to decide which is your Firm Choice (your preferred course) and your Insurance Choice (if you don’t make the grades for your Firm Choice) - this should be a course that has lower grade requirements in case you just miss your predicted grades. However, you don’t have to pick an Insurance choice if you don’t want to!
In recent years we have not accepted applicants through clearing, but please check the clearing website.
We are supportive of students who want to take a year off before starting university. Indeed, we don't mind how many years off you have taken as long as you are sufficiently qualified and enthusiastic when you do decide to study. Around 20% of students take a gap year before applying to university but very few plan their year to their benefit. So one thing to remember about a gap year is to use it wisely! If you choose to use your gap year to earn extra money before starting the course, try to choose work relevant to Engineering or something for society such as a VSO. On your UCAS form you may like to bring out the skills you will (or hope to) achieve such as leadership skills, teamwork etc.
You can apply through UCAS and choose to defer year of entry to the year after so that you can take a gap year. Always say on your UCAS form what you intend to do on your gap year and how you hope it will develop you as a person.
For advice on gap years refer to www.gapadvice.org