Image of students applying through UCAS

 by an Admissions Officer from Edge Hotel School
, posted On 14 Mar '18

Direct university applications explained: how do direct applications compare to UCAS applications?

As a teacher or careers adviser, how often do you explain to your students the difference between applying for their university options directly or via UCAS? If you do not, and you only explain the UCAS option, this blog will help introduce direct applications and the difference between each application route.

What are direct applications?

If a student knows there is only one course for them and they have made their mind up, then applying directly could be for them. It not only saves time by not having to trawl though UCAS to find a course that suits them (and money on the UCAS registration fees!), it also saves time in the long run as there is only one institution that the student is waiting to hear from.

A disadvantage is that there is no insurance option if they apply directly, unless the institution can adjust the offer to an alternative course post results day. Also, many institutions will not allow direct applications so a student would need to check that too.

How about UCAS - what is different with applications through this service?

UCAS allows students to pick up to five courses to apply for. As all of the courses sit on the UCAS system, it means students can keep track on their progress and have a central hub for any queries they may have. UCAS also offers many extras – such as video tutorials, FAQs and guidance for teachers.

It is also a safer option for those that are unsure of what they want to do – UCAS offers the option of comparing many different courses, enabling students to make their top five choices. The downside is that they have to wait for all five institutions to reply before they can reply to their offers (unless they remove the option they are waiting for).

One final note..

The final thing to note is that institutions who offer a direct application route will generally have no preference between direct applicants and UCAS applicants and the admissions process is largely the same, so either option students choose will not affect their chances of being offered a place.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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