UK v US applications – the Application Schedule and Process  


The vast majority of UK universities are publicly funded to some extent and subscribe to UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) – the UK’s ‘common application’ process for all university applications. Students can do a course search through the UCAS portal to identify suitable degree courses but you should also check the actual course requirements, grades and information about your course on the individual university websites.  

The UK – UCAS applications  

  • UCAS opens each year on September 1st. 
  •  Students apply to five institutions or courses on one UCAS form  
  • There is only ONE Personal Statement of 4,000 characters for all applications 
  • You can only apply to either Oxford OR Cambridge in any one academic year 
  • Competitive institutions or subjects have an early application deadline of 15th October – a year before entry –  this includes Oxbridge, Medicine, Veterinary and Dentistry 
  • Medical applicants can only choose four medical schools and one other non-medical choice 
  • Most other applications have to be submitted by the second deadline of 15th January.  
  • Art and Design applicants can apply until 24th March.  
  • Applications received after the 15th January deadline will be marked as LATE and may not even be considered.  
  • Students who have applied by January 15th deadline, may receive offers as early as 24 hours following their application but also may not hear until early May.  
  • Offers are usually conditional on students achieving grades specified by each university.  
  • Students then have to accept or decline their offers: usually accepting one FIRM choice and one INSURANCE choice – deadline 7th June for the January deadline applicants. 


US – Early Decision 1, Early Decision 11, Regular Admissions, Common App applications  


US Universities are either Public or Private institutions. Applications can be on a financial needs base as well as academic and extra-curricular. US students can apply via the Common App or a Coalition Application or to an individual institution.  

  • Application portals open on 1st August 
  • The US Early application season is usually between November and January each year 
  • Regular application deadlines are between January and March  
  • Students apply to the University, College or School as an undergraduate, not to a specific degree 
  •  Common App students can choose between 7 essay prompts and submit two or three essays  
  • Essays can be much more Personal than the UCAS Personal Statement 
  • Students need to register for SATs, ACTS or any other tests they are expected to take 
  • Offers are not specifically conditional and will not specify grades.  
  • Students need to accept their offers by March