Guidance for higher education advisers

All of the important university application information for higher education advisers in one place

UCAS deadlines

  • 1 September – UCAS application open
  • 15 October – Oxford, Cambridge or most medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses deadline
  • 15 January – majority of undergraduate courses deadline
  • 25 February – UCAS Extra opens.

Student finance deadlines

When the course starts Apply by
Between 1 August and 31 December 31 May
Between 1 January and 31 March 30 September
Between 1 April and 30 June 31 December
Between 1 July and 31 July 31 March

Hints and tips for teachers and advisers

Roland Monger, Strategic Admissions Manager, shares his advice for UCAS application.



There is no secret formula to writing an effective reference but they are increasingly important as it becomes harder to predict grades. What universities find useful is a reference that compliments the personal statement to give a rounded picture of the applicant. Naturally, we want to hear about their academic ability and performance, but other aspects of interest are character, extra-curricular achievements and any demonstrations of leadership or teamwork. We are also keen to hear of any mitigating circumstances that may have had an impact on the applicant. 

Is it the applicant’s choice?

It might not feel like your place to judge but universities can spot very early on if an applicant has been encouraged down a certain path by parents, guardians or other influencers. More often than not this results in an ineffectual application or, even worse, an applicant getting on to a course that they are not invested in. If you spot any signs of this then it is worth having a conversation with the applicant or signposting them to the university to get advice.

Predicted Grades

Although there will be pressure to inflate predicted grades (from applicants, parents and sometimes senior teaching staff), we would always encourage you to be realistic with your predictions. With the reduction in AS level take-up as an indicator of ability, it is more important than ever to get your insight in to how you think your pupils will perform to help universities assess applicants. 

Unconditional Offers

These are a relatively permanent fixture on the landscape now but institutions are changing their approach from one cycle to the next. Responsible institutions are ensuring that applicants are encouraged to continue studying to achieve well, possibly with some financial incentive, even if they have received an unconditional offer prior to completing their studies. For some applicants, having the pressure removed can have a beneficial impact in the run up to their exams but we would warn against inflating predicted grades to get applicants in to this position unfairly.

Jargon buster

Campus university – a university with all of the facilities and teaching spaces in one place rather than spread across the city.

Alumni – students who have graduated from a degree; our graduates are University of Plymouth alumni.

BA (Bachelor of Arts) – an undergraduate degree awarded for a course in an arts related subject. This includes art and design subjects, humanities subjects and some business and management courses.

BEd (Bachelor of Education) – an undergraduate degree awarded for a course in teaching.

BSc (Bachelor of Science) – an undergraduate degree awarded for a course in a science-related subject. This includes mathematics, science subjects, social or health science subjects, engineering subjects and technology-related subjects.

Faculty – a community of students, academics and other staff members who are grouped together for teaching, research and administrative purposes.

Semester – a university teaching term. Semesters usually run from September to January and February to June, with examinations and coursework hand in dates at the end of each semester.