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UCAS can be tricky to understand and engage with. UCAS has come up with this handy jargon buster to allow potential student to fully understand what it is all about.

Adjustment – in a UCAS Undergraduate application, one of the services you can use to look for alternative courses. This one’s in case you’ve met and exceeded your conditions and you’d like to see if you can get on a course with higher entry requirements – all while still holding your original confirmed place. 

Adviser – someone who provides you with information, advice, and support with your application. This could be a teacher, tutor, counsellor, or agent. 

Apply – the name of our online application system. (For postgraduate courses, Apply is combined with Track.) 

Bachelor's degree – a three or four year course you can take in undergraduate higher education after you’ve finished further education – also known as a ‘first degree’ or ‘undergraduate degree’. Most courses are either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. 

Buzzword – for UCAS Undergraduate applications, your school, college, or centre will give you a buzzword so you can link your application to them. It's a word you add to your application when you register to make a UCAS Undergraduate application (unless you're applying independently). 

Centre – a school, college, or organisation that can help students apply to higher education. 

Changed course offer – in your application, you might get one of these if you haven’t met your conditions, or if the university or college has made changes to the courses they run. It might involve a different start date or point of entry, or a different course altogether. 

Choice – a choice is a course you apply for on your application – many students make multiple choices to increase their chances of getting a place. 

Clearing – in a UCAS Undergraduate application, Clearing is another service you can use to look for alternative courses. If you didn’t get a place on a course – whether you didn’t receive offers, declined your offers, or didn’t get the grades you needed – Clearing allows you to apply for courses that still have vacancies. 

College – a provider of further and higher education. When we use the term 'uni' or 'university', this is often a generic reference that incorporates colleges too. For example, when we say 'applying to university', we mean 'applying to university or college', but in a more concise way. 

Conditional offer – in your application, an offer of a place on a course subject to conditions. To be accepted on the course, you’ll need to meet the conditions – usually related to your exam results. This is a common type of offer for students applying directly from further education. 

Confirmation – in your application, the outcome of a conditional offer you’ve accepted. If you meet the conditions, your place will be made unconditional (meaning you’ve got a place on the course) – if not, the offer will be declined. 

Conservatoire – a provider of performance-based music, dance, screen, and drama courses. 

Course – there are many different courses across different levels, subjects, and locations – from foundation degrees to PhDs. 

Course and training providers – a university, college, conservatoire, School Direct school, or other provider offering higher education courses. 

Deferral – in your application, this is what you do if you’d like to carry an offer over to start it in the following academic year.  

Entry requirements – this is what the course provider recommends you need to do/have to get on the course – from qualifications and specific subjects or grades, to interviews, admissions tests, and medical requirements. You aren't guaranteed an offer if you meet or already have these. 

Extra – in a UCAS Undergraduate application, Extra is a service you can use to apply for alternative places if you do not hold an offer from your first five choices. 

Fresher – slang term for students in their first year of university. 

Firm choice – in your application, an offer you accept as your first choice. 

Graduate – a student who has completed and graduated from an undergraduate course – they can now apply for postgraduate courses if they’d like to. 

Higher education (HE) – the level of education we can help you apply to – from undergraduate courses when you’ve finished further education, to postgraduate courses you can move on to after graduating from an undergraduate degree. 

Insurance choice – in your application, an offer you accept as your second choice – just in case you don’t meet the conditions of your firm offer. 

Personal ID – the ten-digit number you get when you register to Apply – displayed in 123-456-7890 format on every email we send you. You’ll be asked for this if you get in touch with our Customer Experience Centre. 

Personal statement – a piece of text applicants write to show why they’re applying and why they’d be a great student for a course provider to accept. 

Predicted grades – the grades a teacher, tutor, or other adviser qualified to remark on a student’s academic suitability believes they will achieve when they complete their secondary qualification. 

Referee – in your application, someone who provides a reference for you. 

Sandwich course – a course with an additional year where you work in the profession you're studying for. 

Tariff – the UCAS Tariff is the system for allocating points to the different qualifications you can use to get into undergraduate higher education. Not all qualifications will be included in the Tariff. It is for use in admissions only and is not transferable to the job market. 

Track – the name of our online tracking system where you can see how your application is progressing. Here you can reply to offers and make amendments, like changing your email address etc. (For postgraduate courses, Apply is combined with Track.) 

UCAS – the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service in the UK. This includes the main UCAS Undergraduate application service, as well as the other services UCAS runs, i.e., UCAS Conservatoires, UCAS Teacher Training, and UCAS Postgraduate. UCAS also help students from 13 years old onwards with UCAS Progress. 

Unconditional offer – in your application, an offer of a place on a course with no conditions – the place is yours if you want it. 

Undergraduate – the first level of study in higher education. If you graduate from an undergraduate degree, you can move on to postgraduate study. 

University – (or ‘uni’ for short) – a provider of higher education. 

Unsuccessful – in your application, either you haven’t been made an offer or you haven’t met the conditions of a conditional offer. 

Withdrawal – in your application, before the decision has been made to make you an offer or not, either you or the university or college can withdraw a choice.