How to submit a UCAS reference

The river and bridge in King's

The UCAS reference (including predicted grades where relevant) is a requirement for all applications

To apply to UK universities, you need to fill in a UCAS form. After you have filled in your part of the form, your referee must provide:

  • an academic reference
  • predicted grades for any exams that you have not yet taken

Your referee fills this information in on the UCAS form itself so that we have it in your electronic file.

Please note that it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that your referee fills in and sends your form to UCAS by the deadline. We do not read late applications so this is very important.

Students at school, university or similar organisations


Your teachers provide information based on your work through the year. Credit: bgilliard

The process is straight-forward and easy:

  1. If your school is not already registered with UCAS, they will need to register with UCAS and get a 'buzzword'.
  2. You need to find out what your school's UCAS buzzword is.
  3. You fill in your UCAS application. You enter the school's buzzword.
  4. You pay and send your UCAS form online.
  5. Your referee receives your form, enters your reference and predicted grades, and submits the form to UCAS online.
  6. You receive an email confirming that your reference has been completed and that your form has been sent to UCAS.

What is the buzzword for?

You use your school's buzzword to connect your application with your school and enable them to write your reference as a trusted institution. If your school has already had students apply to UK universities, they may already be a UCAS centre and have a buzzword. They will be able to tell you what it is.

How does a school become a UCAS centre and get a buzzword?

You must approach your school well before the UCAS deadline and ask them to complete the relevant form on the UCAS website. Please see the page for becoming a UCAS centre.

What support can UCAS give to schools?

There is a UCAS International Team which provides help and guidance. There is also a lot of information on the UCAS website. If your school would like further information, the following links may also be helpful to pass on:

Students who are not at school


Look out for the email confirming that your UCAS reference has been submitted. Credit: Micky Aldridge

If you are not at a school or other organisation which can get a buzzword, you will need to register as an individual when you apply through UCAS.

  1. You enter your referee's contact details in the reference page on the UCAS form
  2. You click Ask referee to complete reference
  3. UCAS will contact your referee
  4. Your referee will send your reference and predicted grades online via UCAS, following the instructions received from UCAS.
  5. You will receive an email confirming that your reference has been sent.

Details are on the UCAS website (click on 'applying as an individual?')

Predicted grades

Please note that we need predicted grades / scores for individual subjects that you are taking as well as any overall grade used in your qualification system.

Further Information

International students | Undergraduate study | Study at King's