Home > Uncategorized > No UCAS points? No problem!

No UCAS points? No problem!

no ucasIf you were educated outside the UK or are a mature student it’s likely that the qualifications that won you a place at university won’t be included in the UCAS points tariff.  While this won’t have been a problem when you were applying to university it can cause difficulties if you want to apply to a company that requires a minimum UCAS points score for its graduate schemes or placements.  Suzanne Ball from our Careers Adviser team explains what the UCAS points tariff is and gives some tips on what to do if you encounter difficulties because you don’t have any UCAS points.

What are UCAS points and why do employers ask for them?

UCAS points were designed to help university admissions tutors set entry requirements for their degree courses.  Qualifications taken by school and college leavers in the UK are awarded points which vary depending on the level of the qualification and grade achieved. Although the UCAS tariff wasn’t designed to be used by employers, some large companies do use UCAS points to help them filter applicants for their placements and graduate schemes.  You can read more about why some employers use them here.

Can I find out if my qualifications have UCAS points?

Your first port of call should be the UCAS website as this has sets of tables giving details of which courses attract UCAS points.  The tariff does include a few international qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, however the vast majority of international qualifications and some UK qualifications aren’t included. International students may find it helpful to speak to someone in the Admissions team in the Student Centre as staff there will be able to tell you the UK equivalents to the qualifications you gained in your home country which may help you to work out a UCAS points score.  Bear in mind, however, that this won’t necessarily help you if the employer specifies that the UCAS score should be taken from your best three A Levels or if your score turns out to be lower than the employer is asking for.  If you are a UK student without the traditional university entry requirements then it may not be possible to give you any sort of UCAS points equivalence.

If I don’t have UCAS points, does this mean I can’t apply for some placements or graduate schemes?

Don’t worry if you don’t have any UCAS points as this shouldn’t be a barrier to applying for jobs and placements – particularly if you meet all the other requirements. You may encounter some problems during the application process but read on to find out how to tackle these.

So what should I do when filling out application forms or writing my CV?

Online application forms are usually the main cause of difficulties as they will often include a section that asks you to enter your UCAS score.  If this section includes a box where you can enter some text you could clearly and concisely explain your situation.  If the entry requirements for your degree course match or are higher than the UCAS score the employer is looking for then you could mention this.  In many cases, however, there isn’t the option to enter some text and you either have to select from a drop-down menu or enter three numbers.  If this happens then you’ll need to contact the employer directly to explain your situation and ask them what you should do.  It can sometimes be difficult to work out how to get in touch so try looking at the recruitment pages of their website – there will often be a generic recruitment team email address.  Alternatively try looking at the contact us section of the company’s website and use the most appropriate email address.  Make sure you include your name, any reference/candidate number you were given when you registered on the company’s recruitment site, the job title and any reference numbers for the post you’re applying for.  Clearly this will slow down the application process so you’ll need to start applications well before the deadline in case you need to contact the company to ask for guidance.  If you are applying using a CV you have more control over how to present your qualifications and you should include some explanation either on the CV itself or in the cover letter. If you would like help with how to present your situation to an employer you can make an appointment for a one-to-one with one of our Careers Advisers.

Don’t forget…

The UCAS points issue is only likely to cause problems while you’re a student or a new graduate; once you’ve landed your first graduate job it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever be asked your UCAS points score again!

Please note, this is the second instalment of our UCAS blogs. Click on the following link to read the first instalment: UCAS Points – Who Needs Them?

Suzanne Ball is the Careers Adviser for the School of Creative Arts and the School of Health & Social Work at the University of Hertfordshire.  She regularly tweets about all things creative via @careerview

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: