Find out about applying to University generally, and more specifically about our university’s admission process.


Once you have chosen which course(s) you would be interested in studying you need to make an application to your chosen University. Depending on the course your application will need to be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) or directly to the University.

Applications procedures will differ depending on the University and the course you have chosen to study but you may be invited to attend an interview, complete tests or submit examples of your work as part of this process.

You should also think about declaring your autism on your application form, this will not impact on the Universities decision to offer/not offer a place but it will enable you to access support and adjustments if required.

How could this affect me?

Knowing more about the application and admissions process will enable you to prepare, and think about whether you require any support or adjustments through this process e.g. extra time for interviews. If you have any concerns about the admissions process and would like to talk about your options for support, you can contact the Disability Advice team.

A current UoP student, Holly, has given us some advice about the challenges she faced when applying to university:

  • When applying for university I was worried about filling in all of the necessary paperwork and that I would get something wrong which would mean I would not be accepted in to university.
  • I had difficulty answering certain questions due to the wording or because I did not know the answer.
  • I spoke to my mentor at the time who was really helpful and patient with me, going through each question and explaining what was being asked in more detail and how best to answer them.
  • I also was quite worried about the personal statement as it seemed very formal and I was worried I would not be able to portray my feelings in to a written document.
  • The key thing that helped with this was being able to look at past examples and templates which were provided by the college I attended at the time.
  • I also thought it was really important that I was able to start writing it as soon as possible so that I was able to have it read and checked.
  • The main suggestion I would make to anyone else applying is to take their time and think about what they want to say.
  • Planning things out is always helpful and can make any piece of writing better structured and informative.

What to do next?

Become familiar with the admissions process and consider telling the University about your autism.

Practical tips

General tips

  • Check if you need to apply through UCAS (in most cases), or if you apply directly to the university.
  • Find out what evidence you need to support your application; examples of work, a portfolio or a personal statement, for example (see below for advice on writing a personal statement).
  • Check when you should apply. Make a note of important deadline dates.
  • Consider if you will require any adjustments or support during the interview or selection event; contact the Disability Advice team if you feel that this would be useful for you.
  • Once you have received a firm offer, consider applying for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA); the process can sometimes take a while, so the sooner you apply, the more likely it is that you can get some support in place for the start of your studies.
  • Consider disclosing your diagnosis in the UCAS form You can read here an article discussing the implications of disclosing, or not, your autism diagnosis.

Tips for writing a personal statement

Many universities will ask you to submit a personal statement as part of your application. This statement is your opportunity to explain why you believe you are a strong candidate for a particular course of study. Write your statement in rough to start with, and get someone to check it over before you submit it; remember that first impressions count!


Research the course that you are applying for thoroughly, and identify the skills and interests that you will need to study it. Your statement should highlight:

  • What interests you about the subject
  • Why you have chosen this course in particular
  • What skills you bring to the course
  • Your relevant experience
  • Your ambitions and how you see this course fulfilling those ambitions
  • Keep your statement concise, preferably one side of A4 (around 500-600 words).
  • Make sure that your sentences and paragraphs are structured correctly.
  • Do not use slang or abbreviations.
  • Each point you discuss should flow on to the next point.
  • Try to avoid starting every sentence with ‘I’.

Questions to think about

  • What is the application process for your chosen course?
  • What do you need to submit to support your application?
  • Do you need to write a personal statement?
  • Do you need to provide evidence in the form of a portfolio of work?
  • When are the deadlines for applications?
  • When should you expect to hear if your application has been successful?
  • Who do you need to contact at your chosen university to discuss disability support?

Additional information and links

You can find out more about the admissions procedures at University of Portsmouth Admissions Centre. You can declare your autism on your application form or contact the Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre team directly.

You may want to read

This toolkit is an adaptation of the Autism&Uni project led by Marc Fabri from Leeds Beckett University, under license CC BY 4.0. The original Autism&Uni project was funded with support from the European Commission with partners in the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. For more information about this project please visit the Autism&Uni website.