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Being nagged at school to apply for a UCAS Card. It has a pretty website that tries to explain what the hell it is, but doesn't do a very good job. Apparently it'll help me get info on higher education as well as receiving exciting special offers by email. Oh, wait.

Nah, I'm not that naïve. It was pretty obvious from them asking for my email, address, and mobile phone number, and presenting a form with a load of small print and four checkboxes at the bottom that they want to sell my data. Part of the small print being that the scheme isn't operated by UCAS itself but by "UCAS Enterprises Ltd" with their unique database for bespoke direct marketing material.

But anyway, I checked two of the boxes (a T&C agreement and an opt-out, the other two being opt-ins so that if you blindly check everything you still end up volunteering for junk) and submitted it. At least I'll be able to bitch at them if they spam the unique email address I gave them, and I'll still get the card so I can get discounts on stuff I'll never end up using.

But then I suppose I'll get on enough marketing lists eventually, and getting junk mail is now an unavoidable part of growing up (and judging by my email account, I'm really old already)...

Random notes:

  • The silliest part of the process was having to remember a centre number when they could have just provided a search function, or used the exam system numbers that we all remember. Just to be annoying: The UCAS card numbers for Beverley Joint Sixth are 13365 for Beverley Grammar School, and 13366 for Beverley High School.
  • I'll admit, I don't actually know what "bespoke" means and I don't plan on looking it up until after I post this. I'm guessing it's one of those business words that sounds really nice and doesn't mean much more than "good".
  • The form helpfully timed out "for security reasons" whilst I was writing this and made me re-enter everything. Thanks.
  • I know I'm being cynical, but I think it says something about the expected intelligence of university applicants when they don't trust us to enter a year of birth manually, instead offering a dropdown box the height of the screen.
  • And just for fun, the main content of the site doesn't need a card number at all - it's here. Don't expect much, unless you love Flash games where you bash the keyboard to stop a poorly-drawn dog falling over.

⇐19 Dec 2006 - The odd one out. / 17 Dec 2006 - Eyes. Bleeding.⇒


A good start.

From: "UCAS Media" Subject: Finding the right course for you... Dear (Recipient First Name), So I suppose the "right course for ... / Trackback from Blog on 12 Jan 2007 at 18:42.

You wait till you have to use their system to apply to university. You have to add your subjects in grade / alphabetical order, but you can just move them up or down - you have to delete them and add them in order or else, and then theres UCAS Track! Bet you can't wait. / Comment from Gill on 19 Dec 2006 at 19:37.

They fixed that for 2008. :P / Comment from Robert Marshall on 27 Jun 2007 at 21:56.

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