TENS OF thousands of students will be able to apply to university by e-mail under a revolutionary system of electronic admissions that goes live this week.
More than 3,100 schools and colleges are planning to use computerised applications this autumn and admissions officials believe that four out of five applications will be made electronically by 2003.
University admissions officials say virtual application forms offer sixth formers a head start, by getting applications to admissions tutors many times faster than conventional applications. The electronic forms can be processed in three days, rather than up to three weeks for conventional written entries.
Software produced by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) is designed to eliminate common errors that can cause confusion and delay applications. Under the new system it is impossible to submit an incomplete entry and incorrect course codes and other details are highlighted automatically.
A spokesman for Ucas said: "This is an opportunity for thousands of students to get a head start because the electronic applications will get to universities faster than conventional applications.
"The new system is administratively much quicker and rules out most of the basic errors. Quite often people get the course code wrong or put in incorrect details. As more and more schools and colleges go online we expect the popularity of this to take off. …