Applying and Preparing for University

Applying for University - Top Ten Tips for Parents and Guardians

  1. Start research early– there are many higher education options to choose from! With a huge range of courses available, it is important to research what is right for you.

  2. Register in the UCAS Hub and browse through courses – so you can work out what you would enjoy or be interested in. You will see all the options – including the alternatives to university – to help you see the best way forward.

  3. Draft a personal statement – the following link provides lots of information on writing a personal statement:
    Get plenty of feedback and refine it until you are happy.  

  4. Know the deadlines 
  • 16 October 2023 for 2024 entry at 18:00 (UK time) – deadline for any course at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or for courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry.  
  • 31 January 2024 for 2024 entry at 18:00 (UK time) – deadline for the majority of courses.

5. Go to Course provider open days – Whether you have some or no idea what to study, or if you've applied and you're looking for student deals or careers info, these events give you the chance to ask questions and to see what's available and also give you an idea of what life beyond school or college is like. You can also get advice on finance and other information useful for students.


6. Check entry requirements – Universities/Colleges set their own entry requirements for higher education courses, and these vary widely depending on the subject, the specific course, and the course provider. Entry requirements are set to ensure you have the right skills and knowledge to successfully complete the course. These include:

  • Qualifications, subjects, and exam grades – usually A levels or equivalent-level qualifications, are sometimes converted into UCAS Tariff points. Most courses will also expect you to have some pre-16 qualifications, such as GCSE English and Maths, or their equivalents

  • Suitability – course descriptions often mention skills, interests, or experience it’s good to have, so look out for these details because applications can be quite competitive

  • Admissions test – less common, but check the course requirements to see if you’ll need to sit one.

7. An interview– if you're invited to an interview, you’ll be informed in your UCAS Hub after you've applied, but it might be worth doing some early preparation or putting together a portfolio if required

8. Understand student finance – so you can make the best arrangements to fund your studies.

9. Be prepared for results day – make sure you’re prepared for all the possible outcomes.

10. Understand how Extra and Clearing work – different ways to apply for more courses.



Useful Resources to help you with the UCAS Application Process:

Parent, Guardian and Carer Guide 2024

Some Useful Links for Transition to University:

Student Minds (Know Before You Go)

Student Minds (Transition into University)






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