10 things to consider if your son or daughter is planning on applying to university

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It may seem like only a week ago that your son or daughter was learning to ride their bicycle or begging you for more pocket money. Now you’re sitting down over dinner with a mature young adult telling you: “I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I’m pretty sure that university is the path for me”.

Originally published in A+ Education South East Autumn 2015


If this conversation sounds familiar to you, then it’s perfectly understandable that you may feel a little daunted by this prospect – but there’s no need to feel alone as we’re here to help. Whether you’ve been through this process before or are new to higher education we have all of the information and advice you need on our website.

There are a lot of different aspects for your son or daughter to consider when applying to university, such as student finance, subject choice and how the application process works. Our top 10 tips will provide all of the information they need during this exciting, if not a little nerve-wracking, time.


1. Start researching early - There are a lot of great opportunities out there and a huge range of courses available, so it’s important that they find what’s right for them. There are other options too, including alternatives to uni, so they should start researching now to help them decide the best way forward.

2. Know the deadlines - Some courses require applications almost a year in advance of the start date, so it’s worth researching this and getting started early.

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3. Browse through courses - With over 37,000 undergraduate courses at over 370 providers in the UK, it’s really important to look at what’s on offer to see what they’d enjoy or be interested in. Most applicants choose five similar courses to increase their chance of getting a place.

4. Attend events and open days - It’s always beneficial to talk about higher education options in person. UCAS conventions and university open days are free to attend and will give them a chance to ask questions and see for themselves what’s available.

5. Check entry requirements - Make sure they can achieve the grades they need to be accepted on a course. These are set by the course providers as a guideline of the recommended academic ability they’ll need.

6. Get a second opinion on their personal statement - They should describe why they want to study a particular subject and why they’re so passionate about it, as well talking about the skills and experience that make them suitable. It’s important to get feedback and refine it until they’re happy.

7. Get to grips with student finance - To make sure they make the best arrangements to fund their studies your son or daughter needs to understand what support is available to them. There’s a wide range of finance options to help people through their course so make sure they research thoroughly.

8. Be prepared for results day - Make sure they’re prepared for all the possible outcomes. If their offer relies on them getting certain results, it’s on this day they will see if they’ve achieved what’s needed to confirm their place. If they miss out on what they’d hoped for, then it’s most definitely not the end of the world. However, being prepared will help them understand what other options there are.

9. Understand how Extra and Clearing work - These are both alternative ways to apply for courses, and being prepared will help if they decide to use one of these routes.

10. Visit our Facebook and Twitter - To get advice and ask any questions they may have.


Hopefully this gives you an insight into what this process entails. It’s an important decision for your son or daughter so should be well thought through.

If you need them, there are more resources, including in-depth information and advice, and our new 90 second videos which were made specifically for parents at www.ucas.com/parents.

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