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What is the process of applying to HE?

UCAS and the application process

Students applying for a higher education course at university or college will usually do so through UCAS which is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. For students in full time education, it is the school or college they are attending who will process and send the UCAS application once they have checked it and uploaded a UCAS reference including predicted grades.

It can be a daunting experience for students and parents alike, but there is a wealth of information available to help young people with the process, alongside excellent support from tutors at schools & colleges.

UCAS handles the majority of course applications and students apply to a maximum of 5 different courses which are then sent by UCAS to the 5 institutions to consider. All decisions and offers are made through UCAS and everything is completed online.

UCAS have a dedicated page on their website for parents including a guide about the application process.

Important dates

The important thing to remember is that the process involves a number of important dates / deadlines and these must be adhered to. The main ones happen in and around the following months. Please visit UCAS for the exact calendar dates

January - Deadline for the majority of undergraduate courses

February - Extra starts for eligible applicants

August - A level results day

In any given year the dates of October 15th and January 25th are important

October 15th is the deadline for medicine, veterinary science, dentistry and Oxbridge applications and January 25th is the deadline for all other courses.

Once the application has been received students use UCAS Track to see the decisions of the institutions they have applied to and they are given specific dates that they need to reply by to decide on their firm choice (preferred course) and their insurance choice (2nd choice).

Supporting your child

During the time that your child is choosing what course(s) to apply to it is important that they research their options fully. There are a number of websites that students can use to find out more about their preferred course. These websites usually rank universities based on a number of different criteria, and so can be used to compare courses / institutions.

There is more information on how to use these websites in the Careerpilot section Higher Education at 18 and above.

There will be tutors in school / college that will support students with their personal statements - this makes up the main part of the application form. This article provides a little more guidance on the important things to remember - How to write an effective personal statement

For more information try the following links:

How can I help my child choose the right university and the right course?

Careerpilot - Higher Education at 18+

You've applied - Now what? (WON Video) - A video to show what happens following a student's UCAS application

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