Applying for University

UCAS is the organisation responsible for managing applications to full-time undergraduate courses in the UK. The UCAS application is a big step into the unknown for many young people, and it can seem like a daunting prospect for you as parents too, as you try to guide your son or daughter through the process. The key to making a successful application is preparation and thorough research beforehand, which will enable them to make the right choices for the right reasons.

Applying to university can be broken down into six steps:


There are so many different courses and universities to choose from, so where should your son or daughter begin? The course search facility on the UCAS website is the best place, as this allows them to search by subject area and location, and it also offers details of course content and minimum entry requirements. Each university and college has different entry requirements, so they should read them carefully and try to match their predicted exam grades to these when choosing courses.

Its always worth visiting the universities that they're considering, to see what it would be like to live and study there - after all the majority of undergraduate courses last for a minimum of three years so it needs to be somewhere they'd feel comfortable.

After thorough research, your son or daughter will need to narrow their choices down to a maximum of five.


The UCAS application is online and can be found at There are some simple steps your son or daughter will need to take to complete it:

Registration: Your son or daughter will be allocated a username and then asked to choose a password when they register. They must ensure that this password is kept somewhere safe because without it their application will not be accessible.

Completing the application: The number of logins isn't restricted so there is plenty of opportunity to make sure the application is accurate and a true reflection of their interests and ability.

The Personal statement is the section that usually takes the longest to complete. You son or daughter should spend plenty of time planning what to write here because it's their opportunity to really show the universities how dedicated they are to their chosen subject.

Read about professional University personal statement writing help at

If they are applying through their school or college then they will submit their application to them first, and once it has been checked the school will send it to UCAS.

If they are applying on their own, perhaps because they've already left education, they'll send their application directly to UCAS.

When UCAS receives the completed application, it will be sent to your son or daughter's chosen universities for consideration.

Step 3: OFFERS

After your son's or daughter's application has been sent to UCAS and their Welcome letter has arrived, they can begin checking the progress of their application using Track at When each university makes a decision it will be displayed on Track.

The universities will make one of four decisions:

. a conditional offer means the university is offering your son or daughter a place but they must meet certain criteria first of all (usually based on exam results)

. an unconditional offer means they are offering a place and that your son or daughter has already met the criteria

. an invitation decision means they would like your son or daughter to attend an interview or audition before they can decide whether to make an offer

. an unsuccessful decision means they are not offering your son or daughter a place.

Once all five decisions show on Track, your son or daughter will need to make their replies.

For conditional offers there are some important decisions to be made:

They can select a 'firm' choice (this is their favourite), and they can also accept a second offer as their 'insurance' choice (usually with lower conditions).

If they are subsequently unsuccessful in meeting the conditions for their firm choice then their insurance choice can accept them if they've met their conditions.

The importance of the insurance choice
It's really important to use the insurance choice wisely, and it's best that this offer has more easily achievable conditions than the firm choice. It should also be a course at a university your son or daughter would be happy to study at, as this is where they could be placed if they aren't accepted by their firm choice. It's not compulsory to have an insurance choice.

No offers - a chance to use UCAS Extra
If your son or daughter is unsuccessful with all five choices or declines any offers they receive, then they will be eligible to use UCAS Extra.

Extra enables them to add another choice, and if that one is unsuccessful too, they can add a further choice.

Extra is open between the end of February and the end of June.

If they are made an offer through Extra that they would like to accept, they can make this their firm choice, but they will not be able to have an insurance choice in this instance.


In most cases, your son or daughter's exam results will be sent to the universities by UCAS. However, for some qualifications this isn't the case so they should check the list of exam results collected by UCAS at The universities will update Track to show whether they've been successful.

If they have met the conditions of their firm choice they will be placed with that university, but if they've been unsuccessful with that choice then they may be accepted by their insurance choice instead. If they have been unsuccessful with both their firm and insurance choice they will be eligible for Clearing.


Clearing is a service available between July and September. It can help people without a university place to find suitable vacancies on higher education courses. There are some simple steps to follow to secure a place in Clearing:

. Once they have their results, your son or daughter should check Track to see if they are eligible for Clearing.

. If they are, they must begin by checking the Clearing vacancy lists at to find alternative courses.

. They then need to contact the universities to ask whether they can be considered for a place.

. If the university makes them an offer which they'd like to accept they log in to Track to input the details as their 'Clearing choice'. The university can then confirm their place with UCAS.

If you son or daughter meets and exceeds the conditions of their firm choice they are eligible to use the Adjustment process. This means that they can contact other universities - perhaps ones they hadn't considered applying to - to ask if they can offer them a place instead. If they agree a place with another university they can be accepted through Track. If they don't secure a place elsewhere then they keep their place with their original firm choice.


There are a number of things that need to be taken care of before your son or daughter starts at university.

If they will be living on campus then they need to ensure that all of their accommodation arrangements have been made. It will be their university who will confirm this with them.

Student finance applications can be made before your son or daughter receives their exam results but the details will be confirmed once their university place has been agreed. If in doubt they should contact Student Finance.

Yougo is the UCAS student network site and is where your son or daughter can safely meet others who'll be studying on their course before they start at university. The forums allow them to discuss their excitement or concerns about moving away from home and starting at university or college, so it's a great way for them to realise they're not alone.


Your Views

Posted by:
Larry Woods

Posts: 15



Applying for University

When it comes to higher studies it is vital for you to choose the right course and institute. However, now one can find many educational courses online. If you want to become a medical assistant then you can find the right course at one of the online medical assistant schools.

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Posted: 11/Aug/15 at 10:56:33

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