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How does my son or daughter apply to university?

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If your son or daughter is applying for a full-time undergraduate degree they can apply via the Universities Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The application process is the same for all UK universities, and follows a 7-step application process.

1. Making choices

Your patience and organisational skills can help here, particularly in getting started and breaking down choices into a shortlist. Create a shortlist of universities and visit their Open Days. 

2. Applying

Applicants can choose up to five universities when they apply. Applications can be made at any time from the September of Year 13 (or the second year of FE college) until 15 January. 

3. Offers

When UCAS receives an application form, it will pass it on to your child's chosen universities.

UCAS will send them a UCAS ID number, which they can use to track the progress of their application on the UCAS website. This number is vitally important – encourage them to keep the details safe and easily accessible.   

They should start receiving responses from universities between November and May.

4. Making a decision

If your child receives one or more offers, they can make a decision on where to accept.

They can make one firm acceptance, which is their preferred choice, and one insurance choice. The insurance choice typically has a lower tariff point requirement. If they accept an unconditional offer, they must decline all other offers.

5. Results day

Exam results are published in August. Once your child has confirmed their results and therefore tariff points, they will be able to check on the UCAS Track to see if they have been accepted by their chosen university. Many universities will also send an email or text message confirming acceptance. 

6. Clearing

If your child did not meet the conditions of their offers, or didn't receive any offers, they could still find a place through Clearing.

7. Going to university

From late August / early September, universities will send out information about enrolling, accommodation and what to expect from the first few weeks.