University applications are in the majority of cases handled by UCAS. Students will send their applications to UCAS who distribute them to the relevant universities.
This is a vital part in the process. It is important for the student and the University that the student makes an informed decision about their course and university.
Research will normally begin in the March/April in the year prior to them starting the course. Schools/colleges will often organise events in-house or arrange visits to larger fairs. We would encourage students to get as much information and talk to as many university representatives as they can.
One of the main research activities is to attend University Open Days.
The entry requirements for courses may be expressed in grades, UCAS tariff points or a mixture of the two.
Futher information: UCAS Tariff and www.ucas.com.
2. The UCAS form
Once the student has decided what they want to study and where they want to go they will start work on the form itself. This will be an electronic form in almost all cases. As well as the personal information (name, address etc) they will also need to fill out the qualifications they already have (GCSE's, AS Levels etc), the qualifications pending (A-Levels, BTEC etc) and a personal statement explaining why they feel they are suitable for the course. The form also includes a reference written by their teachers.
Forms can be sent to UCAS from 1st September. Most schools/colleges will have a deadline of around the October half term to submit the forms by.
Students will then be made offers or rejections from the University. If they are waiting for qualification results then they may be given a conditional offer.
- Choose a sensible email address for the UCAS form.
- Ensure they type their Date of Birth and not the date of the day when they complete the form!
- Universities don't see where else a student is applying and students only write one personal statement for all 5 choices, so ensure it is relevant for all of the courses they are applying to.
3. Decisions, decisions
Once students have received their offers they will need to make a decision about which will be their Firm (1st) and Insurance (2nd) choice. This decision may involve a visit to the University which students and parents can do between January and April.
If a student doesn't receive any offers or wishes to decline offers then all is not lost. They can enter UCAS Extra.
4. Assessments and preparation
The final stage in the process is obviously for students to work as hard as they can to achieve the best possible grades for any assessments they will take over the summer. Once the exams are over many students will take some time to relax and get a part-time job to help with saving for university living costs. Preparation can also begin for going to university and maybe living away from home for the first time.
Exam results are usually published from the third week of August. If a student achieves the grades to meet their firm university offer they will just need to confirm their place. If they meet the grades required for the insurance offer they again need to confirm their place. If a student doesn't get the required grades they can enter Clearing.