A guide to choices post-application. Inc accommodation choices, student finance, uni responses, what to expect during your first week and more! Featuring Edge Hill University.

Making your final university decisions. Including responding to universities, accommodation choices, student finance, budgeting, what to expect during your first week and more!

When is the UCAS Deadline for university applications?

The deadline for UCAS applications is usually January or October (the exact date will depend on year of application), the October date is generally for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses, as well as anyone who is applying to the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.

Ideally you should have a plan that you work to, rather than leaving important parts of your application until the deadline, this will allow you to draft and improve your application and avoid rushing it at the end. Once all of your offers have come through, there will be a deadline that you will need to confirm your choices by, so it is important to make a note of this date as well.

What happens after you apply on UCAS?

Once you have submitted your university application to UCAS, UCAS Apply becomes UCAS Track. This allows you to keep a track of your application as well as keep up to date with responses from universities, accept invitations to interviews and Applicant Visit Days and view offers. Between February and May, students may be invited to Applicant Visit Days; students are strongly encouraged to attend these as they provide a chance to meet tutors and chat to current students.

You may also be invited to attend an interview or audition for a course, this could be online or face-to-face and might involve group or individual work, an informal chat or a pre-planned exercise.

What responses might you receive from universities after you apply?

There are three possible responses from universities, unsuccessful and conditional and unconditional offers. You should be wary of an unconditional offer – this is obviously very advantageous if this is from your preferred university, but you should not accept it just because it is the easiest option; future prospective employers may well refer back to pre-university exam results so you should still try to achieve the highest grades from your exams.

You initially had the opportunity to choose five courses on UCAS, ultimately this comes down to two final choices: your firm (first) and insurance (second) choice, you will need to decline the other three courses. UCAS Extra is another route to university, UCAS Extra opens in February and is available for students who have not received any offers or students who have declined all offers.

What happens on Results Day with university in mind?

Results day is something which can be dreaded by students, so it is important to be well prepared in the event that things do not go as planned. UCAS Clearing is available for students who did not get the grades required for their course, enabling them to contact universities who may have spaces on courses. There is also UCAS Adjustment which enables you to contact universities if you want to reconsider where and what you study if you have achieved better results than anticipated.

It is important that you have a ‘Plan B’ in mind and think about other courses you would be interested in if the results are not as you planned. There is a recently added service – Clearing Plus, which will list available courses which are applicable to you in respect of the courses that you applied for if your results do not meet the required criteria for your first and second choice.

Things to consider before starting university

Once you have confirmed which university you will attend, the accommodation team there will contact you with your accommodation options if you intend to live away from home.

You will need to consider rental costs, transport links, find out what deposit is required, sign a licence agreement and you will be allocated a date and time to move in.

Student finance will also need to be applied for online. A tuition fee loan is the money that is paid directly to universities to cover the full cost of the course. A maintenance loan contributes towards living costs whilst at university, to support day-to-day living.

Unlike tuition fee loans, household income is taken into consideration for maintenance loans and the amount students are eligible for will vary according to whether living at or away from home or away from home in London. The student finance calculator will give an estimate of how much maintenance loan students will be eligible for.

You should also investigate scholarships and bursaries that universities offer, universities will set their own criteria for scholarships, which could be for students from low income families or from a particular background or students who excel in certain aspects, e.g. sport or volunteering; the scholarship could be cash or other benefits. Some NHS courses offer a non-repayable bursary of £5,000 Learning Support Fund.

Tips for university living - when you start your course

You will need to plan and prepare for starting university, which will be a big change in your life, especially if you are living away from home. Many students have stated that they would have benefitted from improved financial education prior to going to university. Maintenance loans are paid three times in the year; usually September, January and April, this may be supplemented with parental contributions, part-time work, savings or bursaries / scholarships.

You may well need to determine your essential and non-essential spending and divide your available budget over the number of weeks in a term to determine a weekly budget.

Students will usually be sent a reading list prior to the commencement of their course and to get ahead with this reading will be beneficial, as well as reading around the modules that are on offer. Success at university depends on your skillset, and developing skills now will aid your transition to university.

Prior to your first week at university, you should check your timetable and enrolment procedure. The students union is a major part of university life and they will run many activities from the first week with freshers week. Joining clubs and societies will help you make friends and settle in. Every university has student support for various aspects which may include leaving care, wellbeing and counselling, disability support, transitions, careers, campus life and money advice.

Thanks to our Video presenter

Chris Mullen, Education Liaison Officer at Edge Hill University

Post-recording update from UniTasterDays :

Chris has kindly sent additional information (which has been released since the recording). This applies to 2021 entry. The UCAS deadline is now 29th Jan 2021, UCAS Extra now opens on 25th Feb 2021 and Student Finance will be opening in early March.

Event Recorded: Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 12:00

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