University Tips Blog
Image of a student working on a university application
A headshot image of the author, Kate Nelson

by Kate Nelson

Marketing Co-ordinator at Teesside University

posted on 13 Feb '23

A parent guide to university applications

Guiding your young person through their higher education options can be daunting, especially if you’ve never been through the process yourself. Here’s what you need to know.

The things to know before the application is in

Application planning

The application process starts in the September of your young person’s final year at sixth form or college, so that they can enrol at university the following September. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) opens for applications in early September every year – so if your young person is super prepared, they can submit their application to their chosen universities at that point. The reality is that many students will still be finalising their choices at this stage, so don’t worry if they aren’t yet ready to apply.

October deadline

If your young person is applying to Oxford or Cambridge or to medicine, dentistry or veterinary courses, they will have an October admisison deadline. For 2023, it is October 15th.

Meeting internal deadlines

Your young person’s sixth form or college may have an internal deadline for submitting university applications, normally in November or December. This gives careers advisers time to check applications and complete an accompanying reference. Every school and college has their own deadline so make sure your young person knows when theirs is.

Applying by the UCAS deadline

The UCAS equal consideration deadline is in January – course providers must consider all applications received by this time equally. If your young person is applying for a competitive course or university, they must meet this deadline to make sure they are considered.

Image of a student in a class working on their university application

What happens once the application is submitted?

Receiving offers

For applications submitted by the January deadline, universities have until May to decide whether to make your young person a course offer. Students may hear back sooner but this is the latest deadline set by UCAS. Your young person has until June to reply to their offers and can use UCAS Track to keep an eye on offers coming through and respond to them – confirming their first (firm) and second (insurance) choice universities.

Accepting their offer

Once your young person’s place has been confirmed, the exciting stuff starts! They will start to receive information on accommodation, enrolment, welcome week, setting up IT accounts and their timetable – all in preparation for starting their course.

Confirming their place

Universities receive your young person’s exam results before they do, so on the morning of results day in August, they will be able to log into UCAS Track and check if (fingers crossed!) their university place has been confirmed.

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