University Tips Blog
Image of a parent looking at a university application
A headshot image of the author, Jon Cheek

by Jon Cheek


posted on 3 Jan '24

When, why and how will universities get in touch postapplication?

Please note, this text was provided for the UniTasterDays Parents' Guide to University by Lucy Holehan, when in post with the University of Leeds.

The university application process can feel quite daunting for many young people, so it is understandable that parents and guardians will want to be involved and stay in the loop with any updates.

Communication with UCAS and universities

When someone applies to university via the UCAS (university admissions) portal, they will provide their email address and a mobile phone number. This information is then made available to the institutions they have applied to, so that they can send relevant information to the applicant.

Generally, universities will communicate with an applicant by email as their primary method, so it’s really important that your young person is checking their inbox regularly so that they don’t miss out on any information.

Key times a university may communicate with an applicant are to:

• offer the student an interview after they have submitted their application (only some courses require an interview)

• provide further details of any conditions surrounding their offer

• ask applicants to apply for accommodation (the deadline is usually around June of the year they expect to start)

• tell students about scholarships and bursaries that they may wish to apply for

Applicants will also need to be proactive when looking for information; universities will not always send multiple reminders regarding deadlines.

Can I contact the universities as a parent/ guardian of an applicant?

There are various reasons why a parent may wish to contact a university on their young person’s behalf, often to ask a question. This is quite common, but we would encourage the applicant to communicate themselves as much as possible. If you’re sending a query on behalf of your young person, please bear in mind the following:

• if a parent or guardian wishes to speak to the university admissions team about their young person’s application, the applicant must officially nominate them via their UCAS application

• always provide the applicant’s UCAS ID number if asking a specific question, otherwise the staff member replying may struggle to locate the required information

• once a student is enrolled on a course, the university will not communicate with any parents, guardians or other family members who enquire about them unless specifically requested and agreed in advance (in very limited circumstances). This is for data protection and privacy reasons

If you need to speak to the Student Loans Company about your young person’s funding application, they will need to set up a special password which allows you to discuss their account on their behalf.

Finally, make sure your young person updates their contact email address if they lose access to it (usually because it is a school or college account and they have left) and checks their junk folder regularly. If they don’t, they may miss out on crucial information from the universities they have applied to.

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