1. Start early
Encourage your dependant to start their search for a course early. Perhaps consider subjects they enjoy and excel at, and discuss their future career goals with them.
2. Explore UCAS
Explore the UCAS website as early as possible. It helps you to identify all UK-based universities offering a particular course. Your son or daughter can also track the process of their application via the website’s Track facility after they have applied.
3. Research, research, research
Thorough research when choosing a course and university is essential. Consider course content, teaching styles, study and work opportunities, location, reputation, facilities, size, accommodation options and costs.
4. Learn about funding
Make sure you know how much funding is available in the academic year your son or daughter wishes to start university. As well as government grants and loans, you may be eligible for a university bursary. Check our Fees and Finance section for more information.
5. Let the universities come to you
It is a good idea for students to attend a UCAS Higher Education Convention. There will be one organised in your area and it is a great opportunity to speak to representatives from a wide range of universities, all under one roof.
6. Gain first-hand experience
Find out when university open days are organised during the year and try to visit two or more locations. It is a great opportunity to find out more about subjects of interest and to get a feel for a university. What's more it is a chance to meet tutors face-to-face and speak to current students about their experiences.
7. Develop transferrable skills
Encourage your child or dependant to build on their existing skills and experience. These will form the basis of their UCAS application and show Admissions Tutors that they have the attributes necessary to succeed at university. Remember that voluntary work also forms part of the essential entry criteria for courses such as Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science.
8. Plan your personal statement
A brilliant Personal Statement is of considerable value, but takes time to write and edit. Encourage your son or daughter to start as early as possible.
9. Beat the deadlines
Make sure your son or daughter meets all UCAS deadlines and replies promptly to all communications from UCAS and universities. Make a note of internal deadlines at Schools and Colleges - they often set earlier deadlines than UCAS in order to check details and add a reference.
10. Ready for results day?
Your son or daughter may be planning a well-deserved holiday after their exams. However, they should avoid being away when the A level results are published, in case they need to contact universities.
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