Explore the benefits of higher education and learn how to help your student to pick the right course for them.
These key events can help to see what kinds of activities your student may be taking part in, or what to plan for:
- March: Attend UCAS exhibitions, order prospectuses, check entry requirements and gather information.
- June – August: Attend an open day.
- July – August: Attend a Year 12 residential for a subject taster and experience student life.
- September: The UCAS application process begins. It’s possible to apply for up to five courses. Finalise course choices and write a personal statement. Read this feature to find out how you can support your student to write a great personal statement.
- October – November: More opportunities are available to visit our campus for an open day.
- January: The initial closing date for UCAS applications is in January.
We know that sometimes we might use terms or language that you won’t have come across before. Take a look at our feature to find out what we mean.
We know you might have lots of questions to ask. We’ve put a few of the most common ones here to help you.
It’s about more than ‘just’ a degree. University provides so many opportunities and is a time like no other.
Your student can expect to:
- Increase knowledge in their chosen subject
- Think about career options they may have not considered before
- Hugely increase their earning potential – the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills estimates that a university degree can increase lifetime earnings by 28% for men and 53% for women
- Expand their social skills. Living away from home, making new friends, finding new interests, possibly studying abroad for a year are all things that will build and shape them
- Develop transferable skills such as time management, meeting deadlines, problem solving and working independently.
The main difference between campus and city universities is that campus universities often have a closer community feel, with easier access to amenities. City universities, on the other hand, are associated with more vibrant nightlife and often have improved transport links.
Campus and city universities offer very different living, learning and teaching experiences. Choosing one or the other may mean a completely different time at university. So which is the right one for your student?
Let’s break down the differences between campus universities and city universities as well as their pros and cons:
There are lots of ways that your student can find out more about courses and universities to help identify a course they want to study.
- Research universities and courses – looking at prospectuses and websites is a great way to start. You should investigate course options, entry requirements and programme content, as well as the location, accommodation and facilities at each university. The Discover Uni website may also prove useful as a means of comparing subject and course options with student satisfaction ratings and employability statistics for each degree.
- Attend a UCAS exhibition – a great way to speak to representatives from a large number of universities and colleges. It’s a chance to pick up prospectuses and ask any questions about universities of interest. These UCAS exhibitions take place across the country, with the majority between March and June.
- Consider career options – careers advisers at school or college can help your student to think about potential career choices, identify relevant courses and provide practical advice on the application process. It’s important to give future career plans careful thought when choosing a degree – some professions may require a particular subject to be studied or professional accreditation to be achieved.
- Visit universities – by far the best way to decide if a university is where your student would like to study is to visit. Open days offer a great opportunity to explore universities and get an insight into what the student experience is like. As well as open days, we also run monthly campus tours.
With so many courses to choose from, at hundreds of universities and colleges, it can be difficult to narrow down the selection.
Some of the key questions for your student to consider when identifying a suitable course include:
- what subjects do they enjoy or have a particular interest in?
- is there a specific career they have in mind?
- do they want to study at a campus or city-based university?
- do they want to stay near home or move a little further away?
- how will the course be structured – for example, are there optional module choices or are all modules compulsory?
- how is the course assessed?
- does the course carry accreditation with a professional body (if applicable)?
Your student should also look at the entry requirements. These are usually based on UCAS tariff points which correspond with A Levels, BTEC awards, Access to higher education diplomas and other recognised qualifications. Some courses may request grades in specific subjects. Additional criteria may also apply, such as GCSEs, or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure.
As a parent or supporter, this is probably an area you’ll be very interested in.
Typically, all students are able to borrow the full cost of their tuition fee from the Government in the form of a tuition fee loan (subject to eligibility).
A maintenance loan is used for general living costs is paid in three instalments throughout the year directly in to a nominated bank account. The amount of maintenance loan a student receives is determined by household income, where the student is going to live and other criteria.
There are also grants, bursaries and scholarships that some students will be able to benefit from. For all the information, please visit our fees and funding webpages.
Applications are made online with UCAS and the deadline is in January. Get all the information on the UCAS website.
View our parents and supporters guide to applying to university.