Parents' Guide

Peak times for support during the UCAS Application Process

Father and Daughter

If you’re a parent, it can be difficult to know how you can help your son or daughter through the UCAS Application process. So, we’ve put together this quick guide with our tips on how to support your child during the various stages of the process…

Year 12

June

When AS-level exams are over, draw up a long list of course ideas, researching different options and attending university open days.

Take a good look at the entry requirements to make sure your son or daughter is doing everything they can to meet them.  This is a good time to encourage them to look for paid or volunteer work, work-shadowing or internships related to their areas of interest.

July

This is a good time for your son or daughter to start drafting their personal statement. Parents could offer to help by highlighting their areas of strength, and helping with ideas for how they can fill any gaps in their experience.


Year 13

September - November

It’s UCAS application season. Your son or daughter can seek advice from teachers and a careers adviser about their course ideas, but they may need some help.  You may want to follow up on how their personal statement is progressing.

December

With the deadline fast approaching, check your child has finalised their choices and got their personal statement in order. Can you help with final checks and proofreading before it is submitted?

January – March

University offers should now start to come in, but if your child hasn’t heard back yet, there’s no need to panic - universities have until May to respond and some will be quicker than others. Interviews and entry test invites may also arrive, so you can help with preparation for these and ensuring travel arrangements are made.

If your son or daughter is applying to a creative course, you may also want to check if their portfolio of work is progressing.

April - May

Decision time: has your son or daughter received and replied to offers? Have their preferences changed? Have they settled on their firm and insurance offers? Aim to have a back-up plan in case things don’t turn out exactly as they had hoped.

They need to be on top of their student accommodation application too as halls of residence are usually allocated on a first come, first served basis.

May – June

Exam season: time to make sure your son or daughter is best prepared to get those grades, and provide emotional support at this stressful time.

Mid-August

  • Make sure your child is prepared for results day (usually a Thursday in Mid-August) with information on how to check and confirm their place through UCAS Track. 
  • It’s a good idea to avoid booking overseas holidays during results time as you will most likely need to be able to get in touch with their chosen university.
  • If you think it is possible that your son or daughter may need to use the Clearing process, it is worth doing some background research on potential courses and options in advance, and make sure they have access to the internet and a telephone on results day.   
  • During clearing some universities may just ask for grades but others may ask questions to help decide whether to offer a place.  Your emotional support will be needed during this process which can be stressful, and they will need to make the phone calls themselves, but if you’re well prepared with the relevant contact details that can help on the day.
  • Once they have secured a place, it’s important to check what happens next with accommodation if they are moving into halls.  They may need to confirm their room allocation, and will usually be sent full details of what to bring and moving in dates.

September

  • At this stage you can help them prepare for university life with all of the home comforts they may want to help them settle in.  If your son or daughter is not used to cooking for themselves or doing their own laundry, now’s the time to help them brush up their skills!
  • Normally, first years start their course in the third or fourth week in September, so it’s a good idea to keep weekends free around that time as they may need your help with moving into their accommodation…but then they’re on their own and all you can do is wait for that first phone call…!

Our Full Parents’ Guide

 If you’re interested in reading a detailed Parents’ Guide to the applications process please see below, or come along to one of our next open days where you’ll be able to pick up a copy.  Find out more >