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Parents’ guide to applying for university

We understand that the application process can seem complicated and that you’ll want to support your son or daughter as much as possible. We’ve put together a brief guide to the application process, including highlighting the key deadlines they will need to meet, to help you keep on top of everything.

The first step is for your son or daughter to search for the course/subject area they’re interested in. The UCAS website is a good starting point, as is attending university Open Days.

A-levels vs BTECs

BTECs are an alternative to A-levels. They are vocational qualifications, rather than traditional academic courses like A-levels. The main difference between these courses is that A-levels are assessed through examinations with some providing coursework modules, while BTEC courses are entirely coursework based with some practical assessments or work experience.

The application process

Your son or daughter will need to apply for their place at BU, or any other UK university, directly through UCAS. As well as the application portal itself, UCAS has a number of useful videos and how-to guides to help them complete their application.

Encourage your son or daughter to apply as soon as they have made a decision about which course they’d like to study. This will make the process much less stressful for them and you, as it will give them more time to finesse their application.

This is also a good time for your son or daughter to tell us if they have a disability or will need any additional learning support. Our Additional Learning Support team can advise them of what support is available and how to access it once they enrol at BU. 

One of things they are likely to find hardest to get right is their personal statement - we’ve created a guide to writing a personal statement to help them get started.

Key deadlines

There are a few dates that you may want to put in your diary, so that you can remind your son or daughter to get their application in on time. Applications for undergraduate courses starting in September 2018 are open from 6 September 2017, with the majority of courses closing applications on 15 January 2018. This is always the rough timeframe for submitting UCAS applications.

If your son or daughter has missed this year’s deadline don’t worry, as they may still be able to apply for their course through UCAS Extra. This service opens on 25 February 2018 and your child can submit an application until 4 July 2018.

Not all courses will be available through UCAS Extra, but many courses continue to accept applications through this service. If your child can make applications using this service, it will automatically appear as an option when they log in to track their application on the main UCAS website and UCAS will contact them with all the information they need about how to submit additional applications.

What happens next?

Once your child has submitted their application through UCAS, the organisation will process it and contact them directly if they need to provide any further information. Your son or daughter can log in to UCAS Track at any time to see how their application is progressing. 

We may invite your son or daughter to attend an Offer Holder Open Day. This will give them and you a chance to see facilities specific to the course they’ve applied for and the opportunity to talk to academics and current students. Offer Holder Open Days are optional and attending, or not attending, has no bearing on your child’s application.

Your son or daughter may also be invited to attend an interview as part of the selection process. This will affect their application, so it is important that they attend. 

Decisions on their application

Once we have made a decision on your child’s application, they will receive one of the following:

  • Unconditional offer - This means they have already met the entry requirements and have been offered a place.
  • Conditional offer - This means they have a place on the course, provided that they meet the requirements laid out in the offer. Usually these will refer to their current qualifications (such as A-levels, or your English language proficiency) and will state what they need to achieve in order to be successful.
  • Rejection - This means that they have not been offered a place on the course. 

It is then up to your son or daughter to reply to our offer. Be aware that there are deadlines associated with replying to offers.