Sixth Form

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The UCAS App

The UCAS app contains important information about higher education and the UCAS application process. It is for students and parents to help increase knowledge of the information, and advise what UCAS has to offer. The content will be reviewed regularly by UCAS so it remains up-to-date and relevant.

Helping your child apply to university (UCAS)

At a glance

Understand the university application (UCAS) process as your child prepares for further studies after successful completion of their A-levels and BTEC Level 3s.

The application process (UCAS) – www.ucas.com

Your child’s Coach will help with the university application process (known as UCAS), but if you understand the process as well, you can ask useful questions and be sure your child is making good progress and informed decisions.

An application gives your child the chance to make an initial five choices about what they want to study and where. Each choice will either lead to an offer or rejection. An offer is usually conditional on your child getting certain grades at A level or other level 3 qualifications. Your child should choose two offers of a place, one firm and one insurance which should have lower conditional grades.

Once your child has made their choices they can’t be changed. If no initial offers are made your child may decide to make a further additional choice or wait for their A-level results and apply through a system known as ‘clearing’ for any vacant university places still available.

The UCAS calendar

Mid-September – Applications open and are accessible online via the Track system on UCAS site www.ucas.com

Mid-October – The closing date for applications if your child is applying to Oxford or Cambridge, or for medicine, veterinary science or dentistry anywhere.

Mid-January – The closing date for all other applications. You can check the exact dates online at on the UCAS site.

February/March -The offers start to come through online.

May/June – Your child should have received offers or rejections online via the UCAS site. Your child should choose two offers – a ‘firm acceptance’ indicates your child’s first choice and a second ‘insurance acceptance’, which should have lower conditional grades.

August (3rd Thursday of August) – A-level results are published on the third Thursday of the month but will have been passed on to the universities before this day. The UCAS website is updated by Thursday morning, so that when your child logs on at 7 am on Thursday morning they may see which university they have a place at before going into school to find out their actual results. 

Making a personal statement

As part of the online application form, your child has to make a personal statement, explaining in around 4,000 characters what they want to study and why, as well as giving an idea about who they are, any extra-curricular interests and work experience they have.

The personal statement can make a big difference to your child’s application. Encourage your child to spend time working on their personal statement and do several drafts to perfect it. The UCAS website offers some good advice for writing a personal statement. The aim is to give a sense of their personality and evidence of why they’re keen to study their chosen subject. This will all be completed on the Unifrog system so that it can be checked and amended by their Coach before they upload to their UCAS application.

Results day

It’s really important to be available on results day because if things don’t go exactly to plan your child may need to contact universities to find out if there are other places available. Sometimes universities confirm a place even if one A level is a grade lower than the conditional offer.

It’s also important to make sure your child follows the instructions on the letter they received making an offer of a place, to ensure they confirm their acceptance if they have the right A-level results.

What is Clearing?

If your child’s grades are lower than expected they can still go through ‘clearing’, a system which gives your child a chance to apply to any courses that still have vacancies. It is worth contacting clearing as early as possible on results day. Vacancies are listed online at www.ucas.com.

Useful Websites and Resources