What Can I Do to Help with the Application Process?

Parents and guardians play an important part in the university application process by not only providing a sounding board and moral support, but in many cases by supporting their child’s application for student finance.

Your child’s school or college will be able to provide them with the majority of the help they need for their university application. The UCAS website – where your child will need to make their university application – will also guide them through the process.

However, if you’re familiar with the process then you’ll be able to ask useful questions and make sure your child is considering all of the options and making sensible decisions.

How does the university application process work?

The UCAS website homepage will show you the four sections of applying to be an undergraduate student. Whenever there are any key messages – such as an upcoming deadline – these will be displayed in the text across the main image, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the website.

The four key sections of the application are explained in more detail below:

Getting started

This section helps to explain the key things your son or daughter needs to know. It can also be useful for you to read this information.

This information includes:

  • Advice on deciding which type of undergraduate degree to study
  • The main application deadlines (October, January, or March depending on the course)
  • Explaining that up to five courses/universities can be chosen

Find a course

This section has detailed information about all of the courses offered at UK universities. Your child can use the search tool to narrow down their choices and find suitable courses.

There is also advice and information on:

  • How to choose between similar courses
  • What the entry requirements and course fees are
  • When the application deadline is for each course

Apply and track

This section is for the actual university application and explains how to track applications once they are made.

This section also offers tips and advice on:

  • What information your child will need to provide
  • How to write a personal statement
  • How to respond to offers
  • What to do when your child gets their exam results

Finance and support

The majority of students get a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan to enable them to study at university.

This section gives you advice on:

  • How to apply to the government for student finance
  • What other kinds of financial support are available
  • Support and accessibility on campus
  • Specific money advice for parents – this includes helping your child manage their money and understanding student borrowing

What can I do to help with the application process?

Understanding the application process will probably be the biggest help to your child so you can support them fully through the process.

Aside from this, the most practical help you can give is by supporting their application for student finance.

The student finance application process can take up to six weeks so encourage your child to apply as early as possible. It’s easy to change the details of their university or course online, so they don’t need to wait until they have a firm offer from a university to apply.

If they apply late, or there is a delay with their application, they run the risk of not receiving their money at the start of term. Tuition fees are paid directly to the university and maintenance loans are paid into the student’s bank account at the beginning of each term.

How to apply for student finance

Student finance applications are usually made online, although there is an option to download the forms if this isn’t possible. Applications are made via the appropriate Student Finance organisation – there are separate ones for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

To apply for student finance students need to quote a bank account into which the money can be paid, and a valid passport number: if it’s expired you must post their birth certificate and a counter-signature.

If they’re also applying for a maintenance loan, which is dependent on household income, then you’ll also need to provide your financial information.

Having your National Insurance number and income data to hand when your child is filling out the application will speed the process up.

If you, or your child, is asked to provide any evidence to support their application, send it as soon as possible so you don’t delay the process.