Parents, carers and families

How it works

Unless you have just been through the university application process with an older sibling, it can all seem confusing. (And even if you did all this a couple of years ago, it’s worth checking details as some things change from year to year.) So, in a nutshell… 

  • Your child will apply to up to five universities. (Five applications costs the same as two, so they might as well apply to five.)
  • The nominal application deadline is in January (or the previous October for Medicine courses), but in fact applications can still be made until a couple of weeks before Clearing (in August). 
  • Each university will respond in one of three ways:
    • Conditional offer: the student will be accepted if they meet specific requirements, which usually means certain A-level grades or equivalent.
    • Unconditional offer: the students is accepted straight off the bat. Normally these offers are made to students who already have their grades, ie. mature students or students who have been on a gap year. Sometimes an unconditional offer may be made to a student who does not yet have their grades, but who shows exceptional promise.
    • Unsuccessful: sorry.
  • When your child has all five responses, they will accept two offers: a first choice (‘Firm’) and a reserve (‘Insurance’).
  • When A-level Results Day arrives, depending on the news, they can confirm their Firm offer, or their Insurance offer.
  • If they don’t meet the grades for either offer – or choose not to confirm – they can apply to other universities through Clearing on Results Day. 

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