Parents' guide to applying to university.

We know that as a parent, guardian or carer you’re likely to play an important role in helping your child apply to university.

Whether it’s attending open days, researching courses or finding out about the local area, there’s a lot to think about when helping your child choose the best place to study. This guide is designed to help you through the process of applying to university with your son or daughter.

If your child is applying to a full-time undergraduate course as a school or college leaver, it’s likely that they will be applying through UCAS. The guide below gives key dates and activities in the UCAS cycle.

1. Deciding what to study and choosing a university

Usually in late February or early March UCAS hold the first of their exhibitions. These UCAS events bring most universities together in one place, near you, so your child can find out more about what each university offers. If your child is thinking about applying in September 2021, they should start thinking about their options in March 2020. At this point they should also be getting advice from teachers and career advisers to help them make an informed decision.

2. Visiting university open days

Universities usually hold open days between May and October. Open days are a great opportunity to get a feel for the campus, the location and the courses on offer. You’ll be able to attend subject talks and meet academics, talk to current students and learn about accommodation, fees and funding and much more. We also hold talks specifically for parents, guardians and carers so you can find out all the answers to the questions you might have.

3. Application deadlines 

Applicants should be made to UCAS by 15 January. If your child is applying for Medicine, they will need to submit their application earlier, by 15 October

4. Receiving an offer

Depending on when your child submitted their application, they’ll begin to receive decisions from universities from November of the previous yearThis will either be an unconditional offer (if they have achieved the academic qualifications required) or a conditional offer (if they are dependant on exam results). Some of our courses require an interview, so you may be invited to attend an interview or audition.

5. Attending applicant events 

As well as open days, we also hold applicant events for those applicants who have received an offer from February to AprilThis is another great opportunity to visit and explore our University, knowing you’ve made the right choice to apply. 

"I felt it was really important to see where my son was going to spend the next three years, learn about the course and also to speak to current students about the course and life in the local area. When we came to Canterbury, we also spent some time in the city and my son and I both fell in love with it."

SandraParent of a Canterbury Christ Church University student

6. Apply for finance 

Your child doesn’t need to wait until they’ve been offered a place at university to apply for student finance. In fact, it’s best to apply as early as possible. Student Finance England begin accepting applications in February, and it can take up to six weeks for an application to be processed. 

7. Accept an offer 

If your child applied by the January deadline, they will need to make their firm and insurance choices in UCAS by early May. If they applied after the 15 January, the deadline will differ – take a look at the UCAS website to see specific dates.

8. Decide where to live

At Christ Church we begin to accept applications for accommodation from early spring. Your child will need to have received an offer from us to apply for accommodation. 

9. A-Level results day

It’s the day you have been waiting for! Your child will receive their A-Level exam results in mid-August and will find out if they have achieved the grades required to secure the place they wanted. If they didn’t get the grades they were hoping for, don’t panic. There may still be a chance to get a place through Clearing.

10. Preparing for university

We know, for many, going to university is a big step (as well as for parents!). We’ll help all the way in preparing your child for university. As soon as a place at the University is confirmed, we’ll be sending information to help your child get ready for university life, from budgeting, making friends, to preparing for study on a new course, and much more. We look forward to seeing them in September!