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 provide support during the process of applying to university.

If your child is applying for 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 2024, they should start thinking about their options in March 2023. 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 November. 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, 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.

Find out when you can visit us and attend one of our Answers Days - they're very similar to Open Days, but they give your child the opportunity to take control of the day to get the answers they need in order for them to make an informed decision of which uni they want to go to. 

3. Application deadlines

Applicants should be made to UCAS by 25 January. If your child is applying for Medicine, they will need to submit their application earlier. Contact our Course Enquiries team for specific date information.

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 year. This will either be an unconditional offer (if they have achieved the academic qualifications required) or a conditional offer (if they are yet to receive their exam results). Some of our courses require an interview, so you may be invited to attend an interview or audition.

5. Attending offer holder events

As well as Answers Days, we also hold offer holder events from February to April. These are for applicants who have already received an offer from us. This is a great opportunity to visit and explore our University. 

"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. Applying 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. Accepting 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. A firm choice refers to your child's first choice, whilst the insurance choice refers to their second choice for if they didn't receive the requirements for their first choice.

If they applied after the 26 January, the deadline will differ – take a look at the UCAS website to see specific dates.

8. Deciding where to live

At CCCU 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 send information to help your child get ready for university life, from budgeting and making friends to preparing for study on a new course, and much more. We look forward to welcoming them in September.