Year 12/Lower Sixth

Spring - UCAS conventions and held at venues across the UK between March and June. Here you can meet representatives of UK universities to understand what subjects they can study etc. 

Summer - open days, work out what subjects you would like to study and what universities.

Universities run their undergraduate open days during the Summer and early Autumn.

What if you can’t attend an open day?

Universities often run campus tours, every fortnight, every month and you can turn up for these. Alternatively you can go to the university yourself and look round using the campus maps provided on the university website. Often have virtual tours on the website, and even virtual open days where students can talk to current students, academics, support services online. 

Open days generally need to be booked and are limited in numbers, therefore you have to act quickly to gain a place on the next one. 

Search the open days coming up through Eluceo or use the university website you want to look at. 

Some universities also have information days for parents only. 

The best way to get a feel for what a university is like is by attending an open day - they give you that chance to find out more about the academic and social life you can look forward to. 

Applicants’ Day

Go to the local town/city as well as the university. 

If you or you child is disabled - see what you need to do. 


  • how to get there
  • where to park
  • which campus?

What you might get out of it?

  • get a feel for the place
  • are they easy/hard to visit (depending on your preferences)

What to expect from an Open Day?

  • a welcome talk
  • a tour of the the campus facilities, such as the gyms, student unions, libraries, labs, lecture halls, chaplaincies and student accommodation
  • information about student finance, applications, student life, accommodation, sport, the local city, studying abroad/in industry, entry requirements
  • the opportunity to speak to academics, alumni, support services and current students
  • information about the course(s) your child is interested in

Mid September - UCAS open for courses. 

15th January - deadline

Interviews etc. 

25th February (until 2nd July) - UCAS Extra opens. UCAS Extra can be used if you’ve received offers from all five universities and you weren’t accepted or have declined all these offers. - need to search for vacancies from universities. 

Late March - students have usually received decisions back from university. Apply for loan. 

Attend session they are invited to

Make decision about firm and insurance choice.

14th August - results day. Clearing opens

Clearing is the system whereby universities make their remaining course vacancies available to studeents already in the UCAS system. Students need to call universities directly to find out what vacancies they may have. If their results are better than expected, they may be eligible for adjustment.

Often universities have an open day this week

How the application process works


Students can apply to five universities (four for medicine and vet, and an extra one which many students use as a related subject such as Biology or Physiology). 

Have to fill in a personal statement and information such as GCSE grades, predicted grades, a reference you will receive from a teacher at your school/college.

Cost - £12 for one course or £23 for multiple courses and applications sent after 30th June

Reference and application sent by school or college

There’s a personal statement of up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text - here are websites which give tips for personal statements writing 

You can track your applications via UCAS - you will be given a unique ID/password (check this) so you can check the website and your application. - UCAS e-mails you when an offer comes in

Offers can either be unconditional or conditional - conditional means the university liked you and if you accept the offer then you immediately have a place. Unconditional means your place depends on the grades you get in the summer. The university will generally ask for an offer in either UCAS points or UCAS Tariff points and may specify, e.g. AAB an A in Maths when applying to read Maths at university. 

Unsuccessful application - you are not offered a place on at the university. 

You may receive an invitation for an interview or audition, or you may be required to provide examples of your work, such as a portfolio - you can accept or decline the invitation.

Once you’ve attended or provided your work, they then make a decision in the normal way. 

You can then accept your offers. Firm acceptance either is if you’ve received an unconditional offer you can start university in the Autumn, if it’s a conditional offer you the place is yours if you meet the entry requirements. 

Insurance acceptance - a back up to your firm acceptance - if you don’t make your firm acceptance you can have a back-up preferably with lower entry requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements for your firm offer, but do for your insurance, then you can attend your insurance university. 

Decline - or you can decline everything - if you still want to go to university you can add more courses through the Extra service or wait until clearing to see what is available. 


Or Adjustment service - available 15th-31st August - if want to improve on your uni if you’rve gained better results than expected.