SEND PP proudly works with CXK, a charity committed to supporting individuals to develop the skills and confidence they need to secure sustainable employment, education or training, and improve their life chances.
Thinking of applying to university can open up so many questions and uncertainties. To help with those first queries, CXK’s Chris Targett has put together his top tips for applying to university. Chris is the Career Development Institute’s UK Careers Adviser of the Year and current Chair of the Careers Writers Association.
If you are considering university, it is worth remembering you have lots of options at Post 18 such as:
- Apprenticeships at Levels 2+
- Work-related training, which could include developing your own business
- Traineeships and volunteering, which could include a gap year/travel
- College – face-to-face or distance learning (see Distance Learning at EKC Group)
- Higher Education (full or part-time), face-to-face or via distance learning at college or university.
Some students apply for a range of options to keep their choices open. If you do decide to apply to university and then withdraw, don’t forget to notify Student Finance England to cancel your student loan.
There is plenty of support available to you, whichever path you choose:
- There is additional funding available for Higher Education (including distance learning), as well as practical assistance. Many universities have support schemes, mentoring and can provide allowances/adjustments for their courses. Have a chat with each university to see what is available.
- It is recommended that you contact the Student Disability and Wellbeing Teams at the universities you are interested in as early as possible. You can do this before you submit your UCAS application. Contact details should be available on each university’s website. You will then be able to find out more about the additional support and funding that may be available to you to access the course you are interested in, as well as support in your transition.
- Ensure you share your disability on your UCAS application. This will enable the Student Disability and Wellbeing Team at the university/s you are applying for to be able to make direct contact with you so that they can start to discuss with you the reasonable adjustments you may need to be able to access the course and any work placements.
- For work-based routes (including Traineeships, Volunteering & Apprenticeships) support is available via Supported Employment services, Inclusive Apprenticeships (BASE) as well as the Access to Work scheme.
- Some vocational courses within the professions, where you are responsible for the health & safety of others (such as training to be a doctor or nurse) require a fitness-to-practice assessment, which is worth being mindful of. It is a good idea to speak to each of the universities you are interested in and the support teams at each, to talk through what this entails for you.
- For courses which involve lots of practical or active elements, speak to each university to check that they can make reasonable adjustments so you can access all elements of your course. Some universities have quite old buildings so it’s worth double-checking whether lifts have been fitted if you need these.
- When exploring university societies, sports groups or similar, find out whether they run “disability-friendly” events or have sports teams for disabled students. BUCS may be able to help you research this – check out this BUCS link to the Best of Disability Sport.
- It may also be important to you that the university you attend is LGBTQ+ friendly. This guide to LGBTQ+-friendly universities by Jude Hanley who is a member of the Careers Writers Association can help you explore this.
- When researching where you wish to study, check additional requirements such as reserved parking for those with disabilities and the availability of online/virtual counselling and tutor support in case you can’t get to the university buildings or lectures.
- Speak to the careers team at each university and ask if their graduate recruitment events (for when you finish the course) also include “disability-friendly” events.
- For those with autism, there is a network of universities which have pledged to be supportive of ASC which may interest you (Note: there are other universities not listed here, which can also provide similar support).
- For any course, it needs to be your voice in your personal statement – but grammar and punctuation do matter, so ensure these are triple checked by someone you trust. Tools such as grammarly.com can help ensure your writing isn’t too informal and has a positive tone.
When researching courses, listen to your head, heart, and gut instinct! Good luck!
For more top tips, check out CXK’s Resource Hub.