Higher education, or HE, is about so much more than a degree.
It gives you a chance to study something you are passionate about at a high level and can significantly boost your career prospects and earning potential.
You’ll gain confidence and independence, be able to try out new hobbies and interests and make lifelong friends. You could even benefit from amazing opportunities like paid internships or the chance to study abroad, which could open doors to a rewarding career.
The cost of higher education can be daunting, but it’s worth remembering that there is nothing to pay upfront and there is a wide range of financial support available which can help pay tuition fees and support you through your study.
UCAS.com is your one-stop shop for applying to university. The application process is relatively straightforward, but there are some key stages to be aware of, as outlined below:
Remember, if you get stuck along the way there is always someone who can help. Your school or college will be able to support you through this process or most universities have people on hand to answer your questions.
Check out Unibuddy on UCAS which gives you the chance to chat with current university students and find out what life’s really like at uni.
Your Journey to Higher Education
Choose a subject
First, you’ll need to decide what it is you want to study at university. This might be a subject you already enjoy at school, a subject with a specific career in mind or something completely new. Don’t forget Joint Honours degrees, which combine two subjects together in one course, are also an option.
Make sure you check the entry requirements and choose courses that are achievable and in line with your predicted grades. Some courses demand work experience as part of entry requirements, so check this out and make any arrangements you need to get this before you apply.
Attend open days
University open days will give you a chance to get a feel for the university and department you’ll be studying in, as well as speak to lecturers and tutors to ask any specific questions you might have.
You will be able to apply for up to five different courses via the UCAS website’s online application procedure. Courses with the same title (e.g., Psychology) may not have the same content or structure, so explore how and what you will be taught.
Complete UCAS application
With help from your school or college, apply for your chosen courses online using the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). This will include writing a personal statement, which is your opportunity to talk about why you are suitable for the course. You will need a reference which is provided by your school or college.
Apply for student finance
Applications for student finance can be completed at www.gov.uk/student-finance. If you are currently living at home with your parents, they will need to complete a separate online form supplying details about your household income, to make sure you get any financial support you may be entitled to.
The universities you’re applying to might also be offering financial support for different groups of students which you may or may not need to apply for separately, so it’s worth asking them what’s available when you visit.
Scholarships and Bursaries
Many universities offer scholarships and bursaries for students from different backgrounds, to help support you through your studies, which you can claim on top of student loans (for example, Kent and Medway Medical School offer a range of KMMS Scholarships). Scholarships and bursaries are non-repayable, which means you won’t have to pay this money back.
See what’s on offer from universities in Kent and Medway by clicking on the links below.
After you have submitted your application, you will be able to use the UCAS Track service to see whether a university or college has offered you a place or if you need to supply more information.
If you don’t receive any offers, you can make alternative choices using the UCAS Extra service.
Apply for accommodation
Universities have various accommodation options available at different costs. If you are moving away from home, you will usually be housed in university accommodation known as Halls of Residence during your first year.
It’s a good idea to research further into these by visiting if you can and apply for accommodation as early as possible because spaces are quickly filled. More information can be found on university websites or by contacting the university’s Accommodation Office directly.
Wait for results
Depending on the subject, you might have to attend interviews or take exams before any offers are made. You will then choose a firm and insurance choice from the offers you receive, and if you get the results you need, you’ll be off to one of your chosen unis!
If you don’t get the required grades you can apply for alternative choices using the UCAS Clearing service.
Need more support or advice?
To find out more about the timeline for the UCAS application process visit UCAS.com or call their undergraduate application helpline on 0371 468 0 468.