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Parents and carers

Applying to university

Applying to university

Apply online

Once your young person has chosen up to five courses and/or universities they would like to apply for, they apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Use our interactive timeline to find out what your young person should be doing month by month, or read the information below to get an overview of the application process.

Download our 'Applying to university' timeline

When to apply

UCAS opens early September for application submissions. There are a number of deadlines, depending on your young person’s course and university choice.

15 October - application deadline for medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and veterinary science courses, and all courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Last Wednesday in January – application deadline for all courses except those with 15 October deadline.

Your young person’s school or college may set an earlier deadline to allow time for them to check their personal statement and attach a reference.

Download our UCAS checklist


The application form is split into sections:

  • Personal details including name, address, date of birth, nationality
  • Additional information such as activities in preparation for higher education
  • Student finance – how the course will be paid for
  • Choices – maximum of five
  • Education and qualifications - GCSEs and pending qualifications such as A levels, BTEC's Access
  • Employment - paid and voluntary
  • Personal statement - the applicant needs to show that they’re suitable for the course, demonstrating enthusiasm and commitment
  • Reference - college add this
  • Payment – check for the most up-to-date application costs

Personal statement

Encourage your young person to make a start on their personal statement with our starter form.

Download your personal statement

Entry requirements and tariff points

Universities usually make their offers in UCAS tariff points, usually known as UCAS points. They are a way of measuring the value of all post-16 qualifications such as A levels and BTECs. The UCAS tariff gives a number to the possible grades your young person can achieve in each type of qualification.

Some courses may require that your young person has studied a particular subject at college, for example an engineering course might specify that an applicant has studied maths. Other courses may ask for a certain number of tariff points in a subject, for example your young person needs to achieve 46 UCAS tariff points in chemistry.

At Teesside University we give equal consideration to all academic and vocational qualifications. Your young person may also have skills we can consider like work experience or vocational training. Don't be put off if they don't meet the exact entry requirements - encourage them to come and talk to us.

Examples of A-level tariff points
Tariff points A Level BTEC
56 A* D*
48 A D
40 B  
32 C M
24 D  
16 E P

Receiving offers

Once your young person has submitted their application, the universities they have applied to will contact them with a decision. They can track their application progress and any offers using UCAS Hub, an online system. Universities have until May to make an offer. Your young person will receive one of the following responses.

  • A conditional offer - when the university offers your young person a place if they meet certain conditions, normally based on exam results.
  • An unconditional offer - your young person has already met the entry requirements and the university would like to accept their application (this only usually applies if your young person has taken a gap year).
  • A withdrawn application - your young person or the university has withdrawn the application. A reason may be shown in UCAS Hub.
  • Decline - there are many reasons why universities decline an applicant, for example if the course is full or the entry requirements can’t be met.

Once your young person starts to receive offers, they need to respond in the following ways.

  • Firm choice - they can only have one firm choice. This is the first choice out of all the offers they receive.
  • Insurance choice - as well as the first choice, your young person can also select a back-up, which is called their insurance choice.
  • Decline - once your young person has selected their firm and insurance choices, they need to decline all other offers.

They may also be invited to attend for an interview for some courses and universities.

Interview tips

Visit the university interview section on our 'Applying to university' webpages to ensure you're ready to impress

Find out more


Results day is in August. This is when your young person receives their exam results. They use UCAS Hub to check if they have met the entry requirements they need to achieve their offer. If the conditions have been met, they will automatically be accepted by their first-choice university. If they have missed out by just a couple of grades they may still be accepted – get in touch with the university as soon as possible to discuss options.

UCAS Clearing

Clearing is a service that helps students without a university place to find a suitable vacancy at a university of their choice, depending on capacity and entry requirements. It's available between July and September but tends to be used by most students after their exam results are published in August.

UCAS Extra

Extra is for students who have applied through UCAS and made five choices but aren't holding any offers. In Extra, students can apply for any course with vacancies from mid-February to early July.

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