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FAQs for parents and guardians

We're here to answer your questions about higher education – from the application process to the support available while studying. Here, you'll find answers to some of the most common queries from parents and guardians. If you need more advice, please get in touch.

  • FAQs

    • How can I help my child choose the right course?

      With so much choice, advance research is crucial. You can help your child by using the course search at the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website. If your child has a specific career in mind, you could help them find out which courses are a stepping-stone to that profession.

      It's also worth considering which courses link to their strengths, hobbies and interests – many courses can lead to a variety of jobs.

    • How can I help my child choose the right university for them?

      They should prioritise what's important for them – location, student mix, accommodation, facilities, social life, course, learning support – and then find universities that are the best match, and create a short list.

      If possible, accompany your son or daughter to open days for all the universities on their list – they're essential for getting a feel for the area and atmosphere on campus. We offer a range of dates for you and your child to come and get to know us. For more information visit our Undergraduate open days page.

    • What is UCAS and how does it work?

      UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. They process all full-time applications to higher education. Your son or daughter will send their application to UCAS, who will then forward it to the chosen institutions. The universities will then decide whether to make an offer, let UCAS know and UCAS will contact your child.

      Universities may decline the application (saying no), offer a conditional place (your child can accept this if they achieve the entry requirements the university asks for) or make an unconditional offer (meaning the university is happy to take your son or daughter with their current qualifications).

      Your child will then need to decide on a firm acceptance -– this should be the offer they most want to take up. They must also choose an insurance option, a second choice in the event they don't achieve the tariff points required by the firm acceptance.

      If your child receives no offers, they can apply again through UCAS Extra. If on results day they are unable to take up their firm or insurance choice, there is Clearing – or, if they do better than expected, Adjustment.

      Both Clearing and Adjustment mean that your son or daughter can contact universities who still have places and ask if they could take one of them.

    • When are the application deadlines?
      • 15 October for Oxford and Cambridge universities and all medicine and dentistry courses elsewhere
      • 15 January for all other applications. Universities may consider applications made after this date, but they are not obliged to. Applications made by this date will have a decision by the beginning of May.
      • 24 March for some art and design courses
      • Beginning/mid May – students need to have their firm and insurance options
    • What does my son or daughter need to include in their application form?

      Basic information such as name, address and age, the September they are planning on starting university, grades or predicted grades, course and universities choices and a personal statement.

      The personal statement can be up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines. In it, your child should explain which course they have applied for, their reasons for this, and why they're a good candidate for university. A personal statement needs to be well-written and considered as it is the best way for your child to stand out from other applicants with the same grade.

      See our Undergraduate application page for more information on filling out a UCAS application as well as a video giving advice on how to write a personal statement.

    • Is a gap year a good idea?

      Yes, provided it is used constructively. If your son or daughter is planning on taking a gap year, they should mention what their plans are in their personal statement. They can go through UCAS at the same time as their peers and hold their place for a year until they take it up.

      You can find some further advice on taking a gap year on the UCAS website.

    • What are the accommodation options?

      These will vary between universities, but your child will need to apply in advance. Popular options include halls of residence (on-site accommodation), private accommodation or living at home. Most universities have dedicated offices to help students explore their options.

      For information on accommodation options at Middlesex visit our Accommodation pages.

    • What can my year 12 child be doing now to prepare?

      Early research is key. If your son or daughter leaves thinking about higher education until they start year 13, they may find the time pressure quite stressful, especially as competition for places can be tough.

      There's a lot they can do to help make their decision easier, such as attending some early open days. It's also a good idea for your child to investigate which course, study abroad or work placement options are available, as these factors might influence their decision. They can explore university websites or online and printed prospectuses.

      If they're considering a really competitive course, undertaking some work experience during the summer holiday before starting year 13 might be useful.

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