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Guide to applying to university

How do I help my son or daughter to choose?

Newspapers such as The Guardian and The Times have comprehensive sections on their sites devoted to information about UK universities. Individual universities will have their own sites to consult. You might also like to see our tips on choosing the right university

Choosing UEL

On our Why UEL page you’ll find out what sets us apart from other universities, and the reasons UEL could be the right choice for your child.

The full range of our undergraduate courses can be found on our course search.

Enquiries

We also have a dedicated Applicant Enquiries team available Monday to Friday (9am–5pm) to answer any questions. You can contact them by telephone on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, or email them at study@uel.ac.uk.

What is UCAS?

All UK undergraduate applications must be made through UCAS. UCAS is the organisation responsible for processing applications to UK universities for all undergraduate courses.

What is the UCAS tariff?

The UCAS tariff is a system that rates how a student has done in their exams and turns it into points. The exams can be A Levels, or other qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate or BTECs. This means that universities and colleges can compare the academic records of students who are applying on a like-for-like basis. The system also gives students a clear idea of how their achievements match up to the requirements of their chosen course or university. If your child is studying something that is not a mainstream qualification, it is worth double-checking the university they are applying for recognises the qualification. UCAS has a handy UCAS Tariff calculator on its website

Finding your way around the UCAS website

UCAS is responsible for processing applications to UK universities for all undergraduate courses. The UCAS website has lots of information, so finding your way around on the website is important.

Here are some tips to find what you need:
  • Getting Started: This section has some useful videos about what UCAS does and how it can help you. There is also a parents section where you can sign up for newsletters. 
  • Find A Course: You can search by location or by university and find out about entry requirements and whether interviews will be involved.
  • Subject Browsing: this section may have courses your son or daughter has never heard of, but which look interesting and appealing.
  • UCAS Track: Once students have applied to university, they can keep up to date with the application process through the UCAS Track system.
  • Clearing: If students don’t get the grades they need for their firm or insurance choices, they can then go through Clearing. This matches them up to courses that still have vacancies. At UEL, we also have a dedicated Clearing service.

When to apply?

Applying to study at UEL couldn’t be simpler. We help our students through every step of the process.

Students should start looking at universities around 18 months before they would be due to start. Follow our timeline below to learn about key dates and what happens when.

Top tips: Timeline for applying

1 year before: choosing and applying to university

There are more than 150 universities in the United Kingdom, offering more than 37,000 different courses. So it’s never too early to begin research. Ideally students should start their research in Sixth form (years 12 and 13), a year before they plan to attend university.

During the summer of the year before they plan to go to university, students should start to narrow down their choices to the five they will put on their UCAS application form.

Collect and review university prospectuses – read up in your UEL prospectus to check if courses have early application dates.

Open Days provide a great opportunity find out about courses, check out facilities and speak to current students and staff. The next scheduled Open Day at UEL is on Saturday, June 17. Find out more on our Open Days page.

September is the time for applications ahead of the main UCAS deadline in January. If you have a child starting in year 13, their school or college will oversee much of the process and provide them with a reference.

Prospective students can apply for up to five courses. All courses have entry requirements that students need to meet to before we can offer them a place. You can read all about UEL’s entry requirements on our undergraduate applying page.

The UCAS main deadline for undergraduate applications is January. Don’t push it to the line if you can help it! This can also be the deadline for scholarship and bursary funding applications.

6 months before: offers and finance

January to June is the key period for checking responses to applications.

Once they have applied to university, students can follow the progress of their applications online, and respond to offers they get, through UCAS Track.

Once a student has submitted their five applications they will start to receive responses. These will one of three types. An Unconditional Offer (U) means there are no conditions to be met and they definitely have a place on the course. A Conditional Offer (C) means they have conditions to meet before entry, such as certain A Level grades or International Baccalaureate scores. The third response is Unsuccessful (R). Students have until the beginning of May to reply to their offers. 

Students will need to decide on their first choice (known as a Firm Acceptance). They will also need an Insurance Acceptance in case they don’t get the grades required for their first choice. 

If they accept an unconditional offer it becomes Unconditional Firm (UF). If they accept a conditional offer it becomes a Conditional Firm (CF) – and then an UF once conditions are met. They can send a decline to university offers they don’t wish to take up.

If your son or daughter doesn't receive any offers, or declines those received, there is a second chance to apply through UCAS Extra. This free service will enable them to apply for universities that have vacancies. They will be able to apply to one course at a time between February and early July. To find out more, go visit the UCAS Extra webpage.

UK/EU students
Student loans
From February onwards, your son or daughter should start to apply for Student Finance. This will be paid directly to the University and is available to all new UK/EU students. Under the current arrangements, students are able to ‘study now and pay later’. This means students don’t have to repay the Tuition Fee Loan until they are earning a reasonable income.

UK students may also be eligible for a Maintenance Loan to help cover their living costs. Find out more about loans at gov.uk/apply-for-student-finance.

Financial support and scholarships for UK/EU students
The University also offers a generous range of scholarships and bursaries. In 2016/17, the university awarded over £1.5 million in scholarships and bursaries, supporting over 3,400 Home and EU students.

Find out more about our financial support on our fees and funding page.

International (non-EU) students
We understand that by studying in another country students are making a big financial investment in their future. We offer a generous package of scholarships to ensure that students receive the best value for money, and helpful payment plans to get them started.

DSA
If they have a disability or learning difficulty, they should apply early for Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). It can take around 12 weeks for the allowance to be set up, but if they are planning to take up a place in September they can apply from January onwards.

Accommodation
Our iconic Student Village, located by the waterfront at our Docklands campus, is home to almost 1,200 students. Accommodation is available to UEL students studying at Docklands or Stratford campuses.

Living on campus, students will benefit from a fee bus service between the two campuses, en-suite rooms, some of the most affordable on-campus rooms in London, on-site laundry facilities and a secure campus and halls-of-residence, with gated entrances and 24/7 security staff. In addition, our there are also studio and wheelchair-accessible rooms available as well as on-campus catering outlets with pay-in-advance options available.

Transport connections to our halls of residence are excellent, with a DLR station at the entrance to the Docklands campus. The O2 Arena, Canary Wharf, Westfield shopping centre, and the rest of London is just a short journey away.

1 month before: Results day and Clearing

If your son or daughter has secured a university place – great!

If not – whether it was because there were no offers made, all offers were declined or exam results failed to meet entry requirements, don't panic, there is another way forward.

UCAS Clearing
is a system that allows students to make additional applications for courses that still have vacancies. Clearing opens in August. If your son or daughter would like to apply to UEL, we have a Clearing website and dedicated advisors to help students every step of the way.

If your child has done better than expected and exceeded conditions for the first choice university, they can also apply to another course at another university. Check the UCAS website for more information on Adjustment.

1 day before: a checklist

After all the effort of research, applications, funding and exams, it’s time to set off for university.

Make you have all things from the checklist below:

  • Student Loan documents
  • Form of ID
  • University acceptance letter
  • Accommodation terms and conditions
  • Bank account details
  • Debit card
  • Insurance documents
  • Student discount cards
  • Mobile phone
  • Laptop
  • USB stick
  • Toiletries
  • Medication
  • Kitchen essentials
  • Stationery
  • Bedding and towels
  • Alarm clock

How to apply to UEL

Applying to study at UEL couldn’t be simpler. We help our students through every step of the process.

  • If your child wants to start a full-time course at UEL in September, they should apply online via the ‘Apply’ button on the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website. Your son or daughter will need the unique UCAS institution code (ELOND) and code for UEL (E28), as well as the UCAS code for the course they want to study.

  • If your child has applied late, hasn't yet applied, changed their mind or missed out on the requirements of a conditional offer, they can apply to us through Clearing. Students looking to apply to UEL through Clearing should call our Clearing hotline on +44 (0)20 8223 3333.
If your child has any questions about how to apply to UEL, they can contact out Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333.

Where can I get help with my son or daughter's application?

Applicant Enquiries

We have a dedicated Applicant Enquiries team available Monday to Friday (9am–5pm) to answer any questions. You can contact them by telephone on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, or email them at study@uel.ac.uk.

Information, Advice and Guidance

Students can also contact our Information Advice and Guidance (IAG) team if they have any questions or concerns about starting university, or if they are unsure what course they want to study. The IAG team can also offer advice on finance and funding. They are based at our University Square Stratford campus and run drop-in sessions in the day and some evenings. Contact them by telephone on +44 (0)20 8223 4354, or email them at advisors@uel.ac.uk. For details of opening times, visit www.uel.ac.uk/iag.

In addition, your son or daughter's academic school will have dedicated advisers that can help with CV workshops, interview and networking skills, and volunteering opportunities.

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