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Information for Parents and Carers

Why Chester?

Choosing a university is a big decision for your child to make and we understand that as a parent or carer you want to help them make the right choice.

At Chester, we focus on what matters most so you can rest assured that your child will thrive during their time with us. We’ll help them to make career connections throughout their degree and support them to become a resilient graduate, ready to face the future with confidence. Student support is at the forefront of everything we do, so it’s no surprise that the University is in the top ten for student support (WUSCAs 2020) and has been above the sector average for overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey for the past six years running. The University is in a great location for your child to get involved, try out new things and make new friends. Chester has also been awarded ‘Purple Flag Status’ in recognition of its safe and diverse nightlife, so you can rest-easy that they’re having fun in a safe area.

Students at an Open Day at University of Chester


A Step by Step Guide

Everything you need to know about applying to university.

Step 1: Do the research

It’s a good idea that your child starts to research their university options as soon as possible. When choosing a university, there are so many things to consider and you’ll want to make sure you’ve both got all the information you need to narrow down the options. 

Higher Education Fairs are a good place to start and typically begin in March prior to the application deadline in the following January. These events are a great opportunity to chat with representatives from lots of different universities, gather information and attend a variety of workshops centred around the application process. Your child may attend one of these events with their school or college, or you might want to go along with them and do some research together.  

If your child is applying from outside the UK, there are a number of resources available to help them get all of the information they need. There are a variety of external events they can attend hosted by organisations such as theBritish Council. Here at Chester, we have a number of virtual events and our virtual campus tours are a great way to see facilities and get a real feel for the university. Our friendly International team can help with the application process and you can chat to our students online should either of you want to know more about the student experience. 

Step 2: Attend university open days

Once your child has a number of universities in mind that tick all of their boxes, it’s a good idea to visit these universities at an open day. Most universities will have open days between May and November, so there’s plenty of time for your child to see all of their options. Whether virtually or in person, these events are a great opportunity for both of you to get a real feel for the university, speak to academic staff and current students, and take a look at all of the facilities on offer. 

Step 3: Complete and submit university application

Your child will need to submit their university application via UCAS. Applications open at the start of September and for most courses, the deadline is the 15th January (the deadline for Medicine and Oxbridge is 15th October). Your child’s school or college will support them with creating their application, including writing a personal statement which outlines their skills and interests. The personal statement is a fundamental part of the application so it might be a good idea for you to cast an eye over it before they submit it. More information to help you support your child through the application process can be found here.

Once the application is complete and submitted, your child can use UCAS Track to track its progress. 

Step 4: Receiving offers from universities

Depending on the institution, your child may hear back from different universities at different times. Other factors such as interviews or holiday periods may impact how long it takes for their application to be processed. 

Step 5: Apply for Student Finance

Just like the university application, it’s worth your child making a start on their Student Finance application as soon as they can. Don’t worry if they’re not certain about which university to choose just yet, their Student Finance application can be changed at any point during the application stage. To receive student funding, your child will need to provide details of your household income to see what financial support they are eligible for. 

All UK/EU Student Finance applications should be completed and submitted before the end of May. More information can be found here.

At Chester, we also have additional financial support available. You can find out more about our bursaries here

Step 6: Select a Firm and Insurance choice

Once your child has received offers from their chosen institutions, it’s time for them to reply to their offers on UCAS Track and decide which universities will be their Firm and Insurance choices. But what does that mean exactly? Your child’s Firm choice will be their first-choice university - if they meet the entry requirements, they will be guaranteed a place. An Insurance choice is designed to be a back-up - your child should deliberately choose somewhere with lower entry requirements as their second choice, just in case they don’t get the grades they expected.

It is important that your child replies to their offer before the deadline - their personal deadline will be clearly stated on UCAS Track. Reply deadlines are based on when they received their last decision from those universities and colleges they have applied for. Further information can be found here.

Step 7: Choose accommodation

Once your child has chosen their Firm and Insurance institutions, it’s time to think about student accommodation. It’s important for your child to really think about what’s important to them - do they want an en-suite bathroom? Would they prefer halls of residence or to live in a self-contained house?

At Chester, we have a variety of accommodation options available and we guarantee accommodation to all Firm choice applicants. Rest assured, we don’t allocate accommodation on a first come, first-served basis. As long as they submit their application before the deadline, their application will be considered fairly, and they’ll be guaranteed a place in University-owned accommodation. 

Step 8: Results Day

On Results Day, your child will know if they’ve got the grades they need to get into their Firm choice university. If they have, their place at that institution will be confirmed on UCAS and within a few days they can expect to receive pre-arrival information.

If your child hasn’t managed to secure a place at their first-choice university but they have met the conditions of their Insurance choice, their application on UCAS will change to reflect that. They will then receive pre-arrival information so they’re ready to start in September.

If their grades haven’t met the conditions of either their Firm or Insurance choice, they will enter UCAS Clearing and you can find out more about that here.

It’s also worth knowing that if your child’s grades have exceeded their Firm offer, they may want to consider UCAS Adjustment. This allows them to reconsider their choices and see if there are any places available at other universities with higher entry requirements. There’s more information about UCAS Adjustment here.

Step 9: Look out for Induction information

Starting university can be a big step for new students, and as a parent or carer it’s important to know and understand what support is available for your child, both before they start and whilst they’re at university. More information about student support can be found here.

Prior to starting at Chester, your child will receive induction information including details of different events they can get involved with to help them settle in to university life and support they can access before they start, so keep an eye out for this! They’ll have the opportunity to buddy up with one of our Peer Mentors, who are able to share their experiences and answer any questions about university life in the first year. Your child will also be allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) before the start in September, who will be there to support their personal development to ensure they reach their potential. Not only that, they will be there to help them transition in to university life, giving them a head start, as well as being a friendly face that they’ll recognise when they start.

Step 10: Get excited with them

Everything you and your child need to know about starting university will be sent out to your child over the summer so by the time September arrives, they’ll feel prepared and excited to start their university journey! 


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