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Undergraduate

Applying to university:
your complete guide

Need a hand with your university application?

Getting your university application just right can be a daunting process. How do you know which universities to apply to? What should you include to give yourself the best chance of getting the place you want?

Help is at hand – take a look at our helpful advice below, much of which has come from our current students that have already been through the process.

The UCAS deadline has been extended to 29 January. Need some extra help before then? Drop us a message on Live Chat at the bottom of this page and we'll talk you through it.

Student in the Library

The complete step-by-step guide to applying to university

  • #1: Finding the right university and course
  • #2 Attending Open Days
  • #3: Completing your application
  • #4: Receiving offers
  • #5: Applicant Experience Days
  • #6: Applying for student finance
  • #7: Responding to offers
  • #8: Booking accommodation
  • #9: Results Day
  • #10: Preparing for university
  • If you're not sure where to start, the UCAS website is a great place to search for courses you're interested in and which universities offer them.

    Choosing where and what to study is a big decision and you need to think about what's important to you.

    • Will you choose a subject that you love and want to study to a higher level?
    • Do you want a course with a placement year to get some real-world experience before you graduate?
    • Do you want to study at a local university or move away?
    • Would you prefer a campus-based university like Hull, or one which is spread out across a city?
    Find a course
  • Most universities are offering virtual versions of their open days, which are big events where you can find out all about the university and what courses they offer.

    You can watch taste lectures to get a feel for the subjects, chat to staff online, ask current students about what life is really like there, and learn about accommodation, student finance and much more.

    Don’t forget, whether virtual or in-person, these days are all about helping you choose what and where to study. Make the most of it by asking lots of questions and spending as much time as you can exploring.

    Book your place at a Virtual Open Day

    Further resources

  • Most students apply to university through the UCAS website - the deadline to apply has been extended to 29 January. You can choose up to five universities/courses and it costs £20 for one choice and £26 for more than one.

    As well as providing your basic details and information about your previous education, you'll also need to write a personal statement - which is a key part of your application. 

    Your personal statement is your chance to stand out from the crowd. This is where you can show the university why you would be a great student there, why you have a passion for the subject, and any relevant experience you have. 

    Struggling on where to start? Help is at hand. Drop us a message on Live Chat at the bottom of this page to speak to one of our experts. 

    Apply now
  • After your application has been received by UCAS, the universities will review your application and will respond by either offering you a place or not.

    Offers could be conditional or unconditional and you'll be given a deadline to respond by.

    A conditional offer means you still need to meet the requirements to have your place confirmed - usually exam results. An unconditional offer means you've got a place. 

    Which ever offers you receive, it's now time to start thinking about how to narrow down your choices.

  • If you've received an offer to study at a university, you'll probably be invited to attend an applicant event. 

    These are a much more detailed than open days and are just for people who have already applied to the university. It's your opportunity to to get a deeper understanding of what the course is like and can be really useful to help you decide whether to accept your offer. 

    You'll usually have the chance to attend taster lectures, speak to the course tutors and you might even meet your future classmates. Like any event, make the most of the day by asking plenty of questions and spending as much time as you can immersing yourself in the experience.

    Received an offer to study at Hull? Look out for an invitation to attend an applicant day. 

  • We know going to university is a huge investment, so how to pay for your studies is a big consideration for most students. And it's fair to say there are a lot of misconceptions out there. 

    If you're a UK student studying an undergraduate course, you could be eligible for a tuition fee loan, and get student finance to help with your living costs. 

    The tuition fee loan covers the costs of your course fees. Once you've been approved for this loan, it will be paid directly to your university. In terms of your living costs, everyone who is available for student finance can get at least some maintenance loan, but depending on your personal circumstances you may be entitled to additional help.

    If you're feeling confused, don't worry. Watch our video below where money expert Dr Nicola Beech talks you through the facts and figures. 

    Further resources

  • Now that you've received all of your offers and attended any open days or applicant days, it's time to respond to your offers. 

    If you have an unconditional offer, you can accept it to confirm your place. If your offers are conditional, you can pick two so that you have one as a back-up.

    There are two types of reply - firm acceptance (your first choice) and insurance acceptance (your back-up choice). Once you've chosen these, you need to decline any other offers. 

    Similar to making your first five choices, there are lots of things to consider when narrowing down your final two.

    • Entry requirements - it's usually a good idea to pick an insurance choice with lower entry requirements
    • Is it close or far enough away from home?
    • Do you like the sound of the modules you'll be studying?
    • Can you study abroad or go on a placement?
    • Can you afford to live in the local area?

    They are a few of the key things - but there might be lots of considerations depending on your circumstances. 

  • Choosing where to live will have a huge impact on your budget, and there are so many options to choose from - halls, rented houses, en-suite rooms, shared bathrooms, the list goes on...

    Most first-year students go straight into university-managed accommodation or 'halls' - which definitely has some advantages. It's a great way to meet new people and make friends outside of your course. Bills are normally included in the price, and often they come with 24-hour security for that extra peace of mind. They're also usually conveniently located as well - either on-campus or nearby. 

    Do your research into the different types of accommodation your chosen university has to offer. Even if you choose to live in halls, there are usually different room types available which can vary in price, so make sure you pick accommodation that fits into your budget. 

    Accommodation at Hull
  • After all of your hard work and the planning you've put into choosing a university - results day can be a stressful time. But whatever happens, you still have options.

    If you achieve the results you were expecting and are still happy with your first choice of university, congratulations! You'll have your offer confirmed, ready for you to accept your place.

    If your exam results are better or worse than expected, your circumstances have changed, or you've just changed your mind about what you want to do - Clearing is your opportunity to get a place at uni.

    During Clearing, universities advertise spaces that are left on their courses, and every year thousands of students get a place through Clearing and go on to flourish in their degrees. Clearing gives you the freedom to switch to a course - and a place - that's right for you.  

    If you're starting university in 2021, results day is Tuesday 24 August 2021.

  • Once you've accepted your offer, it's time to prepare for university. And in between all the celebrating, there's some less exciting stuff that needs doing. 

    Make sure you've sorted your student finance to cover your fees and living costs. Work out a budget and try to stick to it. Our Money Doctors Budget Calculator does all the adding up for you. If you want to top your income in your spare time, you might want to consider looking for part-time work to fit alongside your studies. 

    Look out for emails with info on how to enrol - as you'll need to do this before you start your course. If you have it before teaching starts, take a look at your reading list and pick up copies of the books in advance.

    For many people, university's the first time they'll be living away from home. If that's you, it might be handy to get a crash course in living independently.

    • Learn some basic recipes
    • Figure out how the washing machine works
    • Get a TV license
    • Sort out some insurance (all university accommodation at Hull comes with basic personal possessions insurance - but make sure you check what's covered and if it meets your needs)
  • #1: Finding the right university and course

    If you're not sure where to start, the UCAS website is a great place to search for courses you're interested in and which universities offer them.

    Choosing where and what to study is a big decision and you need to think about what's important to you.

    • Will you choose a subject that you love and want to study to a higher level?
    • Do you want a course with a placement year to get some real-world experience before you graduate?
    • Do you want to study at a local university or move away?
    • Would you prefer a campus-based university like Hull, or one which is spread out across a city?
    Find a course
  • #2 Attending Open Days

    Most universities are offering virtual versions of their open days, which are big events where you can find out all about the university and what courses they offer.

    You can watch taste lectures to get a feel for the subjects, chat to staff online, ask current students about what life is really like there, and learn about accommodation, student finance and much more.

    Don’t forget, whether virtual or in-person, these days are all about helping you choose what and where to study. Make the most of it by asking lots of questions and spending as much time as you can exploring.

    Book your place at a Virtual Open Day

    Further resources

  • #3: Completing your application

    Most students apply to university through the UCAS website - the deadline to apply has been extended to 29 January. You can choose up to five universities/courses and it costs £20 for one choice and £26 for more than one.

    As well as providing your basic details and information about your previous education, you'll also need to write a personal statement - which is a key part of your application. 

    Your personal statement is your chance to stand out from the crowd. This is where you can show the university why you would be a great student there, why you have a passion for the subject, and any relevant experience you have. 

    Struggling on where to start? Help is at hand. Drop us a message on Live Chat at the bottom of this page to speak to one of our experts. 

    Apply now
  • #4: Receiving offers

    After your application has been received by UCAS, the universities will review your application and will respond by either offering you a place or not.

    Offers could be conditional or unconditional and you'll be given a deadline to respond by.

    A conditional offer means you still need to meet the requirements to have your place confirmed - usually exam results. An unconditional offer means you've got a place. 

    Which ever offers you receive, it's now time to start thinking about how to narrow down your choices.

  • #5: Applicant Experience Days

    If you've received an offer to study at a university, you'll probably be invited to attend an applicant event. 

    These are a much more detailed than open days and are just for people who have already applied to the university. It's your opportunity to to get a deeper understanding of what the course is like and can be really useful to help you decide whether to accept your offer. 

    You'll usually have the chance to attend taster lectures, speak to the course tutors and you might even meet your future classmates. Like any event, make the most of the day by asking plenty of questions and spending as much time as you can immersing yourself in the experience.

    Received an offer to study at Hull? Look out for an invitation to attend an applicant day. 

  • #6: Applying for student finance

    We know going to university is a huge investment, so how to pay for your studies is a big consideration for most students. And it's fair to say there are a lot of misconceptions out there. 

    If you're a UK student studying an undergraduate course, you could be eligible for a tuition fee loan, and get student finance to help with your living costs. 

    The tuition fee loan covers the costs of your course fees. Once you've been approved for this loan, it will be paid directly to your university. In terms of your living costs, everyone who is available for student finance can get at least some maintenance loan, but depending on your personal circumstances you may be entitled to additional help.

    If you're feeling confused, don't worry. Watch our video below where money expert Dr Nicola Beech talks you through the facts and figures. 

    Further resources

  • #7: Responding to offers

    Now that you've received all of your offers and attended any open days or applicant days, it's time to respond to your offers. 

    If you have an unconditional offer, you can accept it to confirm your place. If your offers are conditional, you can pick two so that you have one as a back-up.

    There are two types of reply - firm acceptance (your first choice) and insurance acceptance (your back-up choice). Once you've chosen these, you need to decline any other offers. 

    Similar to making your first five choices, there are lots of things to consider when narrowing down your final two.

    • Entry requirements - it's usually a good idea to pick an insurance choice with lower entry requirements
    • Is it close or far enough away from home?
    • Do you like the sound of the modules you'll be studying?
    • Can you study abroad or go on a placement?
    • Can you afford to live in the local area?

    They are a few of the key things - but there might be lots of considerations depending on your circumstances. 

  • #8: Booking accommodation

    Choosing where to live will have a huge impact on your budget, and there are so many options to choose from - halls, rented houses, en-suite rooms, shared bathrooms, the list goes on...

    Most first-year students go straight into university-managed accommodation or 'halls' - which definitely has some advantages. It's a great way to meet new people and make friends outside of your course. Bills are normally included in the price, and often they come with 24-hour security for that extra peace of mind. They're also usually conveniently located as well - either on-campus or nearby. 

    Do your research into the different types of accommodation your chosen university has to offer. Even if you choose to live in halls, there are usually different room types available which can vary in price, so make sure you pick accommodation that fits into your budget. 

    Accommodation at Hull
  • #9: Results Day

    After all of your hard work and the planning you've put into choosing a university - results day can be a stressful time. But whatever happens, you still have options.

    If you achieve the results you were expecting and are still happy with your first choice of university, congratulations! You'll have your offer confirmed, ready for you to accept your place.

    If your exam results are better or worse than expected, your circumstances have changed, or you've just changed your mind about what you want to do - Clearing is your opportunity to get a place at uni.

    During Clearing, universities advertise spaces that are left on their courses, and every year thousands of students get a place through Clearing and go on to flourish in their degrees. Clearing gives you the freedom to switch to a course - and a place - that's right for you.  

    If you're starting university in 2021, results day is Tuesday 24 August 2021.

  • #10: Preparing for university

    Once you've accepted your offer, it's time to prepare for university. And in between all the celebrating, there's some less exciting stuff that needs doing. 

    Make sure you've sorted your student finance to cover your fees and living costs. Work out a budget and try to stick to it. Our Money Doctors Budget Calculator does all the adding up for you. If you want to top your income in your spare time, you might want to consider looking for part-time work to fit alongside your studies. 

    Look out for emails with info on how to enrol - as you'll need to do this before you start your course. If you have it before teaching starts, take a look at your reading list and pick up copies of the books in advance.

    For many people, university's the first time they'll be living away from home. If that's you, it might be handy to get a crash course in living independently.

    • Learn some basic recipes
    • Figure out how the washing machine works
    • Get a TV license
    • Sort out some insurance (all university accommodation at Hull comes with basic personal possessions insurance - but make sure you check what's covered and if it meets your needs)

Still haven’t picked a course yet?

Parents: what can you do to help?

There are a lot of aspects to consider when making decisions about universities and your young person will not be able to consider all of them, so you can play a role in looking into extra financial support, student support services, etc.

The best decision is an informed decision so participate in researching universities and courses with the young person.

Take a look

parent-talking-to-ambassador Hull University Open Day - Saturday 5th October 2019-279 - parents chatting
open-day-3rd-november-2018-235

Join us at a Virtual Open Day

Have you ever had that feeling? That twinge in the pit of your stomach telling you: “This is it.”

Join us at a Virtual Open Event, and you might just find this is that place. Watch live subject talks and get your questions answered by our lecturers. Hear from current students about what Hull is really like, and find out everything you need to know about accommodation, finance, support and more.

Book your place now