The Year Before Students Enrol at University
Students should begin researching universities and might attend one of the UCAS Higher Education (HE) Fairs which take place around the UK each year. Visit the UCAS website for details on dates and locations of HE Fairs. Our Education Liaison team also visits schools and colleges across the UK to offer advice and guidance to Year 12 and Year 13 students on higher education options.
Open Days begin for many universities before schools and colleges break up for the summer holidays. Open Days are a great way to get a feel for a university and its location, as well as to meet staff and students. At Lincoln, we encourage families to visit us at an Open Day to explore our campus and surrounding city.
Our first Open Days tend to be held in July for the following year of entry, and we offer several dates between September and December, usually on Saturdays, but sometimes with weekday options and Sundays too. Open Days are large scale events, with several thousand visitors at each, and we also offer smaller 'informal visit days' throughout the year.
Your child will submit their university application form online via UCAS and will be able to make up to five course choices. Applications through UCAS open in the September before the intended year of entry. Some specialist courses, such as Medicine, have different timelines, including early application deadlines, so check the UCAS website for key dates.
Universities will review your child's application and, if they believe they meet the entry criteria, make them an offer. A conditional offer means your child will need to achieve certain grades in their exams to confirm their place.
Your child can keep track of the progress of their applications and any offers received via UCAS Track. Offers must be accepted as a ‘firm’ (first) or ‘insurance’ (second) choice by certain dates, usually in the spring of the year of entry. These deadlines are set by UCAS and depend on when applicants received the last of their offers. When students make their firm and insurance choices, all other offers must be declined.
Once your child has been offered a place by a university, they may be invited to visit again. The University of Lincoln runs Offer Holder Days which are subject-focused and include opportunities to meet academics and students, and to participate in masterclasses or workshops. We offer a separate timetable of talks aimed at parents. Some courses may require your child to attend an interview before an offer is made.
While you are researching and visiting universities, you can also look at accommodation options with your child. At the University of Lincoln, applying for accommodation is simple; once your child has made their ‘firm’ choice with UCAS they can use our online accommodation booking system, which opens in early November to apply for accommodation.
The Year Students Plan to Enrol at University
The UCAS deadline for most courses is mid-late January of the year of entry. Deadline dates can vary for particular subjects, such as Medicine and some art and design programmes, so check key dates on the UCAS website or with your chosen university. The January deadline is the UCAS 'equal consideration' deadline, meaning universities will consider all applications received by that date. Universities may still accept later applications, but this will depend on demand for their courses. Very popular programmes may close to new applications.
Applications for student finance usually open in February and should be submitted by the end of May to ensure that your child has funding in place for the start of their course. Applications are typically made online through Student Finance England (or its equivalent if you are from another UK nation). More information about fees and funding can be found here.
The deadline for your child to reply to all of their offers on UCAS Track is usually in May. The exact date will depend on when they received the last of their university offers and can be found in UCAS Track.
After replying to their offers, your child will be able to apply for university accommodation.
July and August
A Level results are usually published in mid-August, with BTEC results released from July onwards. University applicants holding conditional offers will find out if they have secured a place at their first choice university or their insurance choice. If your child does not meet the terms of their offer, or changes their mind about their chosen course, they can use the Clearing process. Clearing matches students without a university place to courses that still have vacancies.
If your child has done better than anticipated and exceeded the conditions of their offer, they can use the related Adjustment process to find vacancies on courses with more demanding entry criteria.