Are you supporting someone who's applying to university? This guide for parents and supporters gathers together the information you need about Lancaster University and the key milestones in the application process.
Why Lancaster University?
Lancaster University is amongst the best in the UK. Top 10 in all three major national league tables, and the Times and Sunday Times University of the Year 2018, Lancaster University is also highly ranked in international league tables such as the QS World Rankings.
Read more about our reputation and rankings.
Things you need to know
One step at a time
Some key milestones in the lead up to starting University
The earlier your son/daughter begins their research the better. There are so many different options and it will take time to research and narrow down the options.
In the UK, UCAS fairs start in March in the year prior to entry and attending one of these is a great way to speak to representatives from a number of different universities, attend seminars and collect prospectuses. Your son/daughter's school/college may organise a trip to their nearest fair, or you can go along with your son/daughter.
Outside of the UK there are many in-country events and alumni who would be happy to discuss their undergraduate experiences, we also have a network of agents and representatives who will support your son/daughter through the application process. Take a look at our International pages to find out more. Alternatively, our Virtual Open Day provides a great way to get a feel for the University.
Once you have a shortlist, book onto some university Open Days. Most universities hold their open days from May - October, where you can go along as a family if you wish and really get a feel for the ones your son/daughter might want to apply to by speaking to current students, meeting lecturers and touring the facilities.
2. Prepare personal statement and submit applications.
UCAS applications open on 1st September each year and the initial deadline for most courses is 15th January, although Medicine and Oxbridge close on 15th October. Your son/daughter’s school or college will have a very clear set of deadlines to support the UCAS application process and may encourage an early application to allow plenty of time to complete a reference.
Once the application has been submitted, your son/daughter can track its progress using UCAS track.
Each university will work to different timescales. At Lancaster, our Admissions Team aims for decisions to be made within three weeks of receiving the application, but for some courses, the timescale will be longer, particularly if there are other factors in the decision making process e.g. an interview, portfolio assessment or similar. Please also bear in mind that applications submitted just before holiday periods (e.g. Christmas) will take longer to process.
4. Apply for Student Finance
It’s worth your son or daughter making a start on this as soon as they can. When they are completing their loan application they will need to agree to share your household income details with the University if they want to be considered for our Lancaster Bursary.
UK/EU Student Finance applications should be submitted by the end of May to guarantee payment at the start of term.
Visit gov.uk/student-finance for more information on student finance.
5. Attend Applicant Visit Days and interviews (if applicable)
Lancaster applicants will be invited to attend an Applicant Visit Day to meet their department and learn more about the course they have applied for.
6. Reply to offers
Once your son/daughter has received all their offers, it’s now up to them to make their firm/insurance and decline decisions. By placing a university as their firm choice, if your son/daughter meets the entry requirements then they are guaranteed a place there. The insurance choice is a second or back-up choice, they should try to pick an offer with lower grades than their firm choice just in case results day doesn’t go as planned.
The UCAS deadline for replying to an offer made before 31st March is 1st May and we’d encourage all our applicants to take the time to make the right choice for them rather than rushing into a quick acceptance.
7. Choose accommodation and college
If your son/daughter make Lancaster their firm or insurance choice we'll contact them with options for living on campus and invite them to choose their accommodation and college. We have a variety of room types available on campus, split between eight colleges – from standard rooms with shared facilities to rooms in townhouses, en-suite rooms and even self-contained studios that come complete with their own kitchens.
Our award-winning accommodation has been named Best University Halls seven times since 2010 in the National Student Housing Survey, and we were 1st for Accommodation in the THE Experience Survey 2018.
If, as we hope, your son/daughter meets the conditions of their offer, they will have their place confirmed via UCAS. If the university needs any additional information from them (in terms of results transcripts) we will be in contact directly, if not, the status of their application will be amended from conditional to unconditional and pre-arrival information will follow by email and post within a few days.
If they haven’t quite achieved the grades they were hoping for but have met the conditions of their insurance choice, their application will change to their insurance institution and be amended to unconditional and again, pre-arrival information will follow.
If their grades fall lower than both their firm and insurance choices, they will enter UCAS Clearing and you can find out more information about this process at ucas.com.
If your son/daughter has done better than expected and exceeded their firm offer, they may wish to consider UCAS Adjustment which opens on 15th August until 31st August. Adjustment is a chance for them to reconsider where and what to study, they could potentially swap to another course or university if there are places available. For more information, please visit the UCAS webpages.
Information about Clearing and Adjustment places available at Lancaster and the entry criteria will be available at lancaster.ac.uk/clearing.
9. Get ready!
Once their place has been confirmed, we’ll start to send out information detailing everything your son or daughter needs to do before they join us.
Welcome week takes place at the beginning of October. Get ready for a warm welcome when you arrive, with a dedicated reception for parents at Arrivals Weekend.
How are they feeling?
Starting university and moving away from home is a big step, with its own challenges and opportunities.
We asked some of our students about their experiences when they started at Lancaster, how they coped and the support they received.