Parents and Supporters
Are you supporting someone who's applying to university? This guide for parents and supporters gathers together the information you need about Lancaster University, the key milestones in the university application process, useful tips and resources.
Why do students choose Lancaster University?
As a parent, you want peace of mind knowing where your child will be studying for their degree.
Lancaster University is consistently recognised as one of the leading universities in the UK. We rank 1st in the North and 8th in England in the National Student Survey, along with 5th for value for money and 14th for job prospects in the Student Crowd Awards. We pride ourselves on providing our students with the best university experience, ensuring they feel supported throughout their studies and beyond.
Things you need to know
Funding concerns should not be a barrier to a student applying to University. Find out more about scholarship, bursary and other funding opportunities here.
For more information on our Counselling and Mental Health Service, Disability Service, transitioning to university support and many other services provided for the benefit of our students' wellbeing, health and happiness during their time at university.
Lancaster University places high importance on the safety of our students, staff and visitors alike. Visit our campus security page to learn more about how we make our students feel safe and secure during their studies.
All you need to know about the extensive range of accommodation offered across our nine colleges as well as in the city centre.
How student confidentiality affects the information we can disclose
One Step at a Time
Familiarise yourself with a student's application process
For a student, the application process for university can sometimes be a little stressful or overwhelming, and they will look to you to help them through this process. See below some key milestones to help familiarise yourself with the various stages of a student's application.
The first step in the process of going to university is research. There are so many different options and it will take time to explore and narrow down the right options for the student. The earlier you begin researching the better, and you can be a big help in assisting and supporting with this research.
Some useful ways you can help your student is to:
- Visit UCAS/UK University Search fairs which 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 talksand collect prospectuses.
- 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 student might want to apply to by speaking to current students, meeting lecturers and touring the facilities.
- 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 student 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.
The next step in the process is for your student to write up their personal statement and submit their application to UCAS. UCAS has a website full of useful information to guide you through the year, like the: UCAS Parents Guide.
UCAS applications open in September each year and the initial deadline for most courses is in January, although Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary and Oxbridge applications close in October.
Your student’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.
You can view the full the of undergradute UCAS key dates here.
2. Student Finance
This can often be one of the most daunting parts of the process for your student, but this can also be where you can help the most. UK/EU Student Finance applications should be submitted by the end of May to guarantee payment at the start of term.
If your student is applying for a student loan based upon household income, you may need to give Student Finance England information about your income.
This information is shared with universities to allow consideration for
additional financial support such as our Lancaster Bursary.
Your household income is the joint income of you:
- your child
- your spouse/partner
You will submit this information by creating your own account with Student Finance England as part of this process.
You can find out everything you need to know about what information you will need to provide and all other details of the process here:
- Support your child or partner's student finance application
- UCAS Student finance guidance for parents and partners
In the weeks and months preceeding the opening of Student Finance for application, Lancaster University runs a series of dedicated Student Finance for Parents and Supporters webinars which are free to attend and give you direct access to our Recruitment and Admissions staff. These will be advertised on our events page.
Moving on, the next step would be to consider going to Applicant Visit Days with your studnet this may be prior to or after receiving university offers. These differ from open days in that they are specifically for those who have applied for the institution. These typically run between November-April. Lancaster applicants will be invited to attend an Offer Holder Event to meet their department and learn more about the course they have applied for.
When it comes to receiving offers from universities, 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 eg 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.
During this time, offering whatever support your student needs will be helpful. They may seek your advice and opinion on the offers they receive, helping them decide which ones they wish to accept.
Once your student has received all of their offers, it’s now up to them to make their firm/insurance and decline decisions. This may be a stressful time for them, but it’s important they accept offers to institutions they are 100% happy with, which is why we encourage all our applicants to take the time to make the right choice for them rather than rushing into a quick acceptance.
4. Get Ready!
The final stage will most likely be the most exciting one of the process for your student. This will be the time to choose the accommodation they will be living in if they’ve chosen to move from home whilst at university and it will also be the time for them to think about their life at university. For example, if they 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.
Results time. Scary, yet exciting. If, as we hope, your student meets the conditions of their offer they have chosen, 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. Information about Clearing at Lancaster and the entry criteria is available on our Clearing page.
The final step of this process is to help your student get ready for their transition to university. By this stage, their place has been confirmed, and they’ll start being sent information detailing everything they need to do before they start their university journey.
Welcome week at Lancaster takes place at the end of September.
What is it like starting at Lancaster University?
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.Student Experiences
Useful quick links for Parents and Supporters
General advice and guidance
Parents and supporters often help students to decide on a university location and course, as well as support in applications to UCAS and Student Finance.
International Parents and Supporters
Are you an international parent or supporter and want to know how to support your child in attending university abroad?
UCAS have guidance for parents that have children interested in coming to the UK for university International undergraduate guide parents.
The Fostering Network has resources available for any foster parent wanting to know more about the children under their care and higher education.
Do you have a child in your care that is interested in attending university? The Fostering Network suggests ways in which you as a foster parent can support a child's journey to higher education.
Since May 2014, fostered young people in England have the right to stay with their foster families when they reach 18, if both parties agree. This change to the law was achieved after a long campaign led by The Fostering Network.
If a child wants to attend university, they can remain in placement after turning 18.
Lancaster offer a range of support services for Care Leavers and those who are Care Experienced. For more information, please see our pages on Care Leavers.