Before they apply, students should be collecting as much information as they can and putting together a shortlist of preferred universities. UCAS fairs run from February to June each year and will help them make their decision. They should also attend open days of any institutions that they are interested in applying to.
From September, students will start to complete their UCAS application online. This single application will ask them to list their five preferred institutions and course choices. The personal statement is a key part of this process. Their statement should explain how they chose the course, why it’s important to them and how it relates to their experience and interest. Any relevant work experience is important to mention here.
Over the next few months, universities make their decisions about whom to offer places to. Sometimes this decision may involve the university asking the student to attend an interview. If successful, the university will make the student a conditional or unconditional offer. A conditional offer is an offer of a place that is dependent on the student achieving certain grades or points in their forthcoming A Levels or other exams. An unconditional offer is made if the student has already achieved the required grades.
All our offer holders are invited to visit the University before they make their final decision about where to study. Even if they have already attended a summer open day, it’s still worthwhile attending, as this experience will be very different. This is their chance to find out about the course they’ve applied for, meet their lecturers, talk to current students and tour the department and facilities. Often these days will include sample lectures or tutorials, which will give a real taste of life as a Sheffield student.
Your son or daughter is then required to make their final two choices. The Firm choice is the offer that is accepted as first choice, with the Insurance choice being their second; usually this will have lower conditions than their first choice. Once they have made their decision and replied to UCAS, they can apply for accommodation.
Waiting for exams results can be a stressful time. If your son or daughter hasn’t got the grades they need, there are still opportunities available to them. Alternatively, if they’ve done better than expected, they can also look at other options. This process is called Clearing and Adjustment.
Once they know which university they will be attending, they will be sent all the pre-arrival information they require. At Sheffield this includes practical guidance on how to register, along with information about Intro Week. To make the most of Intro Week it’s a good idea to plan in advance which events they wish to attend.
Although this can be a period of anxiety and concern for you and them, it’s also a very exciting time. They’re probably going to meet more new people and make more friends during Intro Week, than in any other week of their lives. We understand parents’ apprehension though, and to help new students settle in, we run a complete programme of events specifically designed to help familiarise them with the University and their new life-style.