It might seem a little late in the game, but there are still some great options to be found if your teen is looking for a place at university.
There are many reasons they might reconsider their options.
They may worry that they may not meet the requirements for their firm and insurance choices come results day and want a backup. Maybe they actually did a lot better than they expected and want to reconsider their university or course choice. Or maybe something has changed and they simply have only just decided to go to university.
Don’t panic buy!
There is of course always the option to take a gap year, which can be a great way to explore options in detail, get relevant experience and be able to apply knowing their actual results.
They may feel under pressure to start this year, due to the changes to the student loan system from 2023. But take care that they don’t “panic buy” and then regret it.
However, if your teen is sure and keen to start studying this September, here are some tips before they make their choices:
Consider carefully what they actually want from the course.
They will have to make decisions quite soon now, which makes it even more important that they are clear on what they want. What topics do they want to cover? What teaching and assessment methods work well for them? And does this fit with how the courses work? Do they need or want a course that is accredited by an industry body? What about specific facilities, industry links, or wider options at the university, like what clubs and teams are available? And then there are considerations like location, travel, and living costs.
It can be helpful to make a list of things, ideally split into “must haves” and “would be nice”. This can help “screen” options and narrow down the shortlist.
Don’t wait till results day!
If they haven’t applied anywhere yet, of course, they should get started.
But even if they are “just” worried about their results and that they may need a backup, it’s usually better to start researching now. At least they have a few extra days to really explore and maybe even catch an open day before results day.
It can get very busy on results day, so it is worth being prepared, talking to different universities now, and having backups ready in order of preference.
What if they have changed their mind about their offer?
If your child has changed their mind about the course they have applied for, they are able to decline the offer. They should think very carefully about doing this though!
If they are holding a firm unconditional place, they can use the ‘Decline your place’ button in their application to release themselves. They should be absolutely sure and speak to the university before making the final decision.
If they like the university and want to change to a different course there, they must speak to the university directly! Using the button in UCAS will also cancel any accommodation or scholarships arrangements. Which might not be what they want if they actually want to come to the university.
If they decline their firm offer they will enter clearing. This means they also lose their place on their insurance choice. If they prefer to go there, they should speak to that university first and check if they will accept them before declining the firm offer.
Clearing can be a good option if used well, and UCAS has some excellent resources on their website here to help you.
But if they are not sure, taking a year to explore and get relevant experience could be a great option too and help them find their ideal course for next year.