• University of Reading

A Parent and Supporter’s Guide to University Entry

Learn about the UK's university application process and how to prepare your young person for university and the student journey.

2,677 enrolled on this course

A young person with their parent or supporter are looking at a laptop screen

Support your child to make informed decisions with this university parent guide

Navigating the Higher Education application process can be confusing for young people and their parents. This course will help you to support your young person in the university application process.  

You’ll explore the application timeline and key decision dates, such as when to register, and the deadline for submitting personal statements. This course will also address common concerns such as what financial aid is available, and what support services your young person will have access to throughout their time at university.

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  • Week 1

    Researching higher education

    • Welcome

      Welcome to A parent and supporter’s guide to university entry. Meet the Educators and find out what will be covered in this three-week course.

    • What do you know about higher education

      Share what your current understanding is of higher education and your hopes and fears as your children consider what to do next

    • Researching higher education

      It's natural to have concerns about your young person going to university. Over the next few Steps, we'll discuss what influences your young person's decision as they start researching their options.

    • Review and Reflect

      Reflect on the topics covered in Week 1

  • Week 2

    The Application Process

    • Starting the process

      Welcome to Week 2, where we'll explore in more detail the application process as well as how you and your young person can make the most of key events such as open days.

    • Research

      Over the next few steps, we'll be looking at what's involved in applying to university and look at a timeline of everything involved in the process.

    • Open Days (virtual and in person)

      Before your young person completes their application, they'll likely need to gather information on their choices to make informed decisions. open days are one of the best ways to help prepare and understand their priorities.

    • During the applications

      As your young people start writing their applications, now is the time to help make sure they have all the information they need. In the next steps, we'll look at how you can help during this time.

    • Review and reflect

      Reflect on the topics covered in Week 2

  • Week 3


    • Waiting for offers

      In this final week, we take a look at what happens towards the end of the application process, and help you, as parents and supporters understand the financial aspects of going to university

    • Student Finances

      Over the next few steps, explore some of the living costs your young people may be choosing between and hear from some students on how they managed on a budget.

    • What if

      In the next few steps, you'll be looking at the responses your young person might get from the institutions they apply to and what happens if they don't get the grades they were hoping for.

    • Review and reflect

      Thank you for joining us on this course. This is your chance to ask any final questions you have as we reflect on what you have learned

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

If you'd like to take part while our educators are leading the course, they'll be joining the discussions, in the comments, between these dates:

  • 6 Jun 2022 - 26 Jun 2022

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the range of higher education options available
  • Identify and understand key dates in the application process
  • Collect practical tips on how to make the most of university open days
  • Investigate financial implications of studying at university
  • Apply understanding of the process and being prepared for any unexpected outcomes

Who is the course for?

The course is for parents, carers, and supporters of students that are entering university and who may be leaving home for the first time.

This course will also be useful for staff in local authorities supporting children in care and teaching staff looking for CPD training and to learn more about the university process.

Who will you learn with?

20 years experience working in careers and Higher Education helping young people with their post 16 choices.

Who developed the course?

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.


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  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

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  • Limited access to course content for 3 weeks

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