• University of Reading

A Parent and Supporter’s Guide to University Entry

Navigate the university application process for UK students and prepare your young person for their student journey.

4,612 enrolled on this course

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

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Digital upgrade


Help your young person make informed decisions about the best option for them

Navigating the university application process for UK students can be confusing both for young people and their parents. This course will help you support your young person to research their options, find universities that suit them and effectively manage the processes of applying for courses and finances. As well as the administrative side, it’ll help you prepare your young person practically for life as a student.

You’ll investigate the UCAS application timeline and key decision dates, such as when to register and the deadline for submitting personal statements. You’ll explore the opportunities to visit universities and discover what they offer beyond just the academic side of education. And the course will also address common concerns such as what financial aid is available and the support services your young person will have access to.

Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry and the final section of the course explains how to redirect your young person towards alternative options should their grades not turn out as expected.

Download video: standard

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds As a parent or carer of a young person thinking about going to University, it’s natural to have lots of questions. You might be unfamiliar with what’s involved in applying to University. And it may be the first time that they’ve left home. So we’ve created this online course to help you to support your young person throughout the application process to help you understand what things will be like for them at University and how you can help them prepare for life as a student.

Skip to 0 minutes and 31 seconds We’ll talk to you about key dates in the process and what to expect as well as looking at practical tips and how to make the most of visit days, understanding student finances, and getting a feeling for what life may be like for your young person away from home.


  • Week 1

    Researching the options and the application process

    • Welcome

      Meet the Educators and find out what will be covered in this two-week course.

    • Weighing the options

      Consider higher education in the context of all the options and surface your hopes and fears as your young person looks to their future.

    • The application process

      Discover how the university application process works and explore a timeline of the key dates and deadlines.

  • Week 2

    Visiting universities, finances and how the final decision is made

    • Open Days and visits

      Welcome to Week 2. Discuss how you can encourage your young person to make the most of open days and other university visit days.

    • Finances

      Get to grips with the financial aspects of going to university

    • Offers and results

      Explore 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.

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

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...

  • Identify and understand the key dates in the UCAS application process for UK students as well as how to apply for student loans
  • Collect practical tips on how to make the most of university open days
  • Explore the financial implications for UK students studying at university and the support that is available
  • Investigate the full range of options available for university education and identify what's important to your young person

Who is the course for?

The course is for parents, carers, and supporters of students who are entering university and 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.

What's included?

University of Reading are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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