Applying to higher education
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APPLYING TO HIGHER EDUCATION. SEPTEMBER 2015. Why bother going to Uni?. The average graduate starting salary is approx £24000 (NI) Graduates entering law, banking and finance, IT and engineering can expect salaries above this

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Applying to higher education



Why bother going to uni
Why bother going to Uni?

  • The average graduate starting salary is approx £24000 (NI)

  • Graduates entering law, banking and finance, IT and engineering can expect salaries above this

  • the average lifetime earnings of a graduate are £227,000 more than those of a non-graduate with two A-levels

  • The UK has passed a significant milestone towards becoming a graduate economy, with more people now likely to have a degree than to have only reached school-level qualifications

How do you apply
How do you apply?

  • Most applications will be through UCAS (electronically)

  • Applications for universities in Ireland are through CAO (electronically)

  • A few institutions are direct entry

  • Many European countries charge lower tuition fees than the UK (

  • UCAS Student Guidance Interviews - September 22nd 2014 – 10th October 2014

Applications through cao
Applications through CAO

  • Closing date of early February (meeting in November)

  • Up to 10 degree and 10 diploma choices

  • Listed in order of preference

  • No personal statement or reference

  • Different values for grades compared to UCAS tariff

  • No conditional offers – selection by order of preference and results in August


  • No tuition fees but a €2500 registration fee (pa)

The ucas form
The UCAS form

  • Register – username and password

  • Personal details – name, address etc

  • Choices – maximum of 5 realistic courses

  • Education – schools attended, exams completed and pending

  • Employment – not very relevant to majority of pupils

  • Personal statement

  • Cost £23

The personal statement
The Personal Statement

  • A personal statement is probably the single most important piece of work that pupils have had to do so far

  • Justify course choice (very important for a vocational course)

  • Work experience

  • Activities inside & outside school

  • Positions of responsibility

  • Concluding statement

What happens next
What happens next??

  • After the interview, pupils are asked to make any corrections as quickly as possible

  • Pupils then bring a finalised paper copy of their form to Mrs Browne

  • The form is checked one more time and pupils can now “pay and send”

  • The cost is £23 and paid online by debit/credit card

  • The form is automatically sent electronically to school

  • The school now writes the confidential reference and attaches this to the electronic form and sends this to UCAS

What happens then
What happens then??

  • UCAS then sends the form electronically to all the universities

  • Admissions tutors then make a decision based on the personal statement, predicted A-Level grades, admissions test scores, GCSE grades & A/S grades, evidence of motivation and the school reference

  • Some pupils may have to go to interview before a decision is made

  • They will reject an applicant, make a conditional offer or (rarely), an unconditional offer

What does an offer look like
What does an offer look like?

  • May be expressed as grades eg ABB

  • May be expressed as UCAS Tariff points eg 320 points

  • May be expressed as a combination of the two eg 320 points to include an A in chemistry

  • A detailed break down of tariff points is available on the UCAS website

  • At A2, A=120, B=100,C=80, D=60, E=40

  • The 4th AS grade is worth half these points

What next
What next??

  • If rejected, the decision is final but pupils can ask for feedback

  • Pupils must wait until all five decisions are made before they can confirm any decision

  • By early May, pupils accept a Firm Conditional offer and an Insurance Conditional offer which should have lower grades

  • These are binding but there may be some leeway

  • UCAS Extra is available online from the end of February to the end of June if a pupil has no offers

  • Pupils can only apply to one course at a time in Extra

Finance 1 tuition fees
Finance 1 – Tuition fees

  • Universities in England, Scotland and Wales have now set their own tuition fees to a maximum of £9000

  • NI have set fees for NI students at £3575

  • All students will be eligible for a non-means tested loan to cover their tuition fees. The student takes the responsibility for the loan which is repaid directly from their salary when they earn over £16,365

  • But they are optional

Finance 2 maintenance loans
Finance 2 – Maintenance Loans

  • Loans are also available for living expenses

  • Amount available depends on household income (pre-tax income minus pension contributions and allowances for dependents)

  • London £6780

  • Living away from home £4840

  • Living at home £3750

  • If a pupil receives a maintenance grant, the amount of maintenance loan available will be reduced

  • Also optional

Other info about loans
Other info about loans

  • Loans are repaid at 9% of earnings above £16365

  • The time to repay is based on income and amount borrowed – not on a fixed time period

  • After 25 years, any remaining debt is wiped

  • Interest on the amount is linked to inflation

  • BUT, this means that you will owe the money for longer and potentially repay more

  • Loans do NOT go on credit files

Finance 3 grants
Finance 3 - Grants

  • Grants are non-repayable

  • Students from lower income households will be eligible for a non-repayable grant up to £3475

  • If household income is less than £19203, student is eligible for the whole grant

  • If income is more than £41065, student is eligible for none of the grant

  • A sliding scale works in between the upper and lower limits

  • If a student is entitled to the maximum grant, the maximum maintenance loan is reduced

Finance 4 other support
Finance 4 – Other support

  • Universities have to provide additional support to students who receive the full grant – a minimum of £347 (non-repayable)

  • Scholarships are available in engineering and IT

  • “Access to Learning Funds” are available to students on low incomes

  • Health Professional Degrees (S&LT, OT, Radiography etc) can have fees paid if pupil is accepted on NHS funded place

  • Disabled Students’ Allowance – pupils who have a diagnosed physical disability, mental health difficulties, or have a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, may be entitled

Information available
Information available


  • (What do graduates do? Section)

  • DEL – “Financial Support for Higher Education Students” (Usually opens in February)

  • DEL – Student Finance Branch

  • Education & Library Boards






How can i help
How can I help?

  • Talk to your son / daughter about their choices

  • Check the form is completed correctly

  • Discuss the content of the personal statement and ask to read it

  • Try to remind them of key dates

  • Encourage, encourage, encourage!!

What if i need help
What if I need help??

  • www (sign up to receive the UCAS parent guide and quarterly email bulletins)

  • Contact Mrs Browne at school (90702777 or [email protected])

  • Check the school’s website – all dates, presentations and useful websites are listed