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Undergraduate Study

Advice for parents and supporters

Making a decision

The decision to go to university is a big step for students, and finding the most suitable course and place to study can be a daunting task. We recognise that parents, guardians, carers and relatives can all play a vital role in choosing and applying for university. To support families during this process, whether you have some or no experience of higher education, we've gathered the key information that you will need to help guide a young person through the application journey.

Our jargon buster‌ can help parents to navigate the application process, explaining all the terms you'll come across. 

If you've got any specific questions, please fill out our enquiry form.

Our online Discover University platform provides information, advice and guidance for prospective students. We have lots of free resources covering areas such as student life and applying to university. We also host regular online events where students can find out more about university.

Our Events

We offer a range of Open Days and campus based events for further information please visit the Open Days and visiting page .

We are also running a series of virtual conferences for Year 12 students in February, March and June.  To sign up please visit our Discover University page

Book your Place 

For our specific parent and supporter online webinars all details and booking available below.

Upcoming Parent and Supporter Webinars

Join staff from the University of Exeter for sessions about: supporting your child's application to University, financing a University degree, moving from school to University and more.

Session Title


Date and Time

Booking link

Preparation for University

Help prepare your child for the transition to university. We discuss what they should expect from their first few weeks as a university student. 

For supporters of 2024 applicants

17th July 2024


Book here

Applying to the University of Exeter

This session will share information about the application process and how parents and supporters can help with the decision-making process, assist with personal statements and key dates in the UCAS cycle. 

For supporters of 2025 applicants

25th September 2024


Book here

Thinking of Exeter Q&A

An overview of the University of Exeter: information about our campuses, courses, teaching, student support and community. There will also be lots of opportunities to ask us any questions about application for 2025 entry.

For supporters of 2025 applicants

16th October 2024


Book here


For further guidance

The resources below have been created specifically for parents and supporters.  For student advice please visit our Discover University page 

The benefits of Higher Education (HE) are well evidenced. As well as increased earning potential, gaining a degree is a significant achievement that will have lifelong benefits including better general and mental health, greater life satisfaction, less exposure to unemployment and increased life expectancy.

Success at HE level is largely influenced by what and where they study, so making the right choice is important and research is key in helping to make the right decision.

» Higher Education Guide
» ‌Parents and Carers Guide (NSSW)

Researching institutions

There can be several important influencing factors when considering which university is right, such as location, league table results, teaching standards and facilities.  The UCAS website is the best place to start, and they have a dedicated information page for parents, guardians and carers

Advice for parents, guardians and carers.

Choosing the right course 

With over 35,000 courses on offer at hundreds of UK universities it can be quite a daunting task choosing the right one. Narrow down the options by establishing some basic facts: single or joint honours, teaching methods, assessment methods, duration, entry requirements and accreditation. 

» View our programme pages for more information

Visiting us

Once a student has narrowed down their options to around 10 universities (or less), booking onto an open day is the best way to find out if the university and the courses available are what they are looking for. See the Open Day video below for more information about what to expect.

» Book on to an Open Day

If you live overseas and are unable to join an Open Day, please make a booking for a campus tour or take a virtual tour of our campuses.


As well as studying a subject a student is passionate about, getting a great job after graduating is one of the main reasons for going to university. We help our students acquire the skills and experience to compete in an increasingly international job market or pursue further study.

 » Find out more about employability

All students need to apply through UCAS with the application process beginning in the September before the student intends to start their course.  Once submitted progress on that application is monitored online through the UCAS Hub

At the University of Exeter, we believe in giving students from all backgrounds the opportunity to benefit from Higher Education. The cost of attending university can be a common area of concern for parents and guardians of prospective students, however there are funding and support packages available to help towards tuition fees and living costs. The majority of UK students fund their studies through the student loans system: they do not need to repay anything up front and repayments after graduation will be linked to their salary so that it is manageable.

» Find out more about the application process on our applying pages

Contextual offers

When we review an application, we take into consideration the context in which applicants have achieved their academic qualifications.  If candidates meet certain eligibility criteria, we may make an offer that is lower than our typical entry requirements.  This is called a contextual offer.  For further details, and to assess eligibility, see What is a contextual offer?

Is this the first time someone in your family has considered applying to university?

If this is the first time someone in your family has considered applying to university it can be a bit overwhelming getting your head around everything.  Next Steps South West is a great introduction to what you need to thing about and consider.

What happens once my student has applied?

Once we receive applications via UCAS our admissions team will review an application.  To see the process we follow, and what happens next, look at After You Apply.  Further details and our full admissions policy are available here

What to do I do if I want to speak on my student's behalf about their application?

We are unable to discuss any aspect of a student application with a third party unless we receive confirmation this has been approved by the person making the application.  There is the option for those who apply via UCAS to set up someone as a nominated decision-maker (NDM).  For further information about how to do this either pre-application, or during the process, please see Discussing your application for guidance.

My student is applying from outside the UK, is the process the same?

It will depend on the country from which they are applying.  Please use the resources designed for our International Students where there is the ability to assess entry criteria by country


At the University of Exeter, we believe in giving students from all backgrounds the opportunity to benefit from Higher Education.  The cost of attending university can be a common area of concern for parents and guardians of prospective students, however, there are funding and support packages available to help towards tuition fees and living costs.  The majority of UK students fund their studies through the student loans system: they do not need to pay anything up front and repayments after graduation will be linked to their salary, so that it is manageable.

Also see

» Fees & funding

External links

» GOV.UK Student Finance 
» Money Saving Expert


Can we afford university?

Financing university study can be a concern, so it is useful to look at it early.  Tuition fees cost up to £9,250 a year (for UK students) the students have to factor in their living expenses, which can vary substantially dependent on their needs.  Depending on your income, supporters can be expected to pay a contribution towards their student's living costs when they study.  There is no official guidance for what this contribution should be.

How much loan your student receives depends on your household income.  Use the government calculators early to get a benchmark of the support your student can expect to receive.

When should we be applying for finance?

Applications can be made after a UCAS application, but prior to receiving results and confirming a university offer or place.  Your student can make a provisional application for student finance from early Spring in the year in which they are due to start in September.  The student doesn't need to have made their firm choice before they apply for finance.

What finance will my student need?

If this is the first time your student has lived by themselves, they might be lacking in some of the budgeting skills they need for independent living.  Before they start, they should try to look at the societies and course costs they may have, as well as the large expenses such as accommodation and subsistence.  Many students complete part-time work, details of how to find out about working and studying can be found via our Careers Zone



We welcome students from all different backgrounds and walks of life, and we offer a wide range of support to ensure that your child gets the most from their university experience. The university's student support services include specialist teams providing academic, financial and wellbeing support to all students, so that they feel included and able to progress with their studies despite any obstacles they may face. The Students' Union is a valuable source of support as are:

Please click here if you would like more information about our wellbeing support for new students.


You can also be reassured that both our Exeter and Cornwall campuses are in areas considered to be some of the safest in the UK. With low crime rates, stunning scenery, outstanding quality of life, and increasingly excellent economic prospects, the South West has cemented its reputation as one of the very best places to live, work, and study.

» Student support emergency contact numbers

If you have serious concerns about your child's safety or wellbeing, please contact our Estate Patrol Security (Exeter Campuses) or Penryn Campus Safety and Support (available 24/7 on 01326 255875). They will pass the information to Student Support staff at the appropriate campus who will, where appropriate, investigate your concerns.

Please note, that as students are adults, we must respect their privacy and confidentiality and so, unless they give us their consent, we will not be able to provide you with any feedback.

When deciding which university to go to, it is important that your student considers and researches the right place to live.  The University of Exeter guarantees an offer of accommodation to all new first year undergraduates who make an accommodation application by the deadline.  Being in university accommodation enable students to make friends, meet diverse people and meet students studying on different degrees.  Resident Mentors in University accommodation also provide a wellbeing safety net for student living in their accommodation.

We offer a wide range of accommodation, to suit all budgets and tastes.  Students might go for catered halls so they can hand over the responsibility for cooking over to our professional catering team, or go for the flexibility of self-catered accommodation, in which case they will need to budget for their weekly shop and eating out.  There are also private accommodation options in both Exeter and Penryn.

» Student accommodation


When do students apply for accommodation?

If your student has Exeter as their FIRM choice, they will be able to apply online for accommodation from the middle of April in their year of entry, ready for arrival in September.

What is my responsibility as their parent or supporter?

Applications to University managed housing are completed by the student.  If they are choosing private accommodation there can be requirements from parents and supporters in relation to being a guarantor for their accommodation contract.  There is more guidance about making the move to university managed housing for parents and supporters, including information about terms and conditions of tenancy agreements.  After first year, students will, in the majority of cases, move out into accommodation not provided by the University.  There are further details about researching accommodation options after first year in Exeter and Cornwall.

Can my student bring their car to campus?

Car parking on all our campuses is severely restricted and charges applying, therefore, students are discouraged from bringing a car to university.  Campus car parking permits will not be issues to students in catered halls, in self-catering accommodation, or in private accommodation, within a certain distance from the campus, with the exception of blue badge holders or unless there is a medical reason which makes a permit necessary.

Commuting to university

Alternatively, living at home may be your student's preferred option if they live within commuting distance of the University.  If your student is looking to commute to campus, car parking permits may be available depending on the distance travelled.  To find out more look at our car parking pages.  Students can apply for a student railcard, these are traditionally designed for 16-25 and 26-30 age brackets, but students of any age can have a 16-25 railcard if they are a full time student.

Results day can be a stressful time, but whatever the outcome, it's important to stay calm, and we have a range of ways applicants can contact us on the day.

Encourage your student to think about the following on the day:

  • Have their UCAS Hub sign in details handy and update their contact details if they need to.
  • Make sure they're available on results day, because we can't speak to anyone else about their application details unless they have given them nominated access to speak on their behalf.
  • Check how exam results get to us – most come directly to us from the awarding organisations, but if not, student may need to send exam results to us directly.

If your student has gained the grades they need, then they do not have to do anything initially, and we will be in touch with further information to confirm their place

If their grades have not been achieved, then there are range of options:

  • Students may be eligible for an alternative offer.
  • Students can use Clearing to secure a place for some programmes.  Students can plan ahead for Clearing with our guidance and top tips, and can also pre-register to find out advance information about our Clearing vacancies.

There are a number of things parents or guardians can do to help their child prepare to leave home and begin university. The links below hold a wealth of information and things to think about. Advice on budgeting for rent, food, bills, shopping and socialising can help prepare them as they set off for their new adventure and ensuring that they have basic cooking, cleaning and laundry skills will help them to settle into university life more easily. If possible you might want to visit the area to help familiarise them with the location, or talk to them about personal safety and security when living in a new place with new people.

» New students: Information for parents

» New students: Before you arrive

One of the best things you can advise, is for your student to check their e-mails.  We will send several important emails to help them prepare for university.  Please ask them to check their email account regularly, and make sure to check their junk folder too.

Have they picked the right course?

One of the advantages of university, in comparison to school or college, is that students can focus on a subject they really care about.  Most choose a degree that they believe they will enjoy, but not matter how much time spent researching, they may have doubts before, or once they start.

Picking a degree can feel like a big decision, so your student might think that they can only choose once, but this isn't always the case.  If students want to be considered for another degree to the one they are holding an offer for, then it is best to make contact with the University as soon as they have changed their mind.

When will they get their timetable?

  • They can access their personal timetable via the iExeter app or iExeter desktop from Welcome Week onwards (18th September).  This may be later if they have not finalised their modules, or registered online.
  • Their timetable will show the time, location, module and type of class (lecture, seminar, etc) for each session.  Visit the My Timetable help page for more information


For more advice and information - book your place on one of our upcoming online events for parents, guardians and supporters of prospective students.


UCAS have a dedicated Parent, Guardian and Carer website, which provides a wealth of information about how to support your student's next steps.  They also produce a guide.

UCAS Advice for Parents, Guardians and Carers

UCAS Parent, Guardian and Carer Guide

There is also the option to stay in touch with UCAS and sign up to their newsletters.

UCAS Parent Newsletter

Success at School

The Success at School Parent and Carers University Guide 2023/24 is a free digital guide to help parents and carers support their children to make informed decisions about their life after school or college with information from a range of universities.

Parents and Carers University Guide 2023/24 (