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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.

Students sat around a table, with a Discover University logo attached.

Our online Discover University platform provides information, advice and guidance for prospective students, parents/guardians, teachers and advisers about studying at university. Take part in an online event covering:

  • Live Q&As with staff and students
  • Guidance around the university application process
  • Advice for supporting a young person prepare for university

Book your place

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

Supporting an Application to University

Supporting the decision-making process , writing personal statements and key dates in the UCAS cycle

27th September 2023


Book here

An Introduction to the University of Exeter

An overview of the University of Exeter: information about our campuses, courses, teaching, student support and community.

18th October 2023


Book here

Financing Higher Education


An explanation of the Student Finance application process and outline of the additional financial support available. 

22nd November 2023


Book here

Accommodation at University

Accommodation options at university, with an overview of the application process, and accommodation support for students. 

13th December 2023


Book here

Support Services at University

An overview of the support services availableto students. Including tudy, disability, wellbeing and career support.

17th January 2024


Book here

Financing Higher Education

An explanation of the Student Finance application process and outline of the additional financial support available. 

21st February 2024


Book here

Degree Apprenticeships

An overview of degree apprenticeships, focusing on what they are, and how to apply. 

17th April 2024


Book here

Supporting an Application to University

Supporting the decision-making process , writing personal statements and key dates in the UCAS cycle.

22nd May 2024


Book here

Support for Results Day

How to help prepare your child for results day, what to expect on the day, and possible next steps

21st June 2024


Book here

Preparation for University

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

19th July 2024


Book here

'In-Person' Campus Tours

We are continuing to run student-guided Campus Tours on all our campuses. The academic programme your child is interested in will determine which of our campuses you should visit. In some cases we offer the same discipline on more than one campus, however the programme content and modules offered are different, reflecting the expertise and specialisms of academic staff and facilities available at each campus.

Important: If your subject of interest is taught at more than one of our campuses we strongly recommend that, before booking a Campus Tour, you visit our subject and programme pages to see the latest information about our programmes.

Penryn Campus, near Falmouth, Cornwall

Book your place here for a student-led tour of our Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

St Luke’s Campus, Exeter, Devon

Book your place here for a student-led tour of our St Luke’s Campus in Devon. 

Streatham Campus, Exeter, Devon

Book your place here for a student-led tour of our Streatham Campus in Devon.

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 for you, such as location, league table results, teaching standards and facilities. For ease of comparison, it can be helpful to have a printed prospectus from the student's preferred university. 

» Get a prospectus

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

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. The Next Steps Southwest webpages are great as an introduction to what you need to think about and consider.

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.

Also see

» Fees & funding

External links

» GOV.UK Student Finance 
» Money Saving Expert

Budget and time-saving hints and tips

To save time and money when going through this process, we’ve got some tips on how to be strategic in your visit planning:

  • If you do go to an Open Day, then maybe don’t worry about a second visit to an offer-holder visit day or vice versa
  • Try and get all the information you need from one visit.
  • If you want to come back for a more in depth visit then maybe choose fewer places to go.
  • Can you do a shorter campus tour at your convenience especially if you are in the area?
  • Can you get sufficient information from a web page or direct contact?


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.

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 UCAS Hub.

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

Waiting for offers

At the University of Exeter, some of our courses, including those with popular Study Abroad or Industrial Experience elements, have a strictly limited number of places. We manage the release of offers for courses like this very carefully and group applications by predicted grades. If you have a long wait, it doesn't mean that we don't want you but it may mean that we are taking care because we have space constraints. A lot of students get despondent but try to point out that it's just about different institutions having different admissions processes. You can help manage their expectations by being aware of this process and reassuring your student that if they haven't heard from a university, then their application is still being considered. If candidates don't, can't or are, in our judgement, very unlikely to meet our requirements, we will normally send an unsuccessful decision relatively quickly. If you haven't had a decision for some months, we are probably working hard to see if we can find a place and if we can't manage this in the end it probably means that it was a close call.

Remember: an offer made in March is just as good as an offer made in October!

When deciding which university to go to its important to consider and research the right place to live. The University guarantees an offer of accommodation to all new first year undergraduates who make an accommodation application by the deadline. Being in university accommodation enables 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 students living in their accommodation. There is also private accommodation available off-campus. Alternatively, living at home may be your child’s preferred option if they live within commuting distance of the University.

In recent years the University has invested millions of pounds in the building of new accommodation on all our campuses, which are designed to the highest standard.

» Student accommodation

Results day can be a hugely stressful time for students and parents or guardians but whatever the outcome, it’s important to stay calm and we have a telephone helpline to answer any questions you or your child might have.

Students or their nominated contact (parents, guardian, teacher) need to think about the following:

Hopefully you'll get the exam grades you need, but if not there is no need to panic. Do still share your results with your Firm and Insurance choice University as they might still be able to accept you, and monitor UCAS Hub for their decision. If they cannot confirm your offer there are alternative scenarios to consider:

  • Offer holders might be offered an alternative course (perhaps on a different campus) by their Firm or Insurance choice university/college – a 'changed course offer' (which you'll need to accept or decline).
  • An increasing number of students secure their offer through a UCAS process known as ‘Clearing’ which opens in July each year. This national scheme allows students to apply for remaining undergraduate vacancies once they have their final academic results. Visit our website for more advice about the Clearing process, to pre-register to receive information about our vacancies and to view available courses (in July and August only).

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

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

In Conversation podcast - advice from the experts

In these podcasts Dr Karl Devincenzi, Schools Relationship Manager, and guests discuss topical issues relevant to higher education. Tune in and find out more.

Series 2, Episode 14 - 9th August - In this episode just before A Level results day, Karl and Katherine run through what students can expect on results day including reviewing recent media reports about increased levels of competitiveness for places, whilst also providing some guidance for students considering deferring/re-applying. Tune in and find out more.

Series 2, Episode 13 - 2nd August - In this episode of In Conversation, Karl talks to Helen Whyte, Accommodation Office Manager based in Exeter, about our accommodation guarantee and what students need to do come results day next week. Find out more by listening to this episode.

Series 2, Episode 12- 26th July - As A-Level results day approaches, Karl and Katherine reflect on the process and what students should expect on the day itself. Join in and find out more.

Series 2, Episode 11 - 19th July - In this episode of In Conversation, Karl talks to Nicola Sinclair, Head of WP and Student Recruitment about the support available to students from under-represented backgrounds and how we as a University identify students at the point of application.

Series 2, Episode 10 - 12th July - Head of Wellbeing and Welfare Services, Mark Sawyer talks to Karl this week about the support services in place for students at the University. What can students expect and how do they reach out to the different services? Tune in and find out more.

Series 2, Episode 9 - 5th July - This week's In Conversation talks through IB results and what happens next for students receiving their IB results. Tune in and listen to Dr Katherine Lloyd Clark and myself talk about how we handle these results and what students need to do next.

Series 2, Episode 8 - 28th June - In this episode, Karl is joined by two current students who reflect on their learning and student experience at the University of Exeter. Tune in to hear fantastic insight into their experiences and how they have coped with the high and lows of university life.

Series 2, Episode 7 - 21st June - In episode 7, Karl talks to Helen Whyte, Accommodation Office Manager, about accommodation arrangements for prospective students starting their courses in September in Exeter. Tune in to find out more about what is available.

Series 2, Episode 6 - 14th June - Karl is joined by two current students for this episode of In Conversation where they discuss their teaching and learning experiences over the last 14 months and provide advice for students starting in September.

Series 2, Episode 5 - 7th June - Karl is joined by Professor Mark Goodwin, Deputy Vice Chancellor and discusses the key challenges facing universities , whilst looking ahead to the teaching and learning experiences envisaged for prospective students. Tune in and find out more!

Series 2, Episode 4 - 1st June - Episode 4 continues the admissions cycle for year 13 students and focuses on results day. Karl and Katherine explore the different possible outcomes, how universities handle results and the options available to you at that stage. Find out more by listening in to this episode.

Series 2, Episode 3 - 24th May - In this episode, Karl talks to Katherine about Teacher Assessed Grades and what happens between the time they are put together in schools/colleges to their release in early August. Gain an insight into the process and how universities handle your grades by tuning in!

Series 2, Episode 2 - 17th May - Episode 2 focuses on the teaching and learning experience in September as Karl and Katherine talk through the student experience, deferral opportunities and availability of year abroad/industrial placements. Tune in and find out more.

Series 2, Episode 1 - 10th May - In this episode Karl discusses with Dr Katherine Lloyd-Clark, Assistant Director for Admissions and Student Recruitment, forthcoming milestones for Year 13 students and how they can best prepare for the coming months.

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