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Undergraduate Study

Advice for parents and supporters

COVID-19 update

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic all of our Open Days are postponed. Please book now to take part in a series of live online events and alerts for opportunities to visit in person at a later date.

The live events will offer information and advice for parents/guardians as well as for students and are designed to provide an opportunity to explore subject options and gather information about the University of Exeter. As a follow-up to this initial exploration, we will be holding a programme of events throughout the summer and autumn months that will allow students to delve further into their chosen subjects, accommodation options and application process.

In the meantime, we will continue to update our FAQs for prospective students on a regular basis.

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, 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 contact us at

The benefits of Higher Education 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.

» Parents and Carers Guide (pdf)

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. Our drone videos of the Streatham campus in Exeter, Devon and the Penryn campus in Cornwall provide a birds eye view of campus.


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.

"Six months after graduation, 95% of our graduates were in employment or further study, such as a Masters or PGCE."

 » 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' Unions is a valuable source of support as are 


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 Security (01326 371800 Monday - Friday 09.00-17.00 or 01326 255875 out of hours). 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 Track.

» 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 Track 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

Parents' blogs

Parents share their experiences with the university application process.  Read blogs.

Rapid research project

How are school closures affecting you and your family? Take part in our Covid19 Rapid Research Project

Preparing for the future


Open Days

The first few months

Top tips