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UCAS Support for Parents & Carers

How to help your child complete their UCAS application, personal statement and references to gain a place in Higher Education.

If your child is nearing the end of their compulsory schooling at sixth form or college, now is the time to discuss their plans for post-18 study. As a parent or carer, it’s important to stay informed and offer your child advice on choosing the right course and learning environment.

<p dir="ltr">The deadline to apply to full-time Higher Education (HE) has now been extended to <strong>18.00 on Friday 29 January</strong>. Great news for applicants, but you may be wondering where to start! </p> <p dir="ltr">To help you and your child apply in confidence, we’ve provided an overview of the journey to degree-level study at Plymouth College of Art below. Bookmark this page and refer back to it as you complete each step of the UCAS application.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you would like to talk to someone about your child’s application or anything else, please get in touch with our Admissions team. Email <a href="mailto:admissions@pca.ac.uk">admissions@pca.ac.uk</a>, call <strong>01752 203 400</strong>, or Whatsapp <a href="https://wa.me/+447722744184" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><strong>07722 744184</strong></a>.<br /></p>
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<p>The name <a href="https://www.ucas.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><strong>UCAS </strong></a>stands for ‘<strong>Universities and Colleges Admissions Service</strong>’. Almost all full-time HE applicants in the UK will find and apply to their degree through this system. Once an application has been submitted, you and your child will be able to monitor its progress through their online service <strong>UCAS Track</strong>.</p>
<p>To make an application to start their studies in September 2021, your child will need to visit <a href="https://www.ucas.com/students"><strong>ucas.com/students</strong></a> and register an account. Select “Undergraduate”, click “2021 Entry” and then “Apply”. Here they will be prompted to register some basic details:</p><ol><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Add their <strong>personal details, choose a username, create a password </strong>and set up some <strong>security questions </strong>to protect their account. Remember to enter both their first name and middle name(s) exactly as they're stated on official documents, such as your child’s passport, birth certificate, or driving licence.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">If they are applying through a school, college or centre they may have also been given a <strong>buzzword</strong> to enter (this helps their teacher or adviser monitor applications and provide an academic reference). If you are applying independently you will need to answer a few more questions.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Your child can only <strong>apply once in a cycle</strong>, so if they’ve applied to study HE in previous years they will need to submit a fresh application.</p></li></ol>
<p>Applicants can grant a parent, guardian or adviser permission to speak with UCAS on their behalf by selecting<strong> ‘</strong><a href="https://www.ucas.com/sites/default/files/ucas-parent-comms-application-toolkit.pdf"><strong>nominated access’</strong></a> on their application. This ensures UCAS is compliant with UK Data Protection legislation. More information can be found in the <a href="https://www.ucas.com/sites/default/files/ucas-parent-comms-application-toolkit.pdf"><strong>UCAS Parent Toolkit</strong></a>.<br /></p>
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<p>The deadline for applications to full-time undergraduate study has been extended from Friday 18 January to <strong>Friday 29 January at 18.00</strong>. If your child is ready to submit their application already we would advise you to submit as soon as it is complete. </p> <p>Applying by the UCAS deadline means that each institution must consider your application, however, many universities will still have spaces available after the deadline, and Plymouth College of Art will continue to accept applications after the deadline. Now more than ever, we understand the need for flexibility to allow applicants more time to research their options and make a fully informed decision for their future.</p>
<p>We recognise the value of a variety of qualifications and relevant experience and welcome applications from students who have followed less traditional routes. To view more information about each course and what we are looking for in your child’s application, check out the relevant <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/courses" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">course page </a></strong>and consult the <strong>UCAS </strong><a href="https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/what-and-where-study/entry-requirements/ucas-tariff-points"><strong>Tariff Table</strong></a>. If you are unsure whether your child meets the requirements, please contact <strong><a href="mailto:admissions@pca.ac.uk">admissions@pca.ac.uk</a> </strong>for an informal chat about their options.</p>
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<p>We recommend following our complete step-by-step to writing a UCAS application <a href="https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/posts/writing-your-ucas-application"><strong>here</strong></a>. Some key stages that your child may need support filling out include:</p>
<p>Your child can apply for a maximum of five different courses (they can all be at different institutions, or can be different courses at the same institution). If they apply to fewer than five choices, they may be able to add others later, as long as they have not accepted an offer elsewhere. There’s no need to rush, as applications can be saved and returned to, adding more choices in another UCAS session. We won’t see where else they have applied to until after they respond to any offers.</p>
<p>All qualifications from secondary education onwards (even results that are yet to be confirmed or ungraded) need to be listed. A full list of exam results that UCAS can process is available <strong><a href="https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/results-confirmation-and-clearing/sending-exam-results" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">here</a>.</strong>If your child can’t find the qualification they are looking for, please still note it on the application but remember to send the results to <strong><a href="mailto:admissions@pca.ac.uk" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">admissions@pca.ac.uk</a> </strong>when they become available.</p> <p dir="ltr">If your child has been affected by the cancellation of exams in 2020, they will have been awarded <strong>Centre Assessed Grades </strong>(CAGs) or <strong>calculated grades</strong> if you’re based in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, or moderated results if you live in Scotland. These grades hold the same value as any other application year and should be included in the UCAS application.</p> <p dir="ltr">Up to five examples of <strong>paid employment </strong>can also be listed. We suggest saving any <strong>unpaid or voluntary work experience</strong> for the personal statement instead.<br /></p>
<p>A personal statement provides universities with an idea of each applicant’s <strong>interests, ambitions, and commitment</strong> level. It’s a good idea to encourage your child to list their <strong>strengths and attributes</strong> and think of any r<strong>ecent experience</strong> that can help evidence their suitability for the course. </p> <p dir="ltr">From extra-curricular activities and work experience to creative projects, summer schools, residential trips and volunteering, this is their chance to demonstrate a wide range of soft skills such as teamwork, time management, and collaboration. To make a great first impression, we highly recommend reading through our <a href="https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/posts/writing-your-ucas-application"><strong>Personal Statement Dos &amp; Don'ts</strong></a>.<br /></p>
<p>A reference is a written recommendation from a teacher, adviser or professional who knows your child academically. The reference is usually supplied by the school, however if your child has left school, this can be supplied by an independent referee. Unless our Admissions team advises that referencing can happen later, they must attach a completed reference to the application before it is sent. <a href="https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/posts/getting-a-reference"><strong>Click here</strong></a> for more advice on gathering references, who to pick and why it matters.<br /></p>
<p dir="ltr">A simple but effective approach to help your child narrow down their choices involves asking some questions about their learning style and long-term aspirations. By defining their expectations and any concerns they have about adjusting to HE study, together you can come up with a personal checklist for course research. Questions you can ask include:</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Which style of working environment suits you best?</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">How will your time be split? (E.g more individual work or collaborative projects? Tutor contact or self-directed study? Practical work or more lecture-time?)</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">What specialist facilities and kit can you access?</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">What extra support do you need alongside your studies? (E.g study skills, health &amp; wellbeing, clubs &amp; societies, IT &amp; library access)</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">What career paths can this course lead to?</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">What industry connections and opportunities would you like to see? (E.g coursework, exams, dissertations, industry placements and vocational training?)</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">How will your work be assessed?</p></li></ul><p>Answers to all of these questions can be found on our course pages. To view a full list of degrees on offer <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/courses" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">click here</a>. </strong>You can also explore our <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/resources" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">facilities + LABs</a> </strong>on a <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/virtual-tours" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Virtual Tour </a></strong>to get a feel for the workshops and studios your child will gain access to as a Plymouth College of Art student.</p>
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<p dir="ltr">Before or after submitting a UCAS application, attending an Open Day or Campus Tour is a very positive step towards defining your child’s plans for higher education. Family and friends are always welcome along and you’ll be encouraged to attend talks, ask questions and get a feel for the university’s ethos and learning environment. </p> <p dir="ltr">At the moment, we are pleased to offer a comprehensive range of online options for discovering more about Plymouth College of Art, from one-to-one video tours to online talks from our award-winning staff. In-person versions of our events will commence as soon as government guidance allows. <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/events" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Click here</a> </strong>to view our upcoming events and <strong>register to be the first to find out when our buildings are open for on-site tours </strong>by completing this short <strong><a href="https://crm.student-crm.com/calendars/calendars/calendar/c026820a-e13f-44eb-97a7-a0c435b07b51" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">form</a></strong>. </p> <p dir="ltr">You might also like to:</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Take a <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/virtual-tours" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">360 tour of our campus</a></strong><strong> </strong>and check out places of interest around Plymouth - including some of Devon’s most stunning coastal locations, via our <strong><a href="https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3f2xADX1Tp1tSsPuhbyL_gcxPseWcM5R" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">YouTube channel</a></strong></p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr"><strong>Explore <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/student-life/discover-plymouth" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Plymouth’s local area and heritage</a></strong></strong></p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">View our <a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/resources" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><strong>resources</strong></a></p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Read about our<a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/about-us/our-campus" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"> </a><strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/about-us/our-campus" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">undergraduate campus, Tavistock Place</a></strong></p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Get to know the School of <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/about-us/school-of-arts-media" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Art + Media</a>, <a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/about-us/school-of-design-communication" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Design + Communication</a></strong> or<strong> <a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/about-us/school-of-critical-cultural-studies" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Critical + Cultural Studies</a></strong></p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Discover our network of award-winning <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/people" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">academic staff, researchers and technicians</a></strong></p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Check out the <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/student-life/students-union" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Students Union</a></strong></p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Find out about <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/student-life/health-wellbeing" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">health &amp; wellbeing</a></strong> </p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Look at our gallery of recent <strong><a href="https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/student-work?orderBy=lft">student work</a></strong></p></li></ul>
<p dir="ltr">Applications for courses starting in 2021 are now open, for a loan to cover tuition fees (paid directly to the university) and maintenance costs (paid directly into the student’s bank account at the start of term). This is available wherever you choose to study in the UK, and is repayable. You don’t need to have a confirmed offer of a place at university or college to start the process. Click here to begin an application with <a href="https://www.gov.uk/apply-online-for-student-finance"><strong>Student Finance England.</strong></a></p> <p dir="ltr">Our undergraduate <strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/fees-financing-and-funding" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">F</a></strong><strong><a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/fees-financing-and-funding" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">ees, Finance &amp; Funding page</a> </strong>also has a detailed overview of the financial support available at Plymouth College of Art, including bursaries, scholarships and progression awards. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Tuition fees </strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Charged by universities and colleges to cover key elements of the <strong>course and academic life, </strong>as well as core services related to <strong>students’ wellbeing and experience</strong> on campus. </p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">New UK and EU students joining Plymouth College of Art in the academic cycle 2021/22 on a BA (Hons) degree or Extended BA will pay <strong>£9,250 per year</strong>. EU and non-EU students will pay <strong>£15,500 per year</strong>. More information can be found on our<strong> International pages</strong>.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr"><strong>Tuition fee loans </strong>will cover the full cost of the course, paid directly to the course provider, and you won’t have to pay it back until after your course when you’re earning above a certain threshold. More information can be found on the <a href="https://www.ucas.com/finance/undergraduate-tuition-fees-and-student-loans#what-are-tuition-fees">UCAS Student Finance page</a>.</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr"><strong>Maintenance loans </strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Students are able to apply for an increased maintenance loan to cover their<strong> living costs</strong> (e.g accommodation, food, transport, materials). Eligibility to receive the full amount will be means-tested. </p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">In England, students receive money at the start of each term and how much they get depends on your family’s <strong>household income, where they study, and where they live</strong>.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Students can apply for <strong>additional grants </strong>if they’re eligible for certain benefits, disabled, or need help with childcare costs. <a href="https://www.gov.uk/student-finance">Find out more on the <strong>student finance pages on GOV.U</strong>K</a>.</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr"> </p> <p dir="ltr">Whether your child would prefer to study locally and stay at home or they look to university as a chance to move away and gain independence, it’s important to have an honest discussion about their finances. At Plymouth College of Art we work with <strong>Host </strong>and<strong> Clever Student Lets</strong> to provide a wide range of attractive accommodation in the city, in a style that suits any budget. To view our recommended providers, please read our <a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/student-life/accommodation" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><strong>Accommodation page</strong>.</a><br /></p>
<p dir="ltr">UCAS will process the application and send a <strong>welcome email </strong>confirming your child’s personal details and course choices. Our Admissions team will also receive a copy and if successful, we will be in touch to <strong>arrange an Interview</strong> for your child with a member of our HE academic team. </p> <p dir="ltr">This interview may take place online or in-person (subject to UK government guidance at the time) and will provide an opportunity for your child to talk about their aspirations, experiences and why they chose Plymouth College of Art. It is also a good opportunity to <strong>ask our staff questions</strong> about the course and life on campus!</p> <p dir="ltr">Following this meeting, your child will receive a notification to look at UCAS Track. If an offer of a place on their desired course has been made, it will either say ‘<strong>unconditional’ or ‘conditional’, </strong>if no offer is being given unfortunately it will read ‘unsuccessful’. A conditional offer will require them to meet some specified requirements (e.g achieving specific exam results).</p> <p dir="ltr">Once an applicant has heard back from all of their choices, it’s time for them to decide which offer to make their <strong>first choice, and which to choose as a second “insurance” choice.</strong> We will let you know the deadline by which to reply. For more information about what happens next please visit <strong><a href="https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/after-you-apply/track-your-ucas-application" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">ucas.com/trackyourapplication</a> </strong></p>
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<p dir="ltr">At Plymouth College of Art, we offer a diverse range of BA (Hons) degrees in highly specialised creative subjects. By choosing to study with us, your child will be welcomed into a like-minded community of just 400+ undergraduates, where staff are proud to know every student by name. Together we make, experiment and innovate in an interdisciplinary environment that allows individuality and ideas to flourish.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to the pandemic, a report found that the creative industries were one of the fastest-growing industries in the UK, contributing over £111bn to the UK economy in 2018 - the equivalent of a massive £13 million an hour! An independent review also found that a whopping 87% of creative industry workers are highly resistant to the threat of automation, where traditional jobs are replaced by automated processes or machines. Our course content is aligned closely with industry-need, ensuring all specialisms have professional practice and employability embedded throughout the course. From critical thinking and communication to promotion and problem-solving, your child will graduate future-proofed with the transferable skills needed to succeed across all sectors, not just the arts.</p> <p dir="ltr">If your child is looking to pursue their passion, level-up their expertise and make friends along the way in a safe, supportive and highly flexible environment, applying to study a creative degree at Plymouth College of Art is a great idea. But don’t take it from us, talk to the people who know us best - our current students! <strong><a href="https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/ask-a-student" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Start a live chat here</a> </strong>or check out our <strong><a href="https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3f2xADX1Tp2_20ftDn_NQqr-aWikApfA" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Alumni stories on YouTube</a></strong>. <br /></p>

<ul><li>Email <a href="mailto:admissions@pca.ac.uk">admissions@pca.ac.uk</a></li><li>Call <strong>01752 203 400</strong></li><li>Whatsapp <a href="https://wa.me/+447722744184" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><strong>07722 744184</strong></a>.</li></ul>