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Applying to university as a care leaver

Applying to university as a care leaverFind out about the support that's available when you apply for university, and what you can do to give yourself the best chance of success.

Telling UCAS that you have been in care

There is a box on the UCAS application form that you can tick to say that you are a care leaver.

This will allow universities to let you know about any extra support that they can offer you.

They can also take it into account when deciding whether to give you a place, but only if it will benefit you. For example, you might get a lower conditional offer to compensate for disruption caused by moving schools.

You don't have to tick the box, but it won't disadvantage you if you do: the universities you apply to won't pass on the information to anyone, and it's illegal for them to discriminate against you based on it.

Getting help with your application

A second pair of eyes can help you to spot problems with your application or find places where you can add more information. Try these sources to find help:

  • Some universities will also offer help if you are applying for a place with them. Propel can help you to find which universities offer this.
  • If you are applying through a school or college, you can ask your teacher or tutor for advice. If you have left, you may still be able to ask them, especially if they are being your referee.
  • If you know people who have been to university, you can ask them to help with your application - remember that everyone's application is different and what worked for them may not be best for you.
  • Anyone who knows you well can be a useful person to ask: they will give you a new perspective and may think of things that you didn't.

Your personal statement

Your exam results give an overview of your academic ability, but it's in your personal statement where you can really make yourself stand out. It's your opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the subject and convince the universities you apply to that you would be a great student.

Things like extracurricular activities and work experience can be valuable on a personal statement, but you can also write about challenges or difficulties you have overcome. These demonstrate your dedication and resilience, which make you a good candidate.

Find out the essentials of writing your personal statement.

Applying for student finance

Applying for student finance works the same for care leavers as for other students, except that you won't be expected to provide details of your parents' income. Instead, the size of your student loan will be based on your income (if you live with a partner, their income will also be considered).

You might have to provide evidence that you are a care leaver. A letter from a social worker or support worker is normally enough for this, but it's important to make sure that your evidence has been received and was correct, since part of your loan could be delayed if there is a mistake.

Find out more about financial support for care leavers.

More information