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Follow these general steps when applying for a course and look at the part-time or full-time sections for specific information:


Summary of arrangements for applying

All full time higher education courses e.g. degree, Foundation Degree, HNC/HND need to applied for through the UCAS system. 

They have a timetable of key dates in the application process which also explains when you need to apply.

Part time courses are applied for through the institution.

Apprenticeship vacancies can be searched and applied for through

Tips before you apply

  • Find out what the application process involves by checking on the institution's website - it will be different depending on whether you are applying for full-time, part-time, etc
  • Find out the deadlines for each course you want to apply to, and give yourself plenty of time to complete your application
  • Get ready to market yourself, your skills and experiences
  • Make sure your skills, experiences and qualifcations match to the course requirements
  • Think which people might be your referees
  • Prepare your referee so that they know what is expected of them

Getting support

You can get support from family, friends and your employer. Also, universities and colleges are keen to offer support to learners who are returning to study. Search their websites for the contact details of their student support officers or advisers. 

You can also get support from a National Careers Service adviser

Getting the right referees

Your referees are an important part of your application process.

The referee is a person who is prepared to write a reference in support of your application. This could be a recent employer, a teacher/tutor from a recent course you have done, someone you have done voluntary work for, etc.  It should be someone who knows you quite well and you should ask them beforehand if they are willing to write a reference for you. Make sure you prepare your referee well. Give them the details of and the course requirements. Ensure they understand the expected style of writing.


Be aware that institutions check for plagiarism so do not copy from other people! It really isn't worth the risk as the UCAS software is very sophisticated.

Sophie, a Bristol University student, offers top tips on applying

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