Applying for University


» Applying for university

Higher Education
Students can attend the daily lunchtime UCAS drop-in sessions at all campuses to get application or finance support with a careers adviser. 

Prospectuses for 2020
Copies of prospectuses from most UK universities are available in the Learning Resource Centres at all sites, and at the Careers Library within the Careers and Job Shop at Caudwell Street campus. There may be some extra copies which are free to take away – please ask.

Thinking about Higher Education....
Are you thinking about Higher Education but not sure where or what to study then read on?

Look at the two Student Guides to Higher Education booklets, below. They set out the process step by step from researching your ideas to writing that winning personal statement.


Bedfordshire students may also like to have a look at Higher Ideas which is a careers software program to help you generate ideas of what and where to study based on your current course, interests and career ambitions.

HE websites such as Which? University and Unistats (see Useful Websites below) are also worth having a look at when deciding where to study. Unistats contains the results of the latest national student survey.

Home or Abroad?
Perhaps you're considering studying overseas? Have a look at the information on the Studying Abroad page. Perhaps studying nearer to home is more for you or even from home. Take a look at the Part-time and Distance Learning page and the Local Universities section below. The website Apply to Uni has lots of information about online degrees which may further help you with your decision making.

Hints and tips for your application Admissions tutors from the University of Birmingham (a Russell Group university) discuss university applications and personal statements including the importance of showcasing the skills you have learnt at school or college.

Preparing for University
Have a look at the two interactive websites from the University of Birmingham. Tips4uni will help you with the application process and Skills4uni will help you develop your planning and research skills for A-levels and beyond.

Useful websites...

Apply to Uni

Best Course for Me

Bright Knowledge

Helena Kennedy Foundation - provides financial bursaries, mentoring and support to disadvantaged students.

The Longford Trust - providing second chances through education for offenders.



Student Calculator

The Student Room

UCAS logo 

UKCISA - supporting overseas students studying in the UK

U-Multirank - compares different universities across the world

Unistats - compares subjects at different UK universities

Which? University

» Entrance tests

These have been introduced for some courses and universities which are very popular and competitive.  Cambridge and Oxford also have additional tests for most of their courses. 

The Cambridge Assessment Admissions Tests website includes links to the BMAT - BioMedical Admissions Tests and the TSA Cambridge and the TSA Oxford - Thinking Skills Assessments. 

LNAT - National Admissions Test for Law

UK Clinical Aptitude Test

» Local universities

  UoB        Uni of Herts         University of Northampton     

» Sponsored degree programmes

Sponsored degrees and employer-led schemes linked to universities, usually offer a salary plus a combination of payment or part payment of tuition fees.  Generally these programmes mean that a company or organisation will be supporting you financially while you study and it may be possible to leave university without any debt.  Sponsored degrees also offer some fantastic chances of gaining valuable work place experience.  However, you should consider that the sponsor is likely to want you to commit to them for a minimum term, which could be several years, in return for their financial support.  Should you change your mind during this time you could be asked to pay back the fees. 

Sponsored degrees are just one of the range of opportunities to consider after completing school or college.  Some companies and organisations that offer them are detailed below. 

Further information on other opportunities can be found under Apprenticeships and Training Schemes. 


The Airbus Sponsored Degree is a three year Aeronautical Engineering Undergraduate Apprenticeship programme that combines vocational and academic training with on the job experience. You will attend either the University of West England or Swansea University to study for your BEng Honours degree. Click here to find out more.

Other programmes available with Airbus include Sponsored Commercial Degrees in Finance, Human Resources or Facilities. Again these Undergraduate Apprenticeships are three year programmes that combine academic study with on the job experience for which you will be based at the Airbus site in Broughton, North Wales. To find out more on these programmes click here.                             

 Barclays       The Barclays Retail Development Programme sponsored degree has been developed with Nottingham Business School and Lord Ashcroft International Business School Anglia Ruskin University.  Click here to find out more and how to apply. 
 CGI       CGI’s Sponsored Degree Programme offers the chance to simultaneously gain a degree and start your career. You’ll study towards an honours degree at the University of Winchester one day a week and spend the other four developing your skills on the job. You’ll also benefit from a generous starting salary, fully paid tuition fees and all the support you need to succeed. Click here to find out more. 
  Environ agency      

The foundation degree in River and Coastal Engineering, at the University of the West of England in Bristol, is a two year programme of full time university study in your first year and workbased learning at an Environment Agency or Local Authority office in your second year.  You'll be paid up to £15,000 during your work placement.  Tuition fees and textbooks will also be paid throughout the programme plus your accommodation during your study weeks in your second year.  Click here to find out more.

      The EY Degree provides a path into university studies, a paid placement in Assurance and a professional qualification through study at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) and ICAS. Click here to find out more. 

The Experian sponsored degree is a three year intensive work and study programme in partnership with Nottingham Trent University. Instead of the usual term time structure you will attend university on intensive week long study blocks across each year, studying business and management based modules. Click here to find out more. 

George and Asda      

The George Degree Programme is run over two years and you'll study for the Retail Foundation Degree from Manchester Metropolitan University. You'll be based at George's Head Office in Leicestershire.  For more information click here.


The KPMG 6-year Audit programme is your chance to study for an accounting degree at either Durham, Exeter or Birmingham University and become a fully-qualified Chartered Accountant. Get your university fees paid and get a generous starting salary. Click here to find out more.


Merchant Navy Sea Going Foundation Degrees for information click here.  Additional information on the foundation degree is available here from the Ship Safe Training Group. 


Morrisons and the University of Bradford are working together to offer a Foundation Degree in Retail or a BSc (Hons) in Business and Management.  Click here for more details.


Study for a foundation degree in Electrical Power Engineering fully-funded by the National Grid.  This will be three year programme  combining formal study at University, further training at a National Grid centre in Nottinghamshire plus practical application and experience at your local site or office facility.  Click here to find out more. 

Nestle Academy      

The three-year Nestlé Academy Fast Start programme offers you the chance to combine university studies with practical experience in a global business. You’ll study for a BA (Hons.) degree in Professional Business Practice at Sheffield Hallam University and combine this with placements across a range of  of business teams. Nestlé will pay your course fees, plus your costs for accommodation, meals and travel while you’re studying.  Click here for more information. 

     Network Rail       Trainee Track Engineer Design Scheme - a two year programme of study at Sheffield Hallam University for a Foundation degree in railway engineering with on the job experience at Network Rail designing and implementing track layouts.  You'll be paid a salary of £14,000 in your first year which on successful completion will increase to £15,000.  Tuition fees and other associated costs will also be covered subject to satisfactory performance. 
    PWC 2      

The Flying Start degree is four-year programme that will give you the benefit of going to university, getting paid work experience and fast tracking your career. This programme has been developed in partnership with PwC, the UK’s leading professional services organisation, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Click here to find out more. 

Further information on sponsored degrees and other companies that offer them can be found here

» Student events


 The National Apprenticeship Show    
    Find your next event, taster or open day with My Student Events.   Use the Open Days directory to plan your visits and keep up to date with university and college open days.

» The Russell Group

Q: Who and what are The Russell Group?

The Russell Group are a cluster of universities who have formed themselves into a 'group' of members. The group was first set up in 1994 and has always had as its focus outstanding teaching and learning, world class research and close links with the business world. The group grew to its present size in March 2012 when Durham, Exeter, Queen Mary - University of London and York universities joined.

Presently the Russell Group comprise of the following 24 UK universities or members:

University of Birmingham   University of Bristol   University of Cambridge 
Cardiff University   Durham University   University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter   University of Glasgow     Imperial College London
King’s College London   University of Leeds   University of Liverpool
London School of Economics & Political Science   University of Manchester   Newcastle University
University of Nottingham   University of Oxford   Queen Mary, University of London

Queen’s University Belfast

  University of Sheffield   University of Southampton
University College London   University of Warwick   University of York

Q: How did the Russell Group get its name?

The name came from the Hotel Russell in Russell Square, London as this was where the first few meetings of the group took place.

Q: Is there more competition for places at a Russell Group university?

Competition for places at a Russell Group university is strong with approximately seven applications per place across most courses. Some more popular courses attract up to twenty applications per place.

Q: Do employers prefer graduates from a Russell Group university?

Employers are always wanting to recruit graduates who are able to think in creative and analytical ways to achieve solutions, and that have good team working and communication skills. Employers often think that these attributes are developed at the Russell Group universities, but other universities also strive to develop these skills. Some employers only recruit from what they perceive as 'top' universities. Other universities may have higher graduate employment rates, for example Aston University. (source Higher Education Statistics Agency)

According to recent research, studying at a Russell Group university will attract a salary top up of up to 10% over a lifetime in comparison to other graduates.

Useful websites...

Apply to Uni - A Guide to The Russell Group

The Russell Group