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Available to anyone who exceeds the grade requirements of their firm offer. Your child may be able to swap their existing uni place for one at another university.


Students learn on the job and gain a recognised workplace qualification. The focus is on specific work related skills.


A way of matching universities with places to students. UCAS Clearing is a second chance of getting a place if your child didn’t receive an offer from any of the universities they applied to, or didn’t get the results they needed. Clearing is available from July to September each year.

Conditional Offer

An offer has been made to a student but they can only attend if they meet the conditions attached. This is usually meeting the grade requirements of the university in question.

Degree apprenticeship

Holding an offer at a chosen university until the next academic year. Be sure to check if the university course is accepting deferred entry applications.

Firm choice/offer

A firm choice/offer is when your child has ‘firmly decided to accept’ a conditional or unconditional offer made to them by a university.

Foundation degree

Two thirds of a full honours degree. Vocational and fully flexible allowing students to study full or part-time.

Foundation year

An extra year of study at the start of a university course to allow a student to meet entry requirements.

Higher Apprenticeship

Incorporates academic and vocational qualifications and learning from Levels four to seven.

Higher National Certificate

An extra year of study at the start of a university course to allow a student to meet entry requirements.

Higher National Degree

A work related course provided by higher and further education colleges.

Honours degree

An undergraduate academic degree awarded by universities and colleges of higher education.

Insurance choice/offer

Insurance refers to an offer that has been accepted as the one your child wishes to attend if their firm choice falls through.

Maintenance loan

A loan students can apply for, usually through Student Finance England, to help with living and accommodation costs. This loan is repayable once earning over a threshold.

Means testing

A financial assessment of the income of the students’ household to determine how much maintenance loan the student is eligible for from the UK government to help towards living expenses.

Postgraduate degree

Usually a Masters or PhD, a postgraduate degree is a higher level of study and qualification and is achieved after a student has obtained an undergraduate degree (their first degree qualification).


A financial grant or benefit given to a student to support their education. Most commonly awarded on the basis of academic merit or exceptional achievement in sports or the arts.

Sponsored degree

Students work whilst studying. It could be a whole honours degree with a full or part sponsorship from a professional body and can refer to higher apprenticeship, foundation degree or honours degree.

Tuition fees

The amount charged to study at higher education. The maximum charge is set by the government.


The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK based organisation whose main role is to operate the application process for British Universities. Application to all universities must be made through UCAS Apply, not directly to the university.

UCAS Extra

An opportunity for students without offers (after the applications have been considered) to apply to other university options.

UCAS Track

Once an application has been submitted and a welcome email has been received, the application progression can be viewed through UCAS Online

Unconditional Offer

An offer with no requirements for the student, except completing their schooling.

Undergraduate degree

Received after a three/four year course of study. A student while studying is referred to as an undergraduate and once finished is a graduate.