Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
Discover Uni is working with its UK partners and with universities and colleges to ensure you have the information and guidance you need. This is a changing situation and our aim is to keep you as up to date as possible. Further information will be added as it becomes available so keep checking back.
This page focuses on information about higher education.
If you are a current student, your university or college should be your first port of call with queries about your course, accommodation, or immigration status.
Applications and admissions
UCAS is currently accepting applications for higher education courses starting this year. Although their main deadline of 29 January has passed, you can still apply up to 30 June 2021, and from 5 July – 19 October, you can apply for a course through Clearing if you're not already holding an offer from a university or college, and the course still has places. For additional information please refer to UCAS deadlines.
For information on the application process, please refer to the UCAS website.
Take a look at our 'how to choose a course' section for details of things you might want to consider when applying to uni.
Check back regularly for updates, as information on this page may change.
The government has announced that A Level and GCSE exams will not go ahead this summer. Arrangements for vocational exams (including BTECs) have also changed for those who were due to sit from January to March and may vary depending on your school or college. Please contact your school or college for advice. For more information, please refer to the Department for Education.
It has been agreed that vocational and technical qualifications, such as BTECs, should continue to take place in February and March where an in-person exam is required for a student to complete an apprenticeship or go into a job. This only applies to examinations which must take place in person to meet health and safety standards requirements for the qualification. More information can be found in this letter. Alternative arrangements will be put in place for students expected to sit these assessments who can no longer attend in person.
The Department for Education and the exams regulator, Ofqual, have announced arrangements for the awarding of grades in 2021 . These arrangements only apply to qualifications in England.
Arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels:
- Teachers will award grades based on their judgement of the standard at which their students are performing currently.
- Teachers can use a range of evidence to set grades including student work, coursework and mock exams. Exam boards will provide support and advice on relevant evidence.
- Grades will be submitted by schools and colleges to the relevant exam board by 18th of June.
- Results day will be on the Tuesday 10th August for AS and A Levels and on Thursday 12th August for GCSEs.
- All students will be able to appeal their grades if they believe the grade they have received is not a reflection of their performance.
More information, including information for private candidates, is provided in this guidance.
Arrangements for Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs):
Ofqual is consulting on a new process for awarding VTQs after March. Proposals in this consultation are:
- Where exams must take place in person for a qualification to be issued and this qualification is needed for progression to further study or employment, exams can take place in person. These assessments must conform with public health guidance.
- For all other VTQs, awarding organisations should put in place a similar approach to that for GCSEs, AS and A Levels.
The Welsh government has cancelled next summer's GCSE, AS and A-level exams and has announced that grades will be assessed by schools and colleges.
- Schools and colleges will be able to use a range of evidence to determine the grades to be awarded to their learners, including coursework and mocks. The WJEC exam board will also offer a set of adapted past papers to enable schools to carry on assessing their pupils.
- Students will be able to appeal results through their school or college.
More details can be found in the Education Minister’s statement.
Higher, Advanced Higher and National 5 exams will not go ahead in 2021. They will be replaced with awards based on teacher judgement of evidence of pupils’ attainment.
For more detail please refer to the latest government announcement on gov.scot.
The Education Minister for Northern Ireland has confirmed that all GCSE, AS and A2 exams due to take place in January, February, May and June 2021 will be cancelled, and the government are currently working on alternative awarding arrangements.
Latest UK information
Universities Wales details advice given to universities relating to the coronavirus pandemic. The Welsh government has released guidance for educational settings as well as specific guidance for Higher Education settings and student support.
Students who live or study in Scotland should refer to the official Student Information website.
Students who live in Northern Ireland can look at their official coronavirus information.
Universities UK has released guidance on policy relating to the Coronavirus pandemic.
For further information about coronavirus, such as advice about the precautions you should be taking, and what to do if you think you may have coronavirus, please read the government advice for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
International applicants and students
International applicants – Prospective Students
You may have a lot of questions about studying in the UK. For information see the UK Council for International Student Affairs.
For information on changes to English language tests, visas and where to get advice and support visit the British Council Study UK website.
If you have applied via UCAS and there are any other significant changes that will affect you, or your application, UCAS will email you using the email address on your application – you can update it in Track.
More information on applying to university can be found on the UCAS website.
Extra support and wellbeing
Our student support pages provide information about the additional support available for students at university. We have listed additional links below if you are experiencing issues that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The BBC is providing free teaching resources for primary school and secondary school students with online learning materials arranged by age group and subject.
Care Leavers and estranged students
If you are care-experienced, or estranged from your family, you may be feeling anxious about coronavirus (COVID-19). Things can feel quite overwhelming, especially if you do not have any family around to talk to.
You can get information, advice and support from the designated link person at your university. If you are a care leaver you can talk to your PA or Leaving Care Worker. Each local authority has different types of support for care leavers, so it is worth talking to them directly.
If you have any questions around the impact of coronavirus on the care you are receiving, or want some personal advice, or just need to talk to someone, you can contact:
If you are estranged from your family you can visit www.standalone.org.uk for advice and guidance.
Students with disabilities
If you are a student with disabilities and you need advice, you can call the Disabled Students Helpline on 0330 995 0414. The opening hours are 11am – 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Alternatively, you can email them at: [email protected].
If you are a mature student taking the Access to HE course, QAA will continue to provide updates for all Access to HE students on the section of the Access to HE website and will share the latest information with Access Validating Agencies, course providers and higher education providers.
You can also read the FAQs on the QAA website.
If you need help or further support, please speak to your course providers.