The College Application Process

Great news – you’ve found a subject you enjoy and you’re interested in! And you want to get on a course that allows you to take it to the next level and a step closer to achieving your career aspirations. But how do you make it happen? The first thing you’ll need to do is submit an application. But what does that involve? How do you do it? We’ll walk you through! Because, as a prospective student, (or a parent or guardian of one), you’ll need to understand the application process to help ensure your success.

Start researching your options as soon as possible!

The first step is to do your research. Investigate which education providers offer the course you want that suits your needs; consider college reviews and ratings, location and travel arrangements and entry requirements. You can do this by looking at college prospectuses, or the college website.

You should also consider visiting the college at an Open Event. This will allow you to see the college and its facilities, meet staff and students and even get a taster of your course. It’s also worth checking out their social media to get a feel for the place and its values too.

Once you’ve decided on the location and course to apply for, you’ll need to make sure you submit your application in a timely manner so you have the best possible chance of getting a place on the course of your choice.

Good college post-it note brainstorm
Laptop research

Submit an application

You can apply to more than one course at a range of colleges and sixth forms and can ‘hold’ multiple offers. This means you can be offered places at more than one establishment but you don’t actually have to confirm which offer you’ll accept until you’ve collected those all-important GCSE results.

The application process is actually not as scary as you might think, and depends on the type of course you’re applying for as to what it will involve.

Full-time courses

Most Full-time courses require an application to be submitted followed by an interview. There are a few ways to apply for a full-time course at college or sixth form.

Online – Online is the easiest way to apply for a Full-time course. This means your application can easily be tracked from start to finish. At Barnfield, the process works like this:

  • Find the course you want from our Course Selector page. You can see details on the course page such as entry requirements and basic course content
  • Once on the correct page, you’ll see an ‘Apply now’ button in the top-right corner. Click this and you’ll be taken to our application portal
  • From here, you’ll need to sign into your account. If you don’t have one, click ‘Create new account’, complete the form and create a unique username and password
  • Once you’ve signed in, you can submit your application! You’ll get an email acknowledgment, and that’s it! The process has officially begun!
Barnfield College application screen
Barnfield College Application form

On paper – If you prefer to fill in a form with good old pen and paper, most colleges still offer this as an option despite an increasing shift towards digital. You can usually pop into the college and collect a form from reception, or download an application form from the website to print at home. You can then hand this in at the college or post it to them. Paper forms can be pretty overwhelming though, so you may wish to have some guidance.

In person – If you’re finding the application process a little daunting and would prefer some support, most colleges will guide you through it. At Barnfield College, we have a dedicated Student Services team at both campuses who will be happy to support you during your application.

Part-time courses

Part-time courses are a little different because they have varying start dates and often don’t require an interview so you may be able to enrol online or by phone. However this can differ from college to college. At Barnfield College, we recommend contacting the Student Services team on 01582 569 569 to discuss applications for Part-time courses.

Higher Education courses

For Higher Education courses (degree-level courses), you’ll need to apply via UCAS. UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It is the UK’s centralised service that students use to apply for degree-level courses. HE courses are rated in UCAS points, so prospective students can be accepted based on any combination of grades from relevant courses as long as the final total of UCAS points matches the required amount for your choice of course.

Barnfield College Higher Education building
Interview candidate

Attend an interview

Once you’ve submitted an application, you may be invited to attend an interview. These generally take place from January onwards. We know an interview can be overwhelming. However, it’s just as much your chance to find out about the college and course you’ve applied for as it is for the interviewer to ensure the course matches your level of skills and experience. So don’t worry, they’ll equally be trying to impress you as much as you’re trying to impress them!

Many colleges will let you know during your interview if you’ve been successful, and if so, you’ll receive an offer, which may be conditional on things like qualifications and references. A formal offer will then follow by email or post.

Collect your GCSE results and accept your offer

If your offer is dependent on GCSE results, once you have collected these, you can accept your place on your course! If you didn’t quite get the results you needed for the course you had in mind, most colleges will offer advice days to allow you adjust your plans under guidance from specialist staff. At Barnfield, we hold a range of advice days from the day the GCSE results are released, where you can get the support you need.

Enrol, start and enjoy!

Once you have accepted your offer, all that’s left to do is enrol! You’ll need to do this to guarantee your place. Enrollment is completed on an allocated date at your new college, and allows you to receive your ID badge, timetable and course start date. And that’s it! Congratulations – you’re officially a college student!

Barnfield College students

Late applications

We know that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, so if you haven’t met this ideal timeline, don’t worry. Most colleges will accept late applications if they have places available. Find out more about late college applications in Barnfield Connect.