Saturday, December 20, 2014

Help and advice for care leavers

Ben Jordan is the Senior Policy Executive at UCAS. Here he
writes about why you’re asked whether you’re a care leaver on your
application to university, and where you can find support if you have
been in care.

Ben Jordan, Senior Policy Executive,
We aim to help people make informed choices that best suit their
aspirations and abilities, and give them the best opportunity to
succeed. We provide information and advice to around 670,000 university
applicants each year, and of those there are people with a range of
individual needs, including care leavers.

We know that there are a number of challenges faced by care leavers
when progressing to university or college, so offering the chance to
state whether you’re a care leaver on your application helps
universities and colleges to offer support in a number of ways. 


Asking the question

To begin with, the question we ask in the personal details section
is; 'Have you ever been in care?' If you respond 'Yes', we’ll ask how
long you’ve been in care for. We’ve avoided using the statutory
definition of a care leaver because we feel that by leaving it open
we’re able to help all those who may need support. The question acts as a
flag to universities and colleges, letting them know you have personal
circumstances that may require extra support while you’re studying. They
will often contact you to discuss the type of support you may need
after they receive your application.

You also have the opportunity to provide information about your
situation in the personal statement section of your application,
although you can send details to the university or colleges separately
if you prefer. 

For the 2015 application we have updated the help text for the 'in
care' question to make it as clear as possible why you’re being asked,
and to explain how universities and colleges may use this information.

Getting help

If you’re a care leaver or you’re helping someone who is, you’ll find lots of information and advice on our website to help you get support.

  • Information about the type of support offered by universities and colleges.
  • Details of the financial support available to care leavers.
  • Links to organisations that can offer further information, such
    as Buttle UK and The Who Cares? Trust, as well as a link to the Who
    Cares? Trust HE handbook.
  • A list of universities and colleges that have the quality mark for care leavers. 
  • A video with first-hand accounts from students who are care leavers.   

What do you think?

We will continue to support all applicants as they progress to higher
education, including care leavers. If you have any ideas or suggestions
about how we can best achieve this, please leave a comment below.

Khondoker Hafizur Rahman

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