From exciting open days (or virtual ones) to the pressure of exams and getting the grades you need, going to university can be a rollercoaster of emotions. When you’re from a military family, there are some extra things to think about. AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist, Jenna Richardson, tells us more…

Your application

There is currently no prompt on the UCAS form to identify yourself as the member of a military family. If you’re under 21, you’re asked to disclose the profession of the highest earner in your family, but it’s no good if this isn’t the serving person, or you’re over 21.

Current guidance from UCAS is to use your personal statement to highlight that you’re part of a forces family. Remember, the university admissions teams are unlikely to be aware of military-related irregularities in your application.

Talk yourself up

Your personal statement is your opportunity to sell your qualities to your chosen universities. As part of a service family, you’ve probably developed skills in time management and communication, independence, and have the commitment to really succeed in higher education.

It’s helpful to include lines such as: “My dad is in the army and I’ve attended lots of schools, so I cope well settling into new environments” or “my mum is in the military and when she’s deployed, I take on all the family commitments so have developed essential organisational skills, including meeting deadlines”.

UCAS and the SCiP Alliance have some great resources to help with this.

Applying from overseas

This can be tricky, and we’ve had reports of people accidentally being processed as international students. UCAS has a specific process in place for UK citizens applying from outside the UK who are accompanying a serving person on a military assignment. The AFF website has details on how to complete your UCAS form – aff.org.uk

Student finance

Service Family Accommodation is not considered to be an ‘ordinary residence’, which is an eligibility criterion for student finance. If you live in SFA, you need to apply to the nation where your serving person lived when they joined the army, regardless of where you live now. This is important because the offer between the devolved nations is different, and this may influence your choice of university.

For more information, check our useful links or email me at employment@aff.org.uk

Useful links

ucas.com
scipalliance.org
Student Finance England – gov.uk
studentfinancewales.co.uk
Student Finance Northern Ireland
Student Awards Agency Scotland

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