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Coronavirus information for applicants and offer holders

Applying to study at university can be daunting under normal circumstances, but with an ever-changing situation you may have more questions than before.

We've created this list of FAQ's to ensure that as a BCU applicant or offer-holder you have all of the information you need, when you need it. We will keep this page up-to-date as the situation evolves.

UCAS equal consideration deadline

Can I still apply now the UCAS equal consideration deadline of 29 January has passed?

Yes. BCU will continue to accept applications until the end of the UCAS main cycle on 30 June, after which you apply via Clearing. However, some Health-related courses with high numbers of applications to places are now closed to further applications so please check the UCAS and BCU course profiles. If these are the only courses you are interested in, you could check again in Clearing (opens from 5 July) to see if they re-open if places become available, or consider making an application for 2022 entry. 

What other deadlines apply?

If you applied by 29 January, BCU has to make its decision by 20 May and you then need to respond by 10 June.  In many cases, our offers are processed much earlier than this and you can accept once you have made your decision. Please see the UCAS guidance.

Exam cancellations

My exams have been cancelled – what happens now?

Following the Government’s announcement that all GCSE and A Level exams are to be cancelled this summer, schools and colleges will provide teacher assessed grades. The controversial algorithm used to determine grades in summer 2020 will not be applied in 2021.

What are teacher assessed grades?

To ensure fairness and flexibility, teacher assessed grades will be based on all the evidence teachers have, including coursework and any mock exams you have already taken, as the best indicator of performance.  Although your school or college may decide to share these grades with you in advance, universities wait until these are formally communicated via UCAS, who work with the awarding bodies. BCU aims to confirm places on results day (10 August) where we have all the information to do so.

Can I still apply to university even though I won’t be taking my exams?

Yes – you apply in exactly the same way and your school or college will still provide predicted grades in advance of the actual teacher assessed grades in the summer. 

What does this mean for my predicted grades?

The predicted grades are still taken into account by Admissions teams as part of the holistic assessment of your application to determine your suitability for a course. 

I’m taking BTECs - do I still have to do my exams?

In the case of BTECs, the Government left decisions on whether to proceed with exams up to individual colleges, so they will have communicated this to you. As with A Levels, where required, teachers will be providing assessed grades based on other information such as coursework. Pearson has advised that no BTEC unit grade information will be provided to universities but we will receive details of your over-arching award, which will meet our needs in most cases. 

I’m studying an Access to HE Diploma

As this is a credit-based qualification, your college will have continued to deliver a programme of learning which covered all units, so that you have the opportunity to be assessed and achieve the credits required. Further information is available on the QAA website.

Private candidates

The Government’s advice to private candidates is that they should work with a centre to provide evidence in line with that required of other students, so we are expecting to receive grades wherever possible.

My offer is conditional on GCSEs

The University does not receive GCSE grades direct.  These will be published on 12 August and you must share them with us – please see instructions in the Applicant Portal. If you have fallen short of the grades required, we may be able to offer you our online equivalency test.

Will I still be eligible for the Meet or Beat scholarship if I don’t take my exams?

Yes, if your teacher assessed grades meet or exceed BCU’s published Level 3 entry requirements, you will be eligible for the scholarship. Not all courses are eligible for this scheme. See full terms and conditions.

Disrupted Studies claims

If have experienced issues of a personal, social or domestic nature that have affected your studies, or your ability to meet our published entry requirements or offer, we encourage you to let us know by completing our Disrupted Studies form. These should be circumstances that haven't already been mitigated by your school or college as part of their assessment, and claims can be processed more quickly if they provide a supporting statement using the claim form within this link. 

What will my teaching look like?

Will teaching be in person or online?

Most scheduled teaching from September 2021 including seminars, workshops, laboratories, skills labs and studios will be delivered face-to-face on campus where this is permitted and the University considers it safe to do so. This means that you will need to be on campus for this scheduled learning in order to engage with your course. However, lectures will be held online and recorded, following feedback from our students this year, who told us that they preferred being able to watch lectures online at a time that suits them.

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Will I still be able to attend a placement or external visit for my course?

The University will try its best to ensure you are able to attend all integral placements and external visits but it may be necessary to make changes to the timing of these. This may mean that the placement or visit will take place later in the academic year, or may need to be completed in another academic year where it cannot be accommodated in 2021/22. Your Course Team will contact you with further information in the event that changes need to be made to integral placement/external visits.

If an integral placement/external visit or voluntary placement does not take place and you are in the final year of your course, wherever possible the placement will be re-arranged for the following academic year. You will not be charged any additional tuition fees for the placement taking place in the following academic year, but you should be aware that in these circumstances the completion of course and your graduation will be delayed until the placement has been successfully completed.

How will exams take place?

Exam assessments in the academic 2021/22 will take place online unless this is not permitted due to the requirements of an external professional body, or other exceptional circumstances apply.

Will the term dates change?

Our intention is that the standard academic year dates for 2021/22 will remain unchanged, unless it becomes necessary to extend the end of the academic year due to restrictions that have been in place on teaching and/or placements. Semester 1 dates will be unchanged but we may extend semester 2 by up to one month to the end of June 2022 if we need the additional time for further teaching, external visits and/or placements or assessments.

We will not extend the undergraduate year beyond June to avoid as far as possible causing accommodation problems for our students. We will give you two months’ notice if we need to extend the semester.

Please note, some professional courses (e.g. in Health and Education) have extended years as part of the course requirements. For Health courses with integral placements for example, you may be offered placements during the traditional summer holiday period in the event that placement hours or experiences need to be retrieved to enable completion or progression.

I’m an international student. When do I need to arrive in the UK for my course?

We will support students with flexible arrival until week 4, exceptionally allowing international students an extended arrival beyond week 4 to support any quarantine required, provided they engage with online lectures by week 4.

If you are unable to arrive in the UK for the start of your course, a tailored session will be organised for a member of the course team to discuss a support plan for you, which will then be in place until you are able to join us on campus.

If you are required to self-isolate, you should continue to engage with learning online during your period of isolation. The University will provide food vouchers to you during your isolation period. Support will also be offered to students required to self-isolate by the University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing team.

Will I need to social distance in the classroom?

When scheduled learning does take place on campus, one of the following arrangements will be put in place as necessary:

  1. Where permitted and safe to do so, teaching will take place without social distancing measures in place.
  2. When the restrictions in place at the time and/or the University’s own assessment of risk requires, social distancing measures will be in place around campus and during teaching sessions. There may also be a requirement for you to wear a face covering while on campus (note that exemptions are available in appropriate cases).
Will I still be able to access academic support and social activities during my studies?

You will be able to take advantage of the academic and social opportunities which University life offers whether on campus or online, including Welcome Week in September 2021.

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Will I be able to access study spaces on campus?

You will be able to study on campus when you do not have teaching provided that this is permitted by the current government guidelines and that you follow any COVID-19 measures put in place by the University at that time, such as requirements around social distancing and face coverings.

Will support services be available on campus?

Our support services will be available for both face-to-face appointments where permitted and online appointments, subject to any restrictions in place at the time. This includes a range of student services such as the Centre for Academic Success, Graduate Plus, our Careers+ service and our library and learning resources.

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Will I need to wear a face covering on campus?

When necessary, all staff and students will be required to wear face coverings in BCU buildings unless exempt.

Will social distancing be used?

When required, we are implementing social distancing in all buildings and teaching spaces.

Will students be given personal protective equipment (PPE)?

All students will continue to be provided with face coverings and hand sanitiser, with extra hand sanitiser also placed around buildings.

Additional PPE, such as gloves and visors, will be supplied in specialist teaching and research spaces where risk assessment recommends its use.

Will I need to take a Covid-19 test to come to campus?

Students who come onto campus are currently encouraged to take two rapid Covid-19 tests per week to help prevent asymptomatic transmission. However, you should be aware that guidance on accessing the testing facilities may change during the academic year and you will be notified of changes that may be made.

You can also collect home testing kits from our testing centres at City Centre Campus and City South Campus.