Why would a university or college want to know if my parents have served in the UK Armed Forces?

Although there are many advantages to Service life, students from Armed Forces families (often called ‘Service children’) may face particular challenges with their education, such as moving schools.

Knowing about your circumstances may also help admissions staff to take your achievements into account and gain a better understanding of these achievements and potential in context. It won't reflect negatively on your application or academic ability, but instead will enable the university or college to form a more complete picture of you as an individual and identify applicants who have the potential to succeed – even if their personal circumstances have affected their attainment (e.g. exam grades). This blog article from the Ministry of Defence explains more about why UCAS asks this question, and why sharing your circumstances is a positive step.

When you give this information, you're letting the university or college know that you may need additional support during your studies, or have perhaps faced particular challenges. They may get in touch with more information about the support available and to discuss whether you want to access it. They may also be able to tell you about any opportunities to support their own work with the wider Armed Forces community.

Before you apply, you might find it's a good idea to contact student services at the university or college to check what support is available. Remember any support provided is designed to ensure you have a fair chance to succeed in your studies. You can use the UCAS personal statement to highlight how your experience has helped you develop unique skills and strengths. To help with this, the Service Children’s Progression Alliance (SCiP Alliance) has created some guidance to help you write about this.

Read more about the support available for children from Armed Forces families on the SCiP Alliance website.

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