Admissions Tutor: The university official responsible for deciding whether or not to give you a place at a particular university on a particular course (basically the person you’ve got to impress to get a place!)
Alternative Prospectus: Booklet written for prospective students by current students of the university.
Bisexual: People who are attracted to people of both sexes. They may find sex ('physical gender') irrelevant and find something else more important in defining their attractions or they may be attracted to men for one reason and women for another.
Bursaries: Special grants provided by universities to provide extra financial assistance to those who need it. They do not have to be paid back. Apply directly to your university or college to find out what they offer.
Campus: Universities come in two types: town universities, where the university is mixed in with the town, and campus universities, where the university has its own designated space—a ‘campus’—generally outside of the town. Campuses will usually be almost entirely self-sufficient with their own night clubs, restaurants, supermarkets, and even banks!
Clearing: After you receive your results, if you didn’t get the grades for your choices or choose to reject your choices you can apply through clearing, which is a list of all courses that universities have left over.
Counselling service: Most universities will have a specific counselling service there to provide confidential support on any issue that you want to talk about with them.
Degree: The reason you’re at university! After three or four years of study—if you pass—you’ll have a degree ‘conferred upon you’ to signify that you completed the course.
Discrimination: Treating a particular group of people less favourably than others because of a certain characteristic. The law in Britain recognises two kinds of discrimination: direct and indirect. Direct discrimination occurs when a certain factor, e.g. sexual orientation, is used as an explicit reason for discriminating. Indirect discrimination occurs when there are rules, regulations or procedures operating which have the effect of discriminating against certain groups of people.
Distance learning: An option of study which allows you to study for your degree from home, usually using online resources and audio/video tapes.
Diversity Champion: The Diversity Champions programme is Stonewall's good practice employers' forum on sexual orientation.
Estrangement: When you no longer have contact with your family you’re considered to be estranged from them. If you provide proof of this to Student Finance they will make sure you get the necessary funds for your application.
Firm offer: Given when a university offers you a place on their course and you pick this as your first choice course. Often the university will stipulate grades you have to meet to accept this place.
Full-time study: The most conventional form of study involves you studying full time – attending lectures and tutorials on a nine-to-five basis and fitting everything else around your degree.
Gay: Usually used to describe someone who is attracted to the same sex, it can apply to both men and women, though often gay women prefer to call themselves lesbians.
Gay bar: A bar which exists primarily for gay people and whose major clientele are gay people.
Gay club: Literally a club specifically for gay people.
Gay scene: The gay pubs and clubs of a particular town, i.e. where many gay people go out.
Gay village: The area in a town where lots of gay pubs and clubs are located.
Gay-friendly: Used to describe something, for instance a pub or club, that whilst not being designated as a gay organisation is still particularly welcoming to gay people.
Graduate: Someone who has completed a degree is a graduate of the place where they’ve studied.
Grants: Money given by either the government or university to cover some of the costs of living while at university. Grants do not have to be paid back.
Halls: The place where most students will live during their first year. ‘Halls’ is short for ‘halls of residence.’
Hardship Grant: A specific grant awarded if for some unexpected reason you need extra financial support, for instance if you’ve come out and your parents won’t support you anymore.
Hate Crime: A crime committed against someone out of hatred for a particular social group to which they belong, i.e. beating someone up because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Higher Education: A term used to describe education above A-level standard and the university sector in general.
Homophobia: Literally the fear of homosexuals or homosexuality. It is normally expressed through prejudice or discrimination towards gay people.
Honorary Degree: A degree awarded by a university to a famous person/distinguished academic to celebrate their achievements.
Insurance Offer: Your second choice of university, usually with a lower offer in terms of expected grades in case you don’t get the grades you need to go to your first choice.
Landlord: The person from whom you rent your property, usually when you’re living in a student house in your second/third years.
Lecture: The main form of teaching in most universities. You will sit in a lecture hall and the lecturer will teach you about a particular aspect of the course.
Lesbian: A female homosexual, a woman who is sexually attracted to other women.
LGBT: An abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans.
LGBT Society: The student society within a university which deals with LGBT issues and organises social events for LGBT students.
Maintenance Grant: A grant awarded to people with lower household incomes to assist with the cost of study. It is not paid back.
Maintenance Loan: A loan offered to students to help them cover the cost of study. It is paid back on completion of the degree.
Modular: A modular course is one made up of different “modules” or options, which gives you the opportunity to mix and match particular options in order to make up your degrees. In a modular course you are required to complete a certain number of modules to graduate.
NUS: The National Union of Students, a voluntary membership organisation which aims to make a real difference to the lives of students and its member students' unions. They are a confederation of 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK. Through their member students' unions, they represent the interests of more than seven million students.
NUS LGBT Campaign: NUS LGBT is an autonomous part of NUS. They are a democratic organisation and students who define themselves as LGBT decide their policies at their annual conference. NUS-affiliated students’ unions can send up to four students to this conference and any LGBT student can put forward a motion for discussion. The delegates debate the motions and votes are taken. The National LGBT Officers are elected at the conference. They then decide how and when to carry out the policies passed.
Open day: Your chance to visit universities and chat to lecturers and current students to decide if you want to go.
Part-time Study: Literally studying for your degree part time, over a longer period of time. This option allows you to work whilst studying and often involves studying through evening classes.
Professional degree: A professional degree is a degree which is designed to lead into a particular profession, for instance law or medicine.
Prospectus: The booklet which universities create to tell you about themselves and to encourage you to apply.
Queer: Once (and still often) a derogatory term for homosexuals, the word has been reclaimed by some as an 'anti-label', meaning that anyone who rejects gender stereotypes/roles or the heterosexual 'norm' might choose to call themselves queer. Some consider it to be a polarising term, however some find it liberating.
Russell Group: A group of 20 universities known for being the best research universities, who work together to lobby the government on issues such as research funding.
SAAS (Student Awards Agency for Scotland): An agency of the Scottish Government giving financial support to all eligible students doing a course of higher education in the UK. This website provides all the information on student funding and allows you to apply for your financial support.
Sandwich Course: A course which gives you the opportunity to take a year out (normally to do a work placement) in the middle, which is sandwiched between your years of academic study.
Stamford Test: An online test run by UCAS which helps you decide what you should study at University.
Stonewall: Europe’s largest lesbian, gay and bisexual charity and the producers of this guide. Visit www.stonewall.org.uk to find out more.
Stonewall Youth Volunteer: Someone aged between 16-21 who works with Stonewall to run a campaign around homophobic bullying. To find out more and get involved visit www.youngstonewall.org.uk.
Stonewall Talent Programme: A two-day residential programme for lesbian, gay and bisexual people aged 18-25 who haven’t yet started their careers and who have already demonstrated a capacity for leadership.
Student Accomodation Accreditation: A form of accreditation which ensures that landlords keep student houses maintained to an appropriate standard.
Student Finance England: The body in England responsible for processing claims for student funding.
Student Finance Wales: The body in Wales responsible for processing claims for student funding.
Student Loans Company: The body responsible for providing you with your student loan and to whom you have to repay the money at the end of your course.
Student Union: The body, normally elected by students, responsible for looking after students’ interest in a university. Usually it organises social events, provides welfare, and lobbies the university.
Syllabus: The programme of study for a particular course, which will tell you exactly what you’ll be doing if you take a particular subject at a particular university.
Tenancy: The period for which you rent a property from a landlord.
Top-up fees: Variable university tuition fees allowing universities to set their own fee levels up to a cap of £9,000 in England, £3,200 in Northern Ireland, or £3,375 if you are a Welsh student (even if you attend a University elsewhere in the UK). Eligible Scottish students do not pay fees.
Trans: Trans is an umbrella term that identifies the spectrum of those who feel that their assigned sex at birth does not match or sit easily with their sense of self. It encompasses transsexuals, trans gendered people and cross dressers, or anyone who challenges gender norms.
UCAS: The University and College Admissions service, basically the body which handles university applications. You can apply to up to five universities through the system.
UCAS Extra: An extra chance to apply for a course if you decide to decline the courses you’ve been accepted on to or don’t get offers from any of those courses.
Undergraduate: Someone studying for an undergraduate degree (usually a BA or BSc).
University: The institution where you will most often study for your degree.
Vocational Degree: A degree with a particular hands-on focus, which will often involve spending time practicing in industry.