Minimum age

Applicants Under 18 Years of Age at Registration

The minimum age to study a degree programme at the university is normally at least 17 years old on the date of registration.  For Medicine, students must be at least 18 years old by the date of their first placement, which is usually within the first half of term 1.  

Students who are at least 16 years of age on admission, may be accepted onto the University’s International Foundation programme or University Entrance Diploma. 

For all students who will be under 18 on the date of registration for their course, the student and their parents or guardians must acknowledge in writing that they accept that the student will be entering an adult environment and that it is assumed that they have the necessary skills to live independently.  The University does not act in loco parentis.

Process for considering applications from students who will be under 18 years of age on the date of registration: 

  1. If an applicant will be under 18 years of age at the start of their chosen course, this will be highlighted during the admissions process.
  2. The Admissions Team or Division/Department will follow the usual admissions process to decide if the University is able to offer the applicant a place. The academic Division/Department will firstly be required to confirm if they wish to proceed with the offer, on the basis that the Division/Department can offer the appropriate support. Approval of an offer may be granted by the relevant Division/Department on an individual basis per application or on a collective basis for each academic year, in writing to the Admissions Team for some/all programmes within their Division, to negate the need for individual approval. If an offer can be made, the Admissions Team will add the necessary parental/guardian consent as a condition of offer.
  3. The applicant and their parent/guardian will be required to sign a consent form, accepting that the student will be studying in an adult environment, that the University will not act in loco parentis and confirming the details of a guardian in the UK.
  4. On receipt of the signed consent form, the Admissions Team will pass the application to the Senior Admissions Manager for approval. If approval is granted, the parental/guardian consent form condition of offer will be processed as ‘complete’ by the Admissions Team. 
    • Where more than one copy of the form has been submitted, the parent/guardian signature must match across any all copies.
  5. The Director of Student Services will liaise with the Student Welfare Team to contact all U18 students at the start of the academic year to ensure that they are aware of the university regulations and any restrictions placed upon them as a result of their age. The Accommodation Office and Division Student Success and Attainment Managers and Engagement Support Managers will have access to reports regarding U18 students relevant to their area.
  6. The Accommodation Office will ensure that priority is given to meeting the accommodation requests of students who are U18.
  7. A Student Welfare Officer will make contact with all U18 students at the start of term to ensure that they are supported in settling into University life, to signpost to specialist services, if required, and to address any early concerns.
  8. Divisions that enrol students who are under 18 before the commencement of the degree programme must ensure that the following measures are in place:
    1. One or more member of academic staff per School or subject area should be nominated to act as the Academic Adviser for all students who are under 18 and this information provided to the Director of Student Services.
    2. A nominated Academic Adviser should also ensure that, as is expected of all staff, their knowledge of the University’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedure is up to date.
    3. The Academic Adviser should arrange an early initial meeting with the student (s) and should follow this up with regular individual meetings, no less than twice a term, in order to establish substantial contact over and above the contact such a student might have with other members of staff in the Division/Department. Once a student turns 18, they should be treated no differently to any other student in their cohort in relation to frequency of meetings and/or other follow-ups.
  9. Students who are under 18 at registration will have ‘Under 18’ printed on their ID cards. This can be exchanged for a new ID card without this wording on their 18th birthday, without charge.

Guidance notes for parents and guardians

The University of Kent is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all its students but has particular responsibilities in relation to those who are under 18 years of age on entry. Such students are regarded as children under UK law. We therefore ask that you consider the following points before deciding whether to proceed with your young person’s application to the University:     

  1. The University cannot assume parental responsibility for a student under the age of 18. Students and their families should bear in mind that the University of Kent is an adult environment. Students are expected to behave like adults and to assume adult levels of responsibility. Students are expected to have the necessary skills to study and live independently alongside people from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. Places are offered at Kent on the understanding that the student will be able to adapt to living away and deal with the practicalities this will involve.
  2. The University will allocate an academic adviser who has responsibility for younger students but will otherwise expect those under 18 to behave in the same way as adult students. On reaching the age of 18 these arrangements will cease and the student will be expected to relate to the University as an adult.
  3. If parents/guardians have any concerns about their young person’s participation in any University activity, they must contact the University to discuss this before any offer is accepted. If this would, in the University's reasonable opinion, have a significant detrimental effect on the student's experience or their ability to meet the requirements of the course, the University reserves the right to amend an offer so as to admit the student only once they reach 18.
  4. As a general rule, those under the age of 18 are unable to enter into contracts. Where these are required, for tuition fees or accommodation for example, the University requires parents/guardians to act as guarantors. This means that parents must pay any sums agreed under a contract if the student fails to do so. Failure to pay debts due to the University could result in the student's enrolment at the University being suspended.
  5. Although those under 18 are regarded as children under the law, they still have the right under the Data Protection Act for information about them not to be disclosed without their consent. This means that the University is not able to give information to parents regarding the student's progress, results or any other personal circumstance unless the student has given their written consent.
  6. University accommodation on the Canterbury campus is not staffed out of hours.  Campus Security can be contacted 24/7 and we have a University Nursing Service on campus 24/7 during term-time.
  7. Students under the age of 18 will not be able to purchase alcohol and may not drink alcohol on university premises. All students are subject to random checks in relation to their age when using licensed University facilities.
  8. Students under the age of 18 will not be able to hold office in University or Students' Union clubs and societies and their participation in certain activities may be limited.
  9. Where parents are not resident in the UK, it will be necessary to appoint a UK-based guardian for a student who will be under 18 on at the point of registration. The University requires the contact details for this person and must be sure that they have agreed to act in this capacity. Being a guardian involves carrying out the tasks and responsibilities of the parent as delegated by the student’s parents. As such it is a private arrangement between the parent and the guardian. The University is not able to assist parents in finding a suitable guardian but, for those families who do not have friends or relatives in the UK, a list of accredited agencies can be obtained from The Association of Educational Guardians for International Students (AEGIS) Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1453 821293 Email: 

If you have any query about this policy, please contact the Head of Admissions. 

The University will continue to keep this policy under review to reflect any changes to  changes to national legislation and/or sector norms. 

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