Each student is literally, up against thousands of others for a spot at university, and as tuition fees have gone up and the competition has become harder, having a great application can be what makes you different from the rest.
Firstly, your personal statement needs to be awesome, and we mean the best work you have ever done. It doesn’t need to be brutally honest, but the best piece of writing that offers you up on a plate for your university choices. Universities want to get to know you, and want you to put your personality in the statement – and this is your opportunity to do that. Teachers, advisers and personal tutors at your college or sixth form can help you with the basics of your personal statement; like what you should and shouldn’t include, but the overall tone needs to have a spice of you all over it! Universities don’t want a UCAS ID walking the grounds of their campus, they want a person, an individual.
There is a chance to submit references on your UCAS application, and you should try to include at least one whether you’re applying through your college/sixth form or independently. References are evidence backing up your information and help universities see you from varying perspectives. Having teacher references is a great advantage because it is somebody who has taught, spoken and worked with you throughout your journey thus far, and is one educator speaking to another. Your university choices will respect your teacher’s thoughts and impressions that they have mentioned about you. A good tip to remember is to ask the teacher’s that you really get on with, or have learnt a lot from the last couple of years to write a reference – because it’ll be a good experience when you read it back to yourself too. Make sure you know when the UCAS deadline is because you may need to get some references earlier than others, especially if you are applying to Oxbridge, which have earlier application deadlines than other universities.
Universities LOVE experience – trust us, it is one of their favourite things! If you have experience – it can be working, volunteering or any work/research you conducted during your studying – write it all down because it is going to push you in the right direction. Having experience shows that you have tested it out before so you have a more validated decision; you’re choosing this course because you know you want to do it, not just because you like the sound of it. If you are worried that you don’t have the ‘right’ experience, don’t panic! Everybody has some experience that they can draw from to help their application, and unless specified in the course prospectus, any experience will aid your profile.
Keep it Relevant
You don’t need to talk about everything! There are some things that you don’t have to share with the university, or mention at all! By keeping everything relevant to the course you want to study, what you have previously studied and why you want to go to university, then you’re addressing the most significant points in your application. If you go off topic during your personal statement, delete that whole section and start again, or try to make it connect to any of the points above. It’s always best to have less of the right stuff than too much of the wrong stuff!
Keep your application personal, because it’s all about you! Celebrate your achievements, explain your weaknesses and make sure that it reeks with your personality the entire way through. That way, whatever your offers are, you’ll feel confident in knowing that you did the best in all sections of your UCAS application. You want to show off your best assets to the university, and when they see them they might not be able to turn you down!