Another academic year has begun and that means it is time to apply to university (yay?). Not only is the journey of choosing universities and researching difficult, the entire UCAS process can seem really official and scary, so here are some UCAS application tips and advice to help you.
Firstly, a really important piece of advice is just to be honest. If you are applying through UCAS alongside your college or institution, your personal tutor, college advisor or teacher may check your details anyway, so if you put yourself down as Dr. James Roberts then somebody will notice. And that includes predicted grades too! Your teachers will write references for your application, and when the two don’t match up at the other end it will ruin your chances. Be honest from A to Z.
Big yourself up
You can produce a fantastic personal statement for yourself and it is a chance to big yourself up! Universities want to hear about the wonderful things about you and your academic mind, don’t hide behind modesty or a piece of humble pie. You have to shine brighter than hundreds of other students and it is okay to do this!
If you want to study a Media degree, don’t waste paragraphs in your personal statement discussing how you completed Trident Work Experience at your local dentist! Your university, department head and potential teachers want to know why you are perfect for this course and university. In some cases you don’t have to mention anything which is unrelated at all – you can add qualifications and work experience on your general details, but when it comes to your personal statement use this opportunity to explain further why this is so perfect for you.
Does it make sense?
Ask your mum, dad, friend, cousin, work colleague and cat to read through everything. Sometimes when you are writing or planning everything makes sense to you because it was your idea! But if you hand it to someone else they can pick up a few things that would work better with a new pair of eyes.
When you are writing your personal statement, write questions down in a document and answer them in paragraph form and then delete them after. You should be asking yourself things like, ‘Why am I applying for this course?’, ‘Why am I the best suited student?’, ‘Could I stay dedicated for the entirety of the degree?’, ‘What makes me different to everyone else?’. These type of questions are a great start.
When it comes to receiving your offers – after the deadline has closed – remember that each student has submitted their application at a different time, and this means you’ll receive your offer a different time too. Even if you have applied the same moment as your friend, weeks could pass between response from a university. Some universities are still submitting offers onto UCAS Track in May, so sit tight.
Choosing the right course
With over 37,000 courses and 300 institutions, picking the right course is vital to your happiness and academic journey. And the only way to guarantee you make the correct decision is to do the research and you need to do this before you sit down to apply. Compare universities on their courses, facilities, teacher and student ration, and what is around in the local area. All of these factors will affect your student life in different ways.
UCAS Track is when you have applied for university and waiting for responses, offers and information on UCAS Track – before and after your results. If you are unsuccessful on UCAS Track and don’t receive any offers, don’t worry, you have a few more chances to get accepted. If you are unsuccessful before you receive your results, you are able to add a couple more courses/universities as options via UCAS Extra and it should be done before or on June 30th. If you are unsuccessful after results day, you can enter Clearing where you can find an available course to sign up to.
It is important to remember that if you need help with your application then ask for it! Not everybody will be perfect at writing their application or being able to represent themselves in a way that they want to be portrayed. You can ask your teacher, colleague, family, friends and careers advisor for help and guidance – that is what they’re here for! You want to get this right so it sets you up for university, your student life and everything thereafter!
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