UCAS application to-do list

As the UCAS deadline is drawing closer students should overlook their application to ensure it is in the best condition before submitting. Although most students feel prepared and confident with their application there are still some points to consider before sending of their information.

Considering your decision

University is a big step for most students and students should ensure that their decision on what courses and universities to study is vital for guaranteeing a successful student lifestyle. We all have different strengths, which feature things that we are good at and enjoy doing. When students understand what they are good at it becomes easier to narrow down what subjects and courses to consider at university.

How much it is going to cost you

University costs are very high and these costs are made up of tuition fees, living and utility bills costs which include rent, bills, personal accounts, food and money set aside for leisure activities. Although the Student Loans Company offer student loans to aid students with their tuition and living costs, students may have to work a part-time job to help with their finances. University costs also include non-financial areas, such as friends, family, relationships and happiness. Students need to think about whether moving away to an institution far away will make them happy and able to sustain their relationships prior undergraduate study.

Attending an open day

Students hopefully would have had an opportunity to visit universities before applying through UCAS. Attending an open day will give students a proper ‘feel’ for what it will be like to study there, and give an idea of what the halls of residence, library and local area has to offer.

Is university for you?

This is the big question that many students face, and with attending university being more popular and accessible than previous generations it may feel as if you ‘have’ or ‘should’ study a degree. Although there are many advantages to obtaining a degree – and for some job or career prospects it is an essential qualification – it isn’t suitable for everyone. Students can research other opportunities such as apprenticeships, trainee schemes, vocational courses at college and internships.

Aim for five

UCAS allows students to make five initial choices and you should make the most out of this. If students are not fully confident in them receiving their predicted grades for their choices, apply to universities or courses with varied entry requirements to ensure you have a safety net.

Have a back-up plan

Students who have a back-up plan are fully prepared for all scenarios which can appear. Other options include taking a gap year, a vocational course, travelling, gaining work experience and apprenticeships.

You don’t have to do it fully

Education takes up the majority of a young person’s life and although you may be excited to begin the next academic chapter of your life it is still acceptable to study part-time or in the evenings to take a break from full-time study. Studying a degree part-time will not lower the value or worth of your degree.

Thinking about the future

Students can be worried about their job prospects or what they’re going to do after graduation. This anxiety is normal and those who think realistically about their prospects in their chosen field will be more successful at obtaining a job after getting a degree. If students attend an open day they can ask the university or previous and current students what career or job sectors they moved on to.

Sell yourself

Your application needs to have ‘you’ all over it. It can be difficult to ‘sell yourself’ but once you get the hang of it, it will become easier. If students are struggling they can talk to their friends, family and teachers for advice and what they believe to be your best assets. Remember to keep your strengths relevant to the course to inform the institution as to why you are perfect, and why you deserve to be accepted.

Show your findings

Just like that tough maths question, students should show their findings by writing about the knowledge they know about their course and express their passion for the subject. It is crucial to explain that you have considered life beyond university and why you want to take up this career – universities want to know about this and that you are dedicated.

Mention your best bits

Students need to remember to describe the range of skills that they have developed both inside and outside of the learning environment. Mention projects, or volunteering activities that you have taken part in during school or college. You can demonstrate how these activities have developed your strengths and skills, and given you confidence and communications skills as well as the ability to analyse and research.

Talk about your experiences

Universities want to hear about the work experience you conducted at school, through volunteering or other institutions that are relevant and helpful to your degree. These experiences show promise as well as dedication to your chosen subject area and are vital that they are included. If your preferred degree course requires specialised experience then ensure to talk about it in your personal statement.

Check, check and check again

The last tip is to check through your entire application and through each section. Ask your friends, family, teachers and tutors to go through it too. Some universities won’t take applications seriously if there is spelling or grammar mistakes regardless of how good the content actually is.