Applying to university can seem quite daunting, especially if you are unsure of how to apply. The UCAS application system is much simpler than it seems, and as most institutions use the service for their applicants, it is vital you begin to understand how it works.
The best advice that you can listen to is to choose a degree or course in an area you enjoy. Studying the same subject for three or four years will be more enjoyable if it is something you are interested in.
Once you have chosen a course area you would like to study, you will need to find universities that offer the course. When choosing a university, compare the module choices, rankings and local areas which can be found on our city guide page, or use our interactive university map of that UK, to find what university fits you best. When you apply to a university, check the deadline because some institutions may have different dates, or certain courses may need to be submitted sooner and you don’t want to miss it.
Now you know what and where you want to study, you are ready to fill out the UCAS form. The UCAS form is quite straightforward, there are subsections for you to work through and you can ‘save’ the details and mark them as ‘complete’ before moving on to the next section.
The sections include; personal details, references, personal statement and course choices. Remember to link your application with your school or college so a tutor or teacher can add a reference to your application, talk to your career advisor or tutor about this and they can talk you through this part of the process.
The hardest part that students find when filling in the UCAS form is writing a personal statement. The best practice is to write about your achievements and why studying that course is right for you and your desired career path, these hints and tips will all be found in our personal statement editor, which will ensure you to complete a high-quality personal statement. After you have filled out the form you pay the UCAS fee, which is a single payment for one-course choice or full payment for three choices, and then wait for your offers.
There are different types of offers you can receive from universities once you have applied through UCAS.
Conditional Offer: This means you have to meet the conditions or requirements to secure a place on your chosen course. You will have to wait until results day to see what grades you receive.
Unconditional Offer: This is when the university has offered you a place already and you can accept if you want the place.
Withdrawn Application: You or the college/university can withdraw an application. If the institution withdraws it could be because you didn’t respond to emails/correspondence or missed an interview.
Unsuccessful Application: This is when a university doesn’t offer you place. Sometimes they will give you a reason why, if they do not you can contact them yourself and ask if they will discuss it with you.
You can reply once you have received offers from all of your choices. Your firm acceptance is your first choice, this is the university you want to go to. Insurance acceptance is your second choice, in case you don’t meet the requirements for your first choice. You then need to decline the other offers, you can decline all offers and apply via the UCAS Extra or Clearing if you have changed your mind. Once you have made a decision you will have up to 5 weeks to respond. UCAS Track will inform you of the date you have to reply.
Your exam results may determine which university you will be attending. The best thing to do between receiving an offer and results day is to revise for the exams to get the best possible grade you can receive. If you do not get the grades you were hoping to achieve and only had conditional offers, you can go through Clearing to find a course that is available to you instead. If you received higher grades than predicted you can go through Adjustment which allows you look at courses and universities that hold higher requirements.
Now you have responded to your offers and have hopefully secured a place at university, it is time to prepare yourself for the next period in your life. University will be an unforgettable experience whether you decide to live away in student accommodation or to commute from home. It will be a time of precious memories from academic all-nighters, valuable lessons and meeting people from all walks of life. We wish you luck in the next three or four years of the best times of your life.
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