Applying to uni: not-so-simple guide

As you move up to sixth form, you have to think about the future, such as universities or other options like direct employments or apprenticeship. Regardless of what you choose, it is always good to be prepared and well-informed. Today, I give you “Applying to uni: not-so-simple guide”, i.e. the fundamental parts of uni admission in the UK. 

First you need to know what UCAS is. UCAS is a central system where everyone who wishes to study in universities and conservatoires in the UK apply through. At the end of year 12, you will create your own UCAS account and given buzzword which allows school to look over your application. The admission cycle usually begins in early September.  There are 2 deadlines: 15th October for applications to courses in Oxbridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine and 26th January for all other applications. You need to make sure you apply before the deadlines to prevent any unfortunate case where you have to make late application which won’t impress admission officers too much. 

Before the start of the admission cycle, it is always good to think about what you want to study in unis and careers you would like to pursue. This can be daunting for some but there are useful websites and links to see what your interests are and type of career that may be suitable for your interests and characteristics e.g. Kudos Cascaid

If you chose what you would like to study, you have to start looking for which universities and courses you want to apply to. Where to apply to is totally up to individual wishes: accommodations, cost of living, the quality of teaching, student satisfaction and etc. You can use UCAS for comparison but personally, I preferred using websites such as Whatuni or Unicompare. You can choose up to 5 courses of your choice. If you are applying to medicine, veterinary medicine or dentistry, you can apply up to 4 medical and dental courses and 1 non-medical or non-dental course. For those wanting to apply to Oxbridge, you can only apply to either Cambridge or Oxford, not both.

Now comes the eternal nemesis for applicants: personal statement. My first, and foremost advice is to start early. Summer holidays can be a good time to start. It is so much better to start early and make loads of corrections rather than hoping that you will create a perfect personal statement on your first draft two hours before the deadline. Also, make sure your personal statement does not go over 4000 characters or 47 lines, whichever comes first. There are many guides for how to write good personal statements so I will include them at the end of article, as going through every single points isn’t viable. 

Next thing you will have to do is filling in all personal informations. This can be quite dull but I can assure you, it is one of the simplest steps on your admission journey. Make sure all informations are accurate and up-to-date and you haven’t misspelt words. 

Once you have uploaded your personal statement and filled in your personal information, you have to pay the application fees and then your task is done. Teachers will enter references and give you predicted grades and sent it off to UCAS.

Congratulations! Your UCAS is done! Now, depending on courses and universities you applied to, you may need to attend auditions or interviews. UCAS will send you an email regarding any updates on your applications so until then, you can focus on your big A-level exams in the summer.

Jay, Y13

As promised, for advice on personal statement: