Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Your UCAS Application... Top Tips

If you’re reading this blog then you’ve hopefully made the decision that university is right for you, and that’s the hard part over!  It’s now time for what fills the majority of potential students with dread (drumroll…) the UCAS application form!  But don’t panic, it really is simpler than you may think…

Top tips

To get to this point, it’s likely you will have spent lots of time getting to know all about your university choices, so now it’s our turn to return the favour.  The only problem is there are far more of you budding future scholars than there are of us… so here’s some tips to help you stand out from the crowd!
First and foremost, you might like to read our guide to Your Application that gives you a step-by-step guide of how to get started.

The UCAS form is extremely simple and consists of 5 straight forward sections for you to complete:
  1. Personal Details
  2. Course Choice
  3. Education
  4. Employment 
  5. Personal Statement

Sections 1, 3, and 4

These are pretty self-explanatory, so just make sure the information you give is up-to-date and spelt correctly. It’s particularly important that your personal details are current; we wouldn’t want to be sending out your offers to ‘nosey Norman’ two doors down!

Section 2

This part is slightly more complex, and a good tip is to have the course information already written down when filling out your form.  Each university has a different code (e.g. University of Chester is C55), and some even have different codes for campuses within one university.  

You will be asked to enter this information for all 5 of your choices, as well as the course code for the course you are hoping to study.

At this point you do not need to order your choices in terms of preference, your form will be sent to each institution separately and you will receive an offer decision from each of them.  Do Remember to stagger your choices in terms of entry requirements.  It’s important to aim high, but if your grades aren’t quite what you hoped for (don’t panic!) then picking a couple with lower entry requirements will mean that you still have options.

Section 5

This is your opportunity to tell us in your own words why you are suitable for the course you hope to study, and you have 47 lines of text to effectively ‘advertise’ yourself to admissions staff. 

Don’t be shy because modesty won’t get you anywhere here.  Shout your achievements from the rooftops, because if you don’t tell us then we won’t know!

So what needs to be included?

Firstly, we want to know why you are applying for your chosen course, and we want to see enthusiasm and passion for your subject.  So why do you love it?  Where did your inspiration come from?  And what do you hope to achieve?

Secondly, we want to know why you’re a perfect candidate for the course, so you need to tell us about the skills and experience you have which will help you succeed at university. The strongest applications come from those who can link their extra-curricular activities to their proposed course of study, so for everything you mention in your statement, try to think of what skills it has given you, and how this could benefit you at university. 

Although you may think that playing ‘ultimate frisbee’ has no relevance to your application to study Law, that’s where you’re wrong! It In fact, it shows you can work as part of a team, communicate effectively with others, and manage your time effectively between your hobbies and your studies… tah dah!! 

Still unsure? 

Well don’t worry there is plenty of advice out there to help you with your application and your personal statement.  Why not try looking at the UCAS website where you can find ‘how to video’s’ as well as ‘key points to include’, and some common ‘do’s and don’ts’.  

Good luck with your application! 

Just to recap

Step 1: Do your research and have your chosen course and institution codes written down.

Step 2: Fill in sections 1-4 on your online UCAS form.

Step 3: Type your personal statement into Microsoft Word, and then copy and paste it into section 5 of your form. 

Step 4: Double check each section to make sure there are no mistakes, and then press the dreaded send button (no going back now!)

Step 5: Sit back and let your offers roll in!

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