So you have made the decision to apply to university. Maybe you still aren't sure about what you want to do and just want to see what's out there, or maybe you know down to the exact moduals you want to take. Either way applying to University is very stressful. Trust me I know from experience. There are so many things to think about; what could I see myself spending three years of my life studying? Where do I want to go? What do I see as being achievable goals for my grades and what the bloody hell is UCAS?
This is 2/2 posts on Universities. I hope it answers some of the questions I wish I had been able to ask when I was applying to Uni earlier this year as I know the season of applications is fast approaching. Unfortunately I can only speak on behalf of the UK's application process to Universities in the UK as that's all I've done.
Firstly the whole application process for University goes through a site called UCAS which processes every applicant's application.
The whole process I roughly split up into a number of stages:
1. Deciding on a subject or subject field you'd like to study.
2. Register on UCAS and begin filling in your details
3. The hardest part- Begin writing your Personal Statement
4. Choose the 5 Universities you want to apply to
5. When all has been checked, and double checked press submit and wait for those offers to start rolling in.
1. What at school really floats your boat? Do you love poetry and reading books or do you love physics and the way the world works? There are so many courses out there there is something for everyone. Some courses allow you to combine even the most unlikely subjects so really have a good think about what you consider spending three years of your life and spending thousands of pounds doing .
2. You've decided and you are going to study History and Politics because you have a real interest to further your knowledge in both of those areas. Now you need to register on UCAS, if you don't do this then you can't apply to University so its fair to say its a very important step. One of the major parts of your application process is to fill in your personal details. This step takes a while but it is important that everything is correct. If you're unsure you are filling in something correctly, speak to a teacher or someone who deals with University/Higher Education and careers at your college.
3. This step is by far the hardest part. A good personal statement will help you get a place at your first choice University. But a great personal statement could save you if you miss the grades at your first choice. This is your chance to really sell yourself- not boast, but highlight why you out of all the thousands of applicants are the most suitable for this course. What work experience do you have which you can link to your course? What has been your favorite part of your college syllabus and link it to your degree course. What further reading have you done around your subject? I think I may do a post just on writing your personal statement because there is so much I could say!
4. Where do you want to go? It's a hard decision to make but you are able to apply for 5 courses. I would say take a long, hard look at the grades you are expected to achieve. It is good to have aspirations but don't be delusional. It makes no sense to apply to Cambridge if you are expected to get CCC. Its harsh but true and ultimately just leads to a wasted application and disappointment for you. What I will say though is DO NOT base your choices on League Tables. League tables can be misleading, make sure you are doing to exact course you want before looking at the Uni. Think about it, yes it sounds great if you can say you are going to one of the top 3 universities for your subject but if you hate the course it is just not worth it.
5. When you have completely filled in all your personal details on UCAS, you have written a kick-ass personal statement and you have chosen 5 Uni courses your are really excited by it is time to press submit and let the Universities do the hard work.
When I applied to Uni I was one of the first people in my year to receive all 5 of my offers purely because my application was in so early. I truly believe that getting your application in early, with a good personal statement is really key.