17th November 2016
At this time of year, as people are pre-occupied with Bonfire Night and the onset of Christmas shopping, sixth form students are busy applying to universities for their degree courses. Going to university in the UK, unlike many other countries, is not just a matter of saying where you would like to go and filling in a form. UK universities are competitive for entry and it is important to ensure that you do your homework carefully, that you meet the application deadlines, be aware that the online application form is fully completed and the Personal Statement is carefully written.
Getting the application right is crucial and although it might seem that it is all something of a minefield, do not give up. The process is quite logical and if you listen to the advice offered by others, do your own research and are realistic about your choices and work hard to achieve your offers, you have every chance of getting a place at university.
Basically all year 13 students have to think about three questions...
Bear in mind that you are not limited to your current subjects. There are plenty of courses that you may have never thought about as well and it is also possible to combine subjects. If you are thinking about a course that is completely new to you should try and gain experience before you apply, either by attending a ‘taster’ course or gaining some work experience in a vocational, e.g. Law or Architecture.
Once you have decided what it is you want to study the next job is to decide which the best course is for you. You can get a lot of help by going to the UCAS web site www.ucas.com/coursesearch. You then need to go to the web sites of the universities you would like to apply to. Courses do vary and you might find Psychology at Manchester is very different from University College, London. Get a copy of the ‘Sunday Times Good University Guide’ and find out about accommodation, teaching quality and a great deal more.
Once you got your wish list together you now need to be very realistic is assessing you chances of getting an offer. All degree courses state their entry requirements, e.g. 37 IB points, or A Level grades A*AB. Find out what your school is going to predict for you in its reference and if the school cannot predict the grades you need do not apply to for that degree course. You should also check to see if your GCSE grades match those required for your chosen university degree course and you would be wise to make sure that you have a range of applications for your five choices, with a ‘safety net’ should things go wrong on exam day.
Once you have completed your UCAS application it is sent to your chosen universities and do not forget that if they make you an offer this is conditional. In other words you need to achieve the grades they require to gain admission.
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