January is not far away and the deadline for applications for most universities is 15th January. Oxford, Cambridge and most medical courses have already passed their deadline (in October). If you’re planning to apply to start university in September 2019 you’ll need to be prepared.
What do you need to do?
Decide which universities you want to apply to. For most students aim for five.
Register on the UCAS website and complete the form. It doesn’t matter which order you put your university choices as there is no weighting system and the universities won’t see who else you’ve applied to.
You’ll need to add a personal statement. This should outline why you want to enrol for this particular course, what you’re good at, any work experience you’ve had (it doesn’t have to be relevant to your future career plans, volunteering experience is good to include). Make sure you read the university’s admissions statement to find out what they’re actually looking for.
You’ll also need a reference from a teacher or someone who qualifies as a professional. If you’ve done work experience for more than a week or two, that might be an employer.
Pay the application fee. Currently one course costs £18. If you’re applying for more than one it’s £24 – so you don’t need to pay £18 for each university. It’s wise to apply to more than one university, just in case your number one choice doesn’t accept you. Even if you’ve found THE perfect course, always have a plan B (and possibly C and D).
What happens next?
You can track your application online and you’ll receive email updates when any of your chosen universities respond.
If you already meet the entry requirements, you could get an unconditional offer. However, for most students with A levels still to sit, you usually receive a conditional offer of a place, providing you get certain grades.
Sometimes you may be asked to attend an interview, before an offer is made. This is a good way to find out more about each other. Remember that an interview is a two-way street – it’s not just the university deciding if you’re up to scratch, it’s also an opportunity for you to find out more about them too.
If you don’t get offers from any of your choices, you can apply to more universities.
Once you’ve received responses from your chosen universities, it’s time to choose your number one choice and, if it’s a conditional offer based on specific grades, you may want to also choose a back up second option.
You’ll then need to respond to all the offers, accepting your first two choices and thanking, but refusing the others.
If your exam results fall short of the conditions, you can apply for other universities using Clearing later in the year.
What else is important?
Get your head down and study so you meet those all-important exam grades!