Before sending your application off, there are two 'Golden Rules' to consider. These may seem like common sense, but it is surprising how many people forget them when applying to study for their degree. The rules are simple, but they will have a significant impact upon how an admissions tutor views your application!
Golden Rule 1: Fill in your form as early as possible
According to The University of Southampton "Although we try to consider good applications received at any date, late submission is not a good idea [...] Aim to get your application in well before the UCAS deadline."
While Universities garauntee to consider your application if it is sent within the UCAS deadline, the reality is that there is only a finite amount of places on any given course. If your form arrives late it will not only demonstrate a lack of enthusiasm about the course, but will also mean that you are competing with other applicants for fewer places.
Golden Rule 2: Do Your Research
There's a whole range of information available to students in the process of deciding where to study (we should know - most of it is on Whatuni) so you've no excuse for not doing your research thoroughly!
It is important that you study on a course that interests you, but you should also check that you have adequate experience and predicted grades before submitting your application. You can only apply to a maximum of 5 establishments, so send your UCAS forms to Universities where you are likely to meet the entry criteria.
Compile a list of your UCAS choices and make sure you fill in the form correctly – you'd be surprised how often people make mistakes.
Before you fill in your UCAS form, you should have conducted a lot of research as to where you want to study and which degree programmes you wish to apply for. Hopefully you've attended numerous University Open Days and had a look at courses on Whatuni so you can make an informed decision as to which degree will be most suitable.
It is surprising how many different subject combinations are available to study, so if you're choosing between two favourite academic disciplines then why not use the Whatuni search box to see if there are any undergraduate courses that allow you to study both? (Just type two subjects into the search box and you're good to go).
One of the great things about the UCAS process is that making your application is pretty simple once you've made the decision regarding where to apply. The UCAS form consists of 6 different sections:
1) Personal Details
The Personal Details section of your UCAS form will include your name, address, email address and your mobile number. It is important to remember that the University Admissions Tutor will see these details, so try and avoid using a cheeky or naughty email address!
You should also make sure that your name matches how it appears on your exam entries and certificates to avoid any mix-ups. This is particularly the case for those with multiple middle names or those who go by a shortened nickname!
2) UCAS Choices
In general you will be allowed a maximum of 5 UCAS choices. However, if you are wishing to study dentistry, medicine or veterinary science, then you will only be allowed 4 choices. If you are wishing to apply to an Oxbridge University, it is also worth noting that you can only apply to either Oxford OR Cambridge.
Before you submit your form, you should check that you meet the entry requirements for each course. You should not only have adequate grades, but also have studied the right combinations of qualifications. If you have any questions about the entry requirements, then it is always best to contact the university (as opposed to UCAS), as they will have members of staff who will be able deal with your specific query.
There will be a section of the UCAS form specifically for your educational details. When filling this out, you should include your GCSEs and AS level results. For your A-level subjects you should put 'pending' in the results box and for BTEC and GNVQ subjects you should choose 'other qualification type not on this list'.
You should make sure that you include all of your GCSE and AS level subjects, not just your A*- C grades. Universities will not look favourably upon the omission of poorer results. You should also avoid causing a delay by double checking that you have provided the correct details before submitting.
Some courses such as Law and Medicine will require applicants to study for specialist tests such as the LNAT or BNAT. If this is the case, you should put your results in the Specialised Entrance Tests section of the form.
If you have worked in any paid jobs during or before your A-level studies, then you should provide this information in the Employment section of the form. If you have work experience, this should only be mentioned in your UCAS personal statement.
5) UCAS Personal Statement
This is the section that allows to you produce a statement supporting your application to the course, and should outline why you want to study your chosen subject.
If you’re currently in the process of applying to UCAS then you might want to check out our Personal Statement Handy Hints.
6) References and Submission
Once you've finished the first five sections, you will be expected to submit your application form. The UCAS fee for one choice is £7, and it's £17 for two choices or more.
When you click pay/send, the form will then be forwarded to your referee (who should be a tutor at your sixth form). UCAS will not receive your form until your reference section has been completed, so if your tutor is being a little slow, don't be afraid to chase them up!It is not compulsory for your school to show you a copy of your reference, although most establishments will allow you to view a copy. If they don't, you can purchase a copy (£10) from UCAS once it has been sent in. Your tutors cannot mention any medical health conditions in your reference unless you give them express permission to do so.
One of the great things about a UCAS application is that the form is easy to fill in and it doesn’t need to be completed straight away. You can start your application, save it and then make amendments at a later date. You can also change your course choices if you change your mind at the very last minute!
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