10 tips to get you ready for the university application deadline this weekend
Tuesday 10 January 2017
The 15 January UCAS deadline is fast approaching with hundreds of thousands of prospective students trying to secure a place on higher education courses.
Simon Jones, Deputy Director of UK admissions at Coventry University has shared his top 10 tips to help you make a big impact with your application.
Do your research – even in these last few days, make sure you know what you want to apply for and tailor your application accordingly. Can’t seem to choose between subjects? Thing about the bigger picture. What do you enjoy studying? What sort of university do you see yourself in? What are your career plans? While some careers require a very specific degree, others will be much more flexible. Options such as joint-honours could be the way to go if you still aren’t decided.
Remember it’s a Sunday deadline, so make sure your references are sorted by Friday - especially if your application will be sent via your school or college once your reference has been added. If you do have the weekend to make any additions or changes try to get everything done by the weekend so you leave yourself time to check it through and make any vital last minute additions or changes.
Make your application different. It’s tricky, but try to avoid clichéd phrases and the same opening lines which admissions tutors will have read hundreds of times before. UCAS has revealed its most frequently-used opening lines. Avoid them if you can, think differently and be yourself because a university will want to know about your personality and motivations, not just your qualifications.
Do you need a portfolio? Check what requirements the courses you’re applying for have. Will you need to submit a portfolio, or attend an interview? Be prepared now before you send anything off not knowing what is expected of you.
Personal statement – don’t forget to check and double check this before anything is sent off. With a Sunday deadline, it might be too late to go back to teachers or tutors for help. So remember, preparation is key even if you have some things to finish off last minute. Use examples, be honest, make sure what you say reflects you and your commitment to study your chosen subject. Don’t forget to back up all of your points with great examples to show how your skills have helped you.
Relate your application to course requirements. It’s not just about what qualifications you have, it’s about how you fit the course and how it is suited to you. Show you’re a great match and how much you can get out of the opportunities studying will bring. Plus knowing what you’re getting in to will show you are serious about what you’re applying for and that you’ve taken the time to do your research.
Think about work experience. Don’t focus only on academic skills because admissions tutors want to see evidence of the person outside the classroom. Work experience, part time jobs, apprenticeships and volunteering you might have done will all boost your application and show off your talents.
Open days and drop in sessions are a great way to get all the information before you have to make any firm decisions. You may no have time to visit too many universities before Sunday’s deadline but there’s still time to get online or to at least one if the places you’re considering spending the next three years. At Coventry we now have virtual tours on our website that take you right inside the university. Can you join a sports team, or play in a band? What about shopping and cinemas? The more you know the easier that final decision will be.
Proof read and check your spelling. First impressions count. Go through every page then get a second and third read-through of your personal statement from friends or parents to pick up on details you might have missed or any typos.
Use all five of your choices. Don’t limit yourself to one or two universities at this stage, especially if you’re not completely decided on what course is right for you. There’s no harm in having options if you change your mind or come out with different grades in the summer, and remember you can fill these gaps once your application is in, so keep thinking about where could be right for you.