UCAS Applications: Do These Things Before You Submit

Amy studied at the University of Bristol and is our revision blog guru. She only graduated recently so understands the pressures of being a student better than most, and is here to share her wisdom so that you revise effectively, smash your exams, succeed at school and write cracking university and job applications.

As any A-Level students applying to university are probably aware, the UCAS deadline for applications is in on 15th January 2020.

So since A-Level past papers, mock exams, coursework and personal statements are likely occupying your thoughts at this time, we thought it would be a good idea to remind you of all the things you need to do before you apply, so that you’re super prepared and ready to submit well ahead of the deadline.

Don’t forget: you can log into UCAS and fill out your application in dribs and drabs, and then save your progress. It’s quite a lengthy form, so we’d recommend getting started and filling in the bits you already know (like personal details, education and employment history) right away!

1. Is this definitely your deadline?

Most undergraduate courses need to be applied to by 15th January, however a few courses don’t need applications until March. Go to each university’s website to double check when the deadlines are for the courses you’re applying to. You don’t want to rush your application if you’ve still got more time!

2. Proof-read your personal statement again, and again… and again

When it comes to your personal statement (which is the only thing admissions tutors can get to know you by), it’s essential that it’s as close to perfect as it can be. Read it again, and again, and again to check for spelling or grammatical errors, clarity of expression, and character count, before you submit it. You want to make sure it says exactly what you want it to say, and that you’re saying it in the clearest and most articulate way you can.

We’d also highly recommend getting a teacher and/or family member to read through your statement before you send it off. As an impartial third party, they’ll be able to spot any mistakes you might have overlooked, and will be able to offer constructive changes that might take your statement from strong to outstanding.

For more tips on writing a personal statement, check out this post and this post.

3. Decide who to put down as a reference – and contact them

As part of your UCAS application you need to supply a written reference from a teacher or adviser at school, who knows you academically. Your school may have assigned you a referee already, so you might know who they are. If you’re not sure who your referee is, ask a teacher or your Head of Year as soon as you get back to school.

Make sure you’ve met or contacted them (and even asked them to read through your personal statement) before you submit your application. The better they know you, the easier they’ll find it to write a glowing and accurate reference.

Make sure you’ve got their contact details, as you’ll need to submit these as part of your UCAS application.

4. Have all your previous grades to hand

As part of your application you’ll need to fill in your education history, including all the grades you’ve got in exams from GCSE level onwards. If you can’t quite remember your grades, dig out your results sheets and keep them to hand, ready to fill in when you get to this stage in the form.

5. Finalise your 5 course choices

One of the most important elements of the whole process is, of course, the courses that you’re going to be applying to. You’ve probably spent a lot of time looking by now, and might even have spent some time visiting university open days around the country.

You can choose up to five courses, and at this stage don’t have to rank them in order of preference (this only happens once you’ve got your offers). It’s an important decision, so think carefully about where and what you can see yourself studying, and make sure you’re totally confident and happy with your choices before you submit the form.

Take into account your interests, ambitions, predicted grades, and the advice of teachers and UCAS tutors. It’s not a decision you should take lightly!

Not sure what to study? This blog post will provide some inspiration!

Once you’ve got everything ready to go and the form is filled in, it’s time to submit it! We’d recommend doing this a few days before 15th January if possible – if there’s something you’re not sure about when you come to fill it in, you’ve then got plenty of time to ask a teacher for advice.

It can be nerve-wracking as you hit ‘submit’, but you should also be extremely proud and excited! Writing a personal statement is hard work, and to be in a position to apply to university means you’re excelling academically and have lots to look forward to. As you await your offers, don’t forget to keep working hard in these final few months at school, because hard work is what will get you the grades to get there!

For more tips and resources, join Save My Exams today.

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