As the new year approaches, many of you will be preparing your university applications for courses starting in 2023. With many courses closing their applications on 25 January 2023, and the remainder closing on 30th June 2023, we spoke with our Director for Higher Education, Robin Cousins, for his top 5 tips on producing a successful university application.
Create a long list of universities.
This first step is very important. To make the best choice of university (5 choices on a UCAS application) you must eliminate all options. For example, if you want to study in London, there are 22 universities, add them all to your list, do your research and eliminate those that are not suitable.
The hardest choice of university is the realistic choice.
It is easy to choose top universities. They are highly ranked, market themselves very well and are in attractive locations. However, they are very competitive. Therefore, you should have 2 or 3 of this type of university. I tell my students “You must invest time in researching your safe choice”. “Would you be happy to study there?”. Do not put any choice on your UCAS application that you are not prepared to go to, it is a waste of a choice.
Go to a university open day.
It is very important that you visit at least 2 or 3 of your university choices. Open days at universities are very regular and are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When you create a list of universities, this is often achieved with logic. You decide on location, grades, tuition fees, ranking. When you walk through the doors of a university, you develop an emotional connection with the institution. This connection will tell you whether you can see yourself studying there for three years or more. This is very important to guide your choices and develop motivation to achieve the best grades possible.
Focus on WHY in your personal statement.
The personal statement, particularly for international students, is the best opportunity to demonstrate your motivation to study at university. But, I am always asking my students to focus on WHY they want to study their subject, what are the personal reasons? Universities do not want to hear about what a subject is, or how it works, they know this. In a personal statement, they want to know your story. Your reasons should be personal, motivated and detailed!
The bottom line is achievement and final grades (including English).
UK university entry is all based on levels of achievement. UK universities are academic institutions; therefore, they are looking for students with the entry grades they require. So, whether you are studying A Level, International Baccalaureate, or the University Foundation Programme, you will need to achieve the grades offered by your chosen university. Excellent achievement = an excellent university.