Your UCAS Application – Tips for Success

Going to university is a big decision and you want to be sure you making your application as good as it can be. Follow the steps below whilst you’re adding the final touches to your UCAS application.

1. Have you selected the right course?

  • Seems obvious right? But with over 37,000 courses on offer through the UCAS system, this isn’t always easy. Make sure you’ve done some thorough research, using the CUG Course Chooser as a start.
  • Have a look at what modules you’ll be taking and where courses are likely to take you in the long-term. Even if you’re not thinking that far ahead this will show you’ve engaged in the process, giving you something to refer to in your personal statement. Admissions tutors like to see that potential students are truly interested.  
  • Be realistic! Have you got the GCSE or equivalent grades for the universities and courses you’ve put down and are you going to be able to achieve the A-Levels they’re asking for?

Check out our guide to choosing a course.

Pondering student
© Odua Images

2. Have you considered who’s reading your personal statement?

  • Admissions tutors want to fill their places with good students – interested, sensible and independent individuals. Take a look at your UCAS application and make sure you’ve managed to convey these traits. This may be via extracurricular pursuits or, as mentioned before, showing that you’ve truly engaged in the application process.
  • Remember that admissions tutors live and breathe their subjects. Does your personal statement reflect that level of passion? If not, try to make sure it does. If you haven’t done anything practical that displays a level of interest in the subject you’re applying, read up on the content of the degree and relate your interests to it.

James Seymour, Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment at the University of Gloucestershire, gives his advice for producing a compelling personal statement.

3. Have you got the basics right?

  • Check your spelling and grammar, then do it again, and once more. With so many applications to choose from, admissions tutors may well dismiss yours if it contains misspelt words and basic grammatical errors. They may feel it demonstrates that you won’t be able to perform to university standard in academic work, and if nothing else it’s just lazy.
  • Get it proofread! It’s always useful to get a second or even third opinion. This will help iron out any silly mistakes and loved ones will be able to tell whether you’ve described yourself correctly.

And finally

Are you ready? (2)
© Ivelin Radkov

Try not to leave it till the last minute... Don’t worry if you’ve still not completed your application – focus on what still needs to be done and get your application off to UCAS as soon as you can. Applications received after the 15 January deadline will still be processed by UCAS, but universities do not have to consider them. They can, if they wish, reject you on the grounds that they have already received enough applications. However, if you are applying for one of the less competitive courses, or are applying from outside the EU, you are likely to find that your application is treated just like those that arrived on time.