Starting university might feel a million miles away, but that all important January 15 UCAS deadline will creep up on you. However late you’ve left it, you still have right up to the deadline to create a great application before pressing ‘submit’. Take a look at our Top 5 tips on how to make sure you get the best possible application finished before the deadline to put you one step closer to securing a place at your first-choice university.
1. Your personal statement
In theory, personal statements seem quite straight forward. Just write a few paragraphs about how wonderful you are and your first choice will fall over themselves to give you a place. In practice, this isn’t the case, so you need to make sure your personal statement stands out.
- Don’t let running short on time leave you with a sub-standard end product; be sure to re-read and re-edit your statement until you’re 100% happy with it.
- Hand it around to get feedback from your friends, family and teachers, but don’t give them too much control.
- Remember it’s you that’s looking for a spot at your top choice, not them.
- You could also have a look at our tips for writing your personal statement.
2. References for UCAS applications
That teacher you’ve been avoiding these past few weeks, you may need to pay them a quick visit, because your references are just as important to your application as the parts you complete. Just remember that they need time too! Don’t pester or rush your teachers just because of your bad planning. You want them to write something positive about you, not about your lack of time management skills.
3. Take time to check
After you’ve sent your application over to your College or Sixth Form, it’s easy to assume your application is complete. Be careful though, because this might not be the case.
- Make sure you leave enough time for final adjustments.
- Spelling mistakes, incorrect grades, and poor grammar might be flagged by your school for you to amend.
- Build in some time for corrections to be made – you will avoid that last-minute panic and calmly make the deadline.
4. Money, money, money
Money: the subject we all love to hate. Don’t forget that your UCAS application will need to be paid for.
UCAS charge an application fee. If you’re applying alone this can be paid online, or your school or college may ask for your payment so they can supply UCAS with one lump sum. However you chose to pay, make sure you factor the cash into your budget; you don’t want to miss your deadline over the cost of a meal out with your mates!
5. Technology glitch
When deadlines loom, it’s easy to forget that technology isn’t always on your side. With thousands of students all cramming to get their applications sent over to meet the same deadline, the worst could happen – internet issues.
- Make sure you allow yourself time for eventualities such as this.
- Submit your application in advance of the deadline, or send it over in a place that you know has a stable internet connection.
- Do anything you can to prevent you from staring blankly at a loading screen with ten minutes to go before the cutoff point.
The whole application process can seem intimidating. Ideally you’ll be prepared well in advance and avoid that last-minute rush. But if not, try not to panic. It will all come together if you follow the advice above. It’s probably just a case of sitting down and getting stuck in. UCAS have produced this handy checklist so you can double check you haven't missed anything. Once it’s submitted, reward yourself – after all, you’ve made the next step on the path to an exciting new adventure.