By FAB Futures

If you are thinking about applying to university now is the time for action! Although this can seem like a big step there are a few simple rules to think about to help you on your way.

Your application should now be well underway on the UCAS system if you are in the second year of a level 3 course. If you are starting out on a level 3 course, there is excellent planning information in this blog. Our Careers team come into your lessons to help you to understand the UCAS process and how to complete the application form. The curriculum teams also spend time talking to you about drafting your personal statement which you will finalise and polish up in September of your second year, ready to submit. If you feel you are behind in the process or need some more advice and support, please call into any FAB Futures Centre and make an appointment with a Careers Coach. There is more advice below about your personal statement and lots of tools to help you complete it.

1. Choosing what you want to study

Researching your options now will help to ensure that you make the right decisions. You should be thinking about the type of subject you want to study, what modules are covered in your chosen area, how the course will be taught and assessed and what entry requirements are needed. You may also want to look at whether courses offer any work experience as this can be valuable for when you are searching for jobs and don’t forget to check out what types of employment graduates go into.

2. Think about where you want to study

Once you’ve started to find courses that interest you, you can start to consider location and universities. Start to ask yourself questions such as whether you want to study locally or move away from home, how much does it cost to live in the area and what type of environment do you want such as a campus or city? The UCAS website will provide you with a full list of universities offering your chosen course

It can be really useful to visit Open Days to get a feel of the university. You will be able to explore the campus and surrounding town or city as well as being able to view accommodation and look at teaching facilities. It can also be useful to speak to current students. A good resource is The Student Room Forum where you can chat to students about both academic study and the social aspects of the university

3. Make sure you know all the deadlines and key dates

Get those key dates in your diary so you don’t miss them. For most undergraduate courses starting in 2023 you will need to get your application in by 6pm on 25th January 2023. However, we expect everybody to have their application submitted by the College internal deadline of 18th November as your completed application initially comes to the Career Coaches to be checked and a reference added before being sent to UCAS. An early application not only ensures it arrives in time but means you can beat the rush and have offers before the deadlines.

If you miss the January deadline you can still apply. However, universities do not have to consider your application if, for example, they already have plenty of applications.

If you are applying for any course at Oxford or Cambridge, or most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science and dentistry you will have a deadline of 6pm on 15th October 2022.

Don’t forget, in addition to your UCAS application you can apply directly to the HNC, HND and Foundation Degree courses at Wigan & Leigh College by 18th November.

4. Write your Personal Statement

When you’re applying for university you’re going to need a personal statement. This is a really important part of the application process. So what is a personal statement? A personal statement gives you the opportunity to write all about YOU! It’s YOUR chance to shine and tell the world about your interests, skills, talents and experiences you’ve had. It’s also gives you the opportunity to talk about something you’re passionate about, your ambitions and future career aims.

So what’s the best way to write a Personal Statement?

Firstly, make sure that you have time to sit down and think about what you want to say, don’t rush it. Making notes will help to get you thinking which should help you to form a draft. Write positive information about yourself as you want your statement to impress an admission tutor and allow them to see that you’re the perfect person to join their university. It’s important to mention that you need to be honest. Don’t write that that you’ve experienced something that you haven’t as you may be caught out which may compromise your application.

If you’re applying through UCAS, why not take a look at the Personal Statement Builder on your UCAS hub to help you put together your first draft? This is made up of a series of questions, once you’ve completed the questions, click on preview at the bottom. This shows all your responses together, which could form a first draft for you.

Once you’ve started writing, you can easily get carried away. Your personal statement needs to be 650 words or 4000 character to make sure that you’ve written lots of important information about yourself. Once you’re happy with your draft, why not ask someone else to read through it for you. This might be a family member, a tutor, or a friend. For further information on writing your personal statement take a look on UCAS.

5. Following your application through

Once your completed application has been sent to UCAS you will be able to follow its progress through Track. There is no set date that you will start to hear back from the universities but if you have submitted by the 25th January deadline for 2023 entry, you will have heard back from every university by 18th May 2023 at the latest. You must then act to secure your place by accepting the offer(s) you are most interested in.

This may mean attending an interview or submitting a portfolio or sample for further consideration before any offer is made. Don’t reduce your chances by not following through with this, it is also excellent experience for your future in both education and the world of work. It is crucial you accept the offers made or they will be withdrawn by the University, you can accept a firm and insurance offer and decline any others if you have been made more than two.

If you need any support of advice to complete your application to Higher Education, call into FAB Futures to see a Careers Coach, we are here to help.

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