Top ten tips when filling out your UCAS application

7 January 2015

With the UCAS deadline looming – 6pm on January 15 – the University of Derby’s Registrar and Secretary, June Hughes, has provided some top tips to students who are in the process of making their application.

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Writing your personal statement, finding references and gathering information can be an overwhelming task while juggling exams and coursework, but June’s tips should help prospective students keep calm and submit a winning application:

1.    Sell yourself in your personal statement

Your personal statement gives you the opportunity to really sell yourself. It’s your chance to show universities why they should offer you a place as it may be the only written work they see before making a decision. Before you start drafting your statement check the entry profiles for the courses you’re interested in at – this will enable you to understand what experience and qualifications are required.

2.    Take your time

Your application is a representation of you and other than your grades, this is your route into higher education, so don’t rush. Take your time to ensure you cover off everything you want in order to secure your place.

3.    Read around the course

The title of your course may be self-explanatory, but now there is a wide range of courses, so it’s best to read around, look at what previous students have said about it and look at the academic staff profiles. Recent research conducted by the University of Derby found that a quarter of people said they wished they’d studied different subjects during their school career, which is why it’s even more integral to get it right at university level.

4.    Be yourself

Make sure you convey who you are, express your passions and interests - this could be what sets you apart.

5.    Get to know the universities

There are so many universities to choose from so it’s so important to pick the one that’s right for you. Even if you have been unable to attend an open day most universities will welcome visitors which will give you an insight into the institution. There is also a wealth of information online, and you could always pick up the phone and talk to them, whether you have a question about the city, the course or even student life.

6.    Check the entry requirements

Before submitting your application it’s important to check your predicted grades match the entry requirements to avoid disappointment.

7.    Attention to detail

Admission selectors are assessing your ability, so it’s vital to double-check your grammar and spelling.

8.    Be honest

It’s important to be honest about your predicted grades and experience. For qualifications you have already achieved it is vital to check you put the correct qualification title in – you could always double check these with your teacher.

9.    Get someone else to check it

You can spend a great deal of time on your application so it’s easy to make a mistake and not properly articulate what you mean, so it’s best to get someone else to double-check it.

10.  Relevant reference

References are an essential part of universities getting to know you. Are the referees you have chosen the best people to represent you? Are they relevant to the course you are wishing to study? Do they know you well enough?

Once your application has been submitted you can track your application online at: