How to apply to university: everything you need to know
How to apply to university
I've split the resources below into three sections:
- How to choose a university course
- Before you start writing
- Now you're ready to write
Dive in where it's going to be most helpful to you now! But first, sign-up to get my free download '11 Personal Statement Dos and Don'ts'. It's a great idea to start understanding what your personal statement needs to look like today.
1 – How to choose a university course
When you're applying to university people will be giving you advice left, right and centre about what you should study and where you should go. This is my take – watch the video to find out how I think you should choose what to study at university.
Visiting university open days can be quite over-whelming. You’re suddenly thrown into an environment you’re not used to. You’re surrounded by hundreds of other people who are feeling just as lost and uncertain as you. And to top it all off, the university is doing their utmost to sell, sell, sell their course and university to you.
So, what questions should you ask to make your time at a university open day worthwhile? Here are nine questions you should ask in order to find out if the course you’re interested in is right for you.
2 – Before you start writing your personal statement
This one's really for mums and dads. It was written by me for parents who read Sarah Newton's blog. However, it's a really useful process for you to go through, and for you to share with mum and dad. Start here to make sure you've got all the groundwork covered.
It can be really over-whelming to be making BIG choices about your future at the same time as putting your all into studying for your exams. This article shows you how to balance these things without compromising your results.
Once you've decided which course you want to study it's helpful to get work experience to write about on your personal statement. This post (+ video) gives you lots of helpful ideas on how to get relevant work experience.
Another really helpful thing to do before you start writing your UCAS statement is to read around the subject you've chosen. Doing extra reading helps you look both passionate about your subject and resourceful.
3. Now you're ready to write….
This free download will help you to make sure your personal statement is up to scratch – it's a good checking sheet to use once you've written your first draft (or to use while you're writing your first draft).
Although this article is aimed at Oxbridge candidates the advice it offers is just as helpful to applicants to any university. It outlines how to tell your personal story which will catch the eye of admissions tutors in an authentic and personalised way.
Personal statements are renowned for being full of cliches such as ‘I've always been fascintated by…' or, ‘I've wanted to be a doctor since I was three years old'. You need to avoid cliches in order for your personal statement to stand out and to make a genuine connection with the real human being reading it and deciding whether to offer you a place.
You can't expect your personal statement to be written and done in one sitting. It will take many drafts and lots of tweaking before you're happy with it. Use the tips in this video to make the editing process smoother and easier.
In this interview I do a deep-dive analysis of a personal statement. The statement in question earned Leah Stewart an Oxford interview and offers at all the other universities she applied to. In the interview I give very detailed feedback about what was good, what wasn't so good and how it could be improved. Again, there was some lovely feedback about this interview.
“I've just watched your video with Leah Stewart and I would just like to thank you so much! It's so perfect as I've been struggling a lot lately with trying to write my personal statement, particularly since no family members have been to uni and therefore cannot give me any advice.”
How to write a Cambridge Personal Statement (Interview with the Admissions Tutor of Newnham College, Cambridge)
Applying to Oxford or Cambridge? Even if you're not, this interview with Sam Lucy, the Admissions Tutor of Newnham College, Cambridge, gives enormous insight into the application process and what they're looking for in a personal statement. This is definitely worth a read!
In 2014, 17, 484 people applied to Oxford University and 16,752 people applied to Cambridge. 3,161 people were accepted by Oxford and 4,220 were offered places at Cambridge. That’s a lot of people and not very many places. But, what does this mean for you when you’re applying to Oxbridge? Find out how to make your personal statement stand out from the crowd.