How to apply to university: everything you need to know

How to apply to university

Everything you need to know

You've decided you want to apply to university. What do you need to do in order to get in? Let me help you:

  1. Choose a course and university
  2. Get the grades, read around your subject and get other relevant experience.
  3. Write your personal statement


Below I've listed my top resources about how to apply to university from choosing your course to actually how to write your personal statement. I suggest you look at them in order – as they'll be most helpful to you like that!

How to apply to university

I've split the resources below into three sections:

  1. How to choose a university course
  2. Before you start writing
  3. 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.

Get your free download of 11 Personal Statement Dos and Don'ts and get moving with your personal statement today.
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1 – How to choose a university course

Head or heart? What should I study at university?

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.

9 Questions To Help You Find Out if a Course is Right For You

Visiting university open days can be quite overwhelming. 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

What is a UCAS Personal Statement?

In this blog post I'm going to explain what a UCAS personal statement is; how it fits in with the other elements of your application; The vital ingredients of a UCAS personal statement, and I'll also point you in the direction of other articles to help you with your UCAS personal statement.

What are supra-curricular activities?

In this blog post and video I explain what supra-curricular activities are, as opposed to extra-curricular activities, and why they are essential for getting into university.

When's the right time to start thinking about applying to uni?

In this blog post I explain the timelines for applying to university via UCAS so you know exactly what to do and when.

How to juggle revision with uni prep

It can be really overwhelming 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.

How to get work experience for your personal statement

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.

Reading around your subject

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.

Applying to an American Ivy League university

In this podcast, I interview US university expert Veronica Moore about the process of applying to a prestigious Ivy League university. Veronica explains why Ivy League universities are different, how the process of applying works, how to maximise your chances of a successful application and the costs involved.

3. Now you're ready to write….

How important is a UCAS Personal Statement?

If you're applying to university in the UK you might be asking, “How important is a UCAS personal statement?”

11 Personal Statement Dos and Don'ts

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).

Should you get someone to write your personal statement for you?

In this article I explain why you should never pay someone else to write your UCAS personal statement for you.

How to Stand Out in an Oxford or Cambridge Personal Statement or Interview

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.

What universities really look for in a candidate

Russell Group university teaching fellow Eleanor Snare explains how to make your personal statement stand out from the crowd.

How to bring colour, life and originality to your personal statement

In this article I suggest a really simple way to make your personal statement stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of admissions tutors.

How to Avoid Cliches in Your Personal Statement

Personal statements are renowned for being full of cliches such as ‘I've always been fascinated 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.

How to edit a UCAS personal statement (video)

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.

Deep dive analysis of a real UCAS personal statement

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!

5 Easy Ways to Get Your Oxbridge Personal Statement Noticed

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.

The definitive guide to where to get help with your personal statement

This article will explain to you where and how you can get help with writing your personal statement.

Get your free download of 11 Personal Statement Dos and Don'ts and get moving with your personal statement today.
Send me weekly advice about reaching your full academic potential and getting into your first choice of University
I am a parent
I am a student
I am a teacher

Your personal data will be treated with respect. View my privacy policy here.

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