The application process to university or college can seem incredibly daunting at first. However, we have a wealth of resources to help in making the process as simple as possible and ease any worries or concerns you may have. Below are some of the most common causes of worry for students completing their application.
Researching your options
Before you even start your application, you need to think carefully about what, where, when, and how you want to study. Your personal circumstances and ambitions are important considerations when making these choices.
Even if you already know what you'd like to study, it's worth checking what options are available in the subject area you're interested in. Our subject guides are a great starting point.
You might be planning to live at home while you study and commute to a local course provider, or perhaps you're thinking of moving away to study further afield. Will you study full-time or part-time? Maybe you are considering distance or flexible learning options that will fit in around your other commitments. If you're weighing up your options, check our information and advice to help you make your decision.
When researching your options, consider what would help you to succeed in your studies, and factor this into your research. If you have a family, perhaps on-campus or local childcare facilities would be important. Maybe you require Blue Badge parking, or flexibility due to hospital appointments for yourself or someone you care for. Check what facilities and support the university or college can provide – speak to student support services for information. Don't be worried to ask – there is a diverse range of student support and facilities available at university which is designed to help.
The personal statement
The personal statement is a reflective essay, written to demonstrate your enthusiasm, knowledge, and suitability for your chosen subject. It can take a long time to write, so leave yourself plenty of time to draft what you want to say. Here are some general tips:
Be enthusiastic. Demonstrate a clear interest in your chosen subject and provide evidence, where possible, explaining why you’ve decided to study the course.
Outline the relevant skills and experience you’ve acquired from employment, studying, and other experiences to date. It might help to list what you have done, and consider the skills and personal qualities you've developed as a result – such as resourcefulness, negotiation, or problem-solving.
Reference any voluntary work you’ve done if it supports your application.
Don't worry if you're applying with 'non-traditional' qualifcations or if you left full-time education some time ago. Explain the transferable skills you have acquired, such as time management, organisation, and commucation, and how they will be valuable for your studies.
Check university and college websites, as they usually tell you the criteria and qualities that they want their students to demonstrate.
Include why you want to study at degree-level, and what your ambitions are when you finish your course. You could discuss whether this course will help you along your current career path or to change career, or perhaps that studying this subject at a higher level is a personal goal.
For more help with your personal statement, sign up to the UCAS Hub, which has a dedicated personal statement builder tool to get you started and help keep you on track.
You will be asked for a reference as a standard part of filling out your UCAS application.
If your referee is having any issues writing your reference, we've created a help page with them specifically in mind: