Applying to a university and understanding the university application process can be an intimidating experience. The choices may seem overwhelming; from the university you’ll study at to the subject you’ll spend three years learning about, and for many international students, deciding on the right country to study in.
And with all of that, you’ll need to learn how to write a good personal statement and ensure you’re university application is top-notch before pressing that submit button. It’s completely natural to feel a little daunted!
With careful planning, research and support, the university application journey can be an exciting and rewarding experience, which will hopefully lead you to the day when you can step foot in your dream university as an undergraduate.
In this blog, we aim to get you there, with 5 Top Tips to think about when preparing your university application.
Research your chosen university & degree of choice
Choosing the right university and degree is perhaps one of the most important decisions you’ll make. As you’re going to be spending a minimum of three years studying you’re chosen subject at your chosen university, it’s important to ensure the decision is a good fit for you. When it comes to choosing the right university, consider these questions before making a firm decision:
Which country do you wish to study your undergraduate degree in? (Consider the year-round weather and culture).
What local amenities do you want to be able to enjoy near your university? E.g. restaurants, nightlife, local attractions and things to do.
What university facilities do you want to be able to access? E.g. Gym, swimming pool, 24/7 libraries, football field, basketball court, etc. Consider the hobbies you pursue now and whether you’ll be able to continue to pursue them at your chosen university.
What university clubs might you want to join?
Out of all of your choices, which one is your dream university and why?
Not only is it essential to consider the environment of both the country and university you’ll study at, but choosing a subject that will take you to closer to your dream career is just as important. In order to ensure the subject is the right fit for you, consider the following questions:
- Why do you want to study this subject in particular?
- What career will this degree lead you to?
- Why is it important that you become a….. [fill in role] e.g. doctor, chemist, physician, nurse, teacher, writer, etc.
- What do you think will be the most fulfilling aspect of this type of career?
To grasp a balanced view on whether your chosen university subject and the university is the right fit, you might also want to consider some of the negatives. This will help you to gain a broader and more realistic picture of your decision. Ask yourself these questions:
- What challenges do you think you’ll face studying in this country/city/university?
- What struggles might you face studying for this particular degree? E.g. What skills/knowledge will you likely need to advance to keep up with the programme?
What distractions / personal challenges might you need to overcome to succeed on this course and at this institute?
Have a Plan B
While you may have your heart set on one particular university, it’s a good idea to always have a Plan B. When applying to a university in the UK, applications are completed via UCAS, where you can choose up to five different universities and courses.
Don’t worry, the universities you apply to won’t be able to see which other universities or subjects you’ve applied for. You can even apply to the same university twice or more for a different course choice.
We recommend applying to different universities with different entry requirements to ensure you have a better chance of being accepted into a university regardless of your grades. Always ensure you’re happy with each of your final choices so you don’t end up studying at a place or course you don’t like.
Write your personal statement
Of course, writing your personal statement is one of the larger and more demanding tasks that comes with applying to university. To learn how to write a good personal statement, you can see our dedicated blog on the topic linked here.
Begin writing your personal statement way ahead of your university application deadline to ensure you have time to edit and make improvements before you submit it. Avoid using the names of specific universities when applying to multiple institutes.
Scholarship applications & deadlines
If you’re hoping to obtain a scholarship to a university to help with tuition fees then we recommend researching the scholarships available to you as early as possible. Almost all universities will offer scholarships but in order to get considered for one you’ll need to check:
- What scholarships are available via the relevant university websites
- If you’re eligible
- The type of scholarship application you need to complete, meeting the universities requirements
- All the required information you need to submit
Before submitting a scholarship application, be sure to:
Double-check for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors
Provide references (you’ll need to ask for references from teachers/school counsellors/tutors well in advance)
Submit by the deadline and no later!
Prepare for tests
Some universities will require you to complete an admissions test before they’ll consider you for their programmes. Make sure you prepare for tests well in advance, just like a school exam or assessment, in order to ensure you have the best chance of passing. Remember that thousands of students will have completed the same entrance exams before you, so look online to find relevant practice papers and tips to help prepare you for the tests and beat the competition!