If you’re looking to study a higher education course at university or college, you’ll need to complete a UCAS form. Ask any prospective undergraduate what they feel about the dreaded UCAS form and you’ll be faced with a barrage of complaints. However although the UCAS form itself can be rather tedious, with a little help you’ll find it a relatively stress free and painless process.
As with any application form, a large proportion is filled with space for your personal details. Remember to have your CV to hand so you can provide your employment history, national insurance details and student loan funding information.
UCAS requires up to date details of all your current qualifications. Each university course has a required entry standard, so ideally apply only for courses you’re qualified for. While some degree subjects will consider applicants with lower grades in some circumstances, be prepared for the fact you could be unsuccessful.
Although the majority of UCAS applicants are honest, it’s worth mentioning that lying about your grades could lead to your application being disqualified, meaning you’ll have to wait until next year to re-apply.
Your UCAS form will allow you to apply for up to five courses. You can find the university and course codes on the UCAS website. Think carefully about your options and try to visit your prospective university beforehand to check it’s the right course for you. Once your application is submitted you’ll be unable to change your mind, meaning you’ll have to wait to re-apply next year.
When writing a UCAS personal statement it’s important to be mindful of your audience. University admissions tutors are responsible for reading your document, so tailor your statement to suit their requirements. All universities are looking for students who demonstrate an enthusiasm for their subject and a genuine enjoyment of learning, so try to convey this passion in your text.
Highlight any extracurricular activities or work experience that helps your application to stand out. Healthcare courses in particular like their future students to have hands on experience in a care setting, so be sure to check the requirements for your subject and show how you meet these.
The UCAS application form asks candidates to submit the details of their personal reference. Ideally choose someone who has worked closely with you in an academic or professional capacity. Remember that UCAS will ask them to submit a written reference, so be sure to obtain their agreement beforehand.
If possible use a professional contact or reference from a work experience placement. For example, if you’re applying to study a degree in medicine, a reference from a doctor you’ve completed a work placement with will generally be much more relevant than one from your tutor.
Check, re-check and check again!
Make sure you complete your UCAS form well in advance so you can sit on it for a while and make changes before submitting the final copy. Ensure you proof read for any spelling and grammar errors and enlist the help of friends, partners or parents to double check this for you. Once you’re happy with your completed application form and feel it can’t be improved, cross your fingers and hit the submit button!