UCAS: Give your application the edge


Ensure your university application has the best chance of success ahead of deadline day…

As the January 15 UCAS deadline looms, experienced careers adviser Beryl Dixon gives her top 10 tips for finalising your university application.

Beryl is the author of How to Complete Your UCAS Application: 2015 Entry, published by Trotman. The publisher is also behind an online resource for university applicants, Heap Online. The website provides a starting point for research into university degree courses available to applicants, depending on their predicted (or actual) UCAS tariff points. Trotman’s offer in this area also includes titles such as Heap 2015, Careers 2015 and Choosing Your Degree Course & University.

Beryl’s top tips:

  1. The deadline is midnight on 15 January (23.59 UK time), but don’t leave it until the last minute to send your application, just in case you experience any difficulties, for example internet connection issues or payment problems.
  2. On the topic of payment, make sure you pay for your application before you send it to UCAS. If you enter invalid payment details five times, you will be locked out from making any more payment attempts – if this happens, you’ll need to call UCAS.
  3. Make sure you know your login details. If you don’t know them then you’ll need to use the login reminder service on the UCAS website.
  4. While the deadline is not far away, there is still time to think again before make your final choice regarding a university or course. It is really important that you are happy with your decision so don’t let anyone persuade you into doing something you’re not sure about.
  5. Make sure you are applying for a course that matches your predicted grades. There is no point wasting a choice on a course on which you have little chance of being accepted – but be sure not to undersell yourself either.
  6. Read over your personal statement carefully. Check for spelling and grammar errors, as well as making sure that your copy conveys your passion for the subject. It’s a good idea to share your writing with a friend or relative as a fresh pair of eyes may spot things you haven’t.
  7. If applying through school or college, make sure you allow enough time for them to read over it and suggest amendments before you submit to UCAS.
  8. Ensure you have a reference in place before you hit ‘apply’ – you’ll need to allow time for your referees to read the instructions and complete the reference before you submit.
  9. Double check you’ve entered your personal details accurately and that your course code is correct.
  10. If you’re concerned about any element of the application, speak up – call a UCAS adviser, speak to teacher or consult a careers adviser.

 About the Author

Beryl Dixon specialises in writing books and articles on careers and higher education. She has written for the education and careers pages of The Times and The Independent and for a number of other publications, including Inspiring Futures, the magazine of the Independent Schools’ Careers Organisation. www.trotman.co.uk

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