5 tips for securing a place at university
Just under 560,000 people applied through the UK’s main university admissions system UCAS by mid-January 2018. So what can students do to be competitive? Here we list five things to consider:
1. Choosing the right subjects at school
Some degree subjects require particular A Levels. For example the UK’s most competitive subject, Medicine, requires students to have Chemistry with one additional science or Mathematics. Other major subjects will require will require an A Level in that subject also if it is commonly taught in UK schools. For example, English at university will require English A Level or equivalent as all schools offer this. Many other humanities subjects require a good essay based school qualification. Oxford University lists all such requirements which you can see here: Oxford Unviersity Entrance Requirements
2. Consider studying the Extended Project Qualification
The Extended Project Qualification is a brilliant course in which the student independently researches and writes about their own chosen subject. Topics must be analytical and discursive. This qualification demonstrates to admissions tutors that the applicant can independently research and write to a high academic standard. We at Cherwell College support students with their Extended Project Qualifications and have a proved record of getting students into top universities.
3. Extra-curricular activities
Universities look for students who are engaged in their subject and show an interest in the world around them. Whether it’s sport, music, fundraising or being politically active, a student’s extra-curricular activities can help give them the edge over other applicants. It is even better if the out-of-class activity is related to the degree subject for which they are applying.
4. Writing a great personal statement
Personal statements are the first thing that universities will read about an applicant so getting it right is key. If they are poorly written with bad use of English spelling and grammar then the student stands a much higher chance of being rejected. Good statements demonstrate why they are interested in the course and what the student has done to prove this interest. The UCAS website has plenty of guidance on writing a great personal statement.
5. Applying to the right university
Top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge require top grades at school. Quite simply if a student is not likely to achieve these grades then they won’t get an offer – there will be no room for negotiation. It is key to apply to a university that is asking for realistically achievable grades. A student should look closely at the admission requirements for each course and check that they are likely to achieve this.