Introducing UCASFriday, September 18, 2015 12:00 AM
After the stress of waiting so long for our exam results I hope that everyone got the grades that you were wanting/ needing for AS and A2. I thought that this month I would tell you about my start on my UCAS application. This is the first step on the road to University!
First things first, make sure that you have the buzzword from your school to ensure that your application is linked to them so they can go over your application with you. You can then can start to create an account and filling out your UCAS form. One thing I was pleased about was the easy layout of UCAS and having started it during the holidays it was nice for it to be ‘idiot proof’ so I could just get on and do it by myself.
Filling in the UCAS form
I started filling out all of my personal details first, it was all very straightforward information in this section; name, address, email and phone numbers etc. Then I went to the next sections, ‘Additional information’, ‘student finance’ part and ‘employment’. I also started my education section; however I started this before results day so went back and added to it once I had my results.
In order to fill out the ‘education’ section, I searched for all of my GCSE certificates to ensure that I had the right grade, exam body etc. so that I knew it was all correct for those before filling out my AS Results.
I haven’t yet started on my ‘Choices’ section as I still have UCL’s open day later this month and I don’t want to finalise it all until I have a balanced view on all of the universities I’m considering; however I have started to collect the UCAS codes of the courses at the specific universities I’m considering so that this will be a lot easier when I eventually fill it out.
The final section to fill out, and the one that I’d been avoiding like the plague, was the statement; yes, the dreaded ‘Personal Statement.’ I can’t see many people actually enjoying writing this because it is just not in most people’s nature to ‘big yourselves up’ and make yourself seem amazing, so it’ll definitely take more than one attempt! Obviously your Sixth Form or College will give you a lot of help and guidance over the first few months of Year 13 (or may have already started the end of last year) but I personally felt like I wanted to write a draft over the summer in order to have a first few ideas of what I wanted to include before getting the input of my tutor - who is quite probably a pro at helping with these after doing it so often!
The first thing that I did when I decided to start a first draft was to sit at my computer and look at the resources UCAS have provided for personal statement writing as well as those from other sites (like bestCourse4me!) to get an overall idea of what topics to include. I then made notes of these things specific to me; i.e. Extra-curricular activities (DofE, Reading Buddy etc.) and Skills (leadership, teamwork, working independently…). From here I had a whole page of lots of different things that I have done, achieved and how this makes me suited to my chosen course and just overall university life.
Then, I started to write; I found that having made the page of notes meant I always had something to write about, and I collated relevant things together and tried to make the separate paragraphs flow into each other rather than them being very disjointed and randomly ordered. By the time I finished I had more than the maximum 4000 characters but in all honesty I probably had unnecessary things added in and would reword others so would most probably be able to cut and change this in order to make it under the limit. I’m then going to get my tutor to look over this and tell me irrelevant parts, things I missed out etc. etc. Just remember; these are the people who have done UCAS applications year in, year out so listen to them and their guidance; they’re practically the professionals in UCAS!!!
Hope this helps anyone who is yet to start their own version.