University Tips Blog
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by Helen Lock

Recruitment and Outreach Manager, Bucks New University

posted on 31 Dec '16

UCAS applications and university personal statements advice for teachers

Guest blog by Helen Lock, Recruitment and Outreach Manager, Bucks New University

Any students wishing to study a degree at a UK university must use the Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS). The service provides an up-to-date database of all UK universities and their courses, allowing students to make an informed choice. Through UCAS, students apply for different universities and courses using just one simple application service, without having to directly contact each individual university. Students can select up to five different courses either at the same or different universities.

UCAS has various deadlines throughout the year and guides students through each stage of the application process ensuring they’re kept up to date and informed. Students will also have access to UCAS Track, where they can log in with their personal UCAS ID number and see the progress of their application.

UCAS alerts students when a university responds to their application, which is important as some universities may request further information or invite students to an interview.

Students can also complete the Student Finance section of the UCAS application form, which speeds up the financial process.

The UCAS Reference

All students will need a reference. Usually this is from the school or college they are currently studying at. When completing the UCAS application form, students should add the name of the school or college to the ‘Buzzword’ field on the form. The school or college will then be informed that a reference is required.

The Personal Statement

The personal statement gives students the opportunity to stand out from other applicants and personalise their application. It should be concise and highlight skills, qualities and experiences. It could cover their ambitions; membership of clubs, sports teams or societies; hobbies (playing an instrument, Duke of Edinburgh award, reading); voluntary work, work experience (paid or unpaid) and travel experience.

Students should also reflect on why they have chosen the course and their plans for the future. A well-structured Personal Statement - with a beginning, middle and end - may make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful application.

Once the application form is completed, the fee paid and the form submitted…

UCAS will then alert the selected university of the new application. The University will assess the application and move it through the various application stages, where a student will come across new terminology such as ‘conditional offer’, ‘UCAS Extra’ and ‘Clearing’. Students can read more about the process and terminology by visiting UCAS or looking at their chosen university website.

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