The UCAS deadline
By Lois Looker,
Filling in your UCAS application can be a stressful and difficult time, and with the UCAS deadline soon approaching on 15th January for most students, we have written this piece to give you all the help and info you need to know to avoid last minute panics and make the process as easy and smooth for you as possible.
What to check the week before the deadline
You are going to need references in your application whether from teachers, previous tutors or employers. (In some cases you can be pardoned from including references but you have to apply for this through UCAS or the university that you are applying to.) It is the person’s responsibility to ensure that they upload their reference onto the system for you but also your responsibility to make sure that they have done it. Once they have submitted their reference, UCAS with notify you. If they have still not submitted their reference the week before the deadline, send them a quick email or give them a phone call to ensure that they are remembering that their reference is crucial.
- Have you included all correct contact information?
The process of making a UCAS application can go on for over a month or so. In this time details can change such as telephone numbers or even your address. Ensure that all of the information is up-to-date before submitting your final copy.
You will have to upload documents such as your personal statement or if you have been a previous student at another university or college, the university or college that you are applying to might require you to upload documents containing previous grading sheets or course module descriptions. It’s very important to make sure that you have uploaded these in advance so that you don’t have to track them down at the last minute.
If you are making more than three applications for different courses at different universities or colleges, then you will have to pay a fee for every application after that. It’s better to pay upfront and not leave it until last minute as when the time comes you can send the application when you’re ready and not worry about bank card details and how much you need to pay.
Spelling and grammar
Spelling and grammar are very important when filling in your application, especially in your personal statement. If you make a lot of spelling and grammatical errors then the university or college might see this as a reflection on your spelling and grammar abilities and be less inclined to offer you a place if this is reflected as being quite poor. It can also show that you haven’t even gone to the easy effort of spell checking it before you submit.
If you feel that you tend to make spelling or grammatical errors a lot then you should ask someone to proof-read your writing for you to ensure that you application looks as impressive as it can. And use a spell checker.
Sometimes you spend so much time working on something that you fail to see even the simplest mistakes, so it’s sometimes better to get that extra help even if you feel that your spelling and grammar skills are fine.
Things to remember
- Make it relevant
If you’re applying for several different courses, i.e. languages and then English Literature, whether they are courses at the same university or college or not, you have to keep in mind that your personal statement has to be kept relevant for these different courses. Look for similarities between the courses that you’re applying for that you can really emphasise so that the universities or colleges can see that you are not more passionate about one course more than the other and so won’t rule you out because they feel like they’re a second choice.
- Don’t leave it until last minute
If you write your application last minute, this will come across to the universities or colleges that you have applied to. They read thousands of applications each year and will be able to sort the applications from those that have been well written and well thought out compared to those that have had little thought and consideration put into them. Write a few drafts of your application and ask family members or teachers and tutors to look over your statement to ensure that you will come up with the best draft possible to give you the best chance of being given an offer.
- Stay calm
- Things might not work out exactly as you plan. If you are applying to college or university straight from school then this might be one of the first times that you’ve had to apply for something and it may have a huge impact in your plans for the future. It’s key to remember that it’s good to have ambition and ideas of what you want to do with your future but that things might not always play out as you imagined and that that can be okay and in many cases. The new route that you hadn’t anticipated might be much better for you in the long run.
- The process itself can be nerve-wracking, so make sure you’re aware of your options such as Clearing.
- If you feel that you may have made an error in your application but you only realise after submitting your application, you can contact UCAS to notify them of the error and to see if there’s anything that can be done.
UCAS Extra is a process that is open from February until July of every year. You can use this process if you change your mind and no longer want to do any of the courses that you have applied for or if you receive no offers from any of your applications.
You can only apply to one course at a time and you must wait to see if you are made an offer and then reject that offer or if you’re unsuccessful before you make another application. This process can continue, one course at a time until the deadline in July upon you must either see if you are eligible for Clearing or submit another application the next year.