Choosing your university: 5 things to do before submitting your Ucas application

A five-step checklist to make sure you're ready to submit your Ucas application

December 21 2016

If you are a current A-level student, chances are you’ve had 15 January circled on your calendar for some time – the deadline for Ucas applications.

With the deadline for university selection fast approaching, now is the time for students to do their final research and preparation before submitting their application.

For any students still struggling with the decision, Hannah Morrish, community manager at The Student Room, shares five key points to consider before submitting your Ucas application.

Watch the video or read Hannah's tips below

1. Make sure you know your universities

It might sound obvious, but thoroughly researching your universities will ensure you make choices that are right for you.

Review all available prospectuses and websites and make sure you visit all the campuses and cities that you’re considering.

Most public university open days have now passed, so if you’re yet to attend one, there is still the option to book on to a campus tour.

It’s important to have all the facts about where you’ll be spending the next few years of your academic life to ensure that all your choices provide whatever you need.

If you have any last-minute questions for a university or are still in doubt, pick up the phone; there will be plenty of people on hand to offer advice and answer any questions.

2. Read around your course

Although course titles may seem fairly self-explanatory, there is a huge variety of more specific topics to sift through that will differ greatly from one institution to another.

For instance, the reading list and topic focus for English literature in one university could be very different from that of the course provided elsewhere.

Be sure to research your subject of choice to see if a joint honours or a more varied syllabus could suit you better.

When you do decide on your choices, carefully read the subject descriptions and future reading lists so you are not left with any surprises on your first day.

3. Talk to other students

There will be a lot of people in the same boat as you, and a good way to settle nerves is to talk to them. Get in touch with university alumni or student advisers on university websites as they may be able to point you to someone who has studied your course or – even better – someone who is currently doing it.

Alternatively, you can search on Facebook and see if there are any groups you can join for your university or course.

There is also a huge group of students on The Student Room who are always happy to help; undergraduates and postgraduates can offer advice as they were once in your position, and maybe even highlight something you haven’t thought of yet.

4. Do your final checks

Last-minute nerves are natural – you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel a little anxious before making such a huge decision! Streamline your choices and ensure they feel right for you, and then read over your personal statement to see if you are satisfied.

Getting someone to run a fresh pair of eyes over your application before you submit will also put your mind at rest, as they may spot an error you’ve overlooked.

5. Relax

Don't worry if you’re not sending off your application until 5pm on 15 January; the Ucas deadline is there to ensure all applications are given equal consideration, even if you submit at the last possible moment.

If you’re still not ready when the deadline rolls around, rest assured that you can apply for a 2017 entry until 30 June. You should be aware that courses fill up fast and you won’t have the same consideration as before, but it’s better than rushing your application and making mistakes.

It’s more important that you’ve taken your time and are confident with your choices, so if you really are struggling, you could wait and submit your application when you’re ready. Then all that’s left to do is sit back and wait for the offers to roll in!

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