How to get ahead on your university application

Get a head start and stand out from the crowd by following these simple tips to prepare for your university application

July 1 2019
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It is never really too early to start thinking about your university application. There are a number of easy things that you can start doing now to boost your application. 

You’ll thank yourself later when you come to write your personal essay and you have plenty of things to talk about and lots of great experiences to draw from. 

1. Work experience

There are so many benefits to getting some work experience under your belt while you’re still at school. It can help you figure out which career you are most suited to, help you gain contacts and it’s a great thing to put on your university application form. 

It shows proactiveness and that you are already thinking about your future. It doesn’t really matter if you end up going down a totally different career route, there are a lot of transferable skills that you can take from one workplace and use in another.

2. Volunteering

Choosing to spend your time volunteering can make a really good impression on university admissions tutors and is also a great way to give back to society. 

Whether you have a regular stint at your local animal shelter or work some shifts in a charity shop, there are many transferable skills that you can learn from volunteering, such as working in a team and communication skills. 

This can also look great on your CV further down the line, as again it shows forward-thinking and the consolidation of a wide range of skills. 

3. Extra reading

This is a particularly good tip if you are planning on doing an arts or humanities degree. 

If you’re hoping to study an English literature degree, then try to expand the type of fiction that you read. If you’re looking to do history, read a bit more about the time period you are most interested in, or if you’re thinking of choosing philosophy then spend some time reading up on different theories. 

Doing some extra reading shows that you really are interested in your subject of choice and shows a willingness to engage in new ideas and take the lead on your learning.


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4. Enhance your hobbies

Having a passion outside your studies can help to boost your application. 

So whether you are part of a sports team or drama group or like to write fiction in your spare time, make sure you take the time to nurture that hobby. University isn’t just about studying and chances are you’ll be able to continue your hobby when you head to university.

Demonstrating a commitment to something outside your studies shows that you have good time management skills and are a well-rounded individual. 

5. Go to university open days

Taking some time out of your busy summer to visit some universities that you are interested in is a great way to prepare for when you come to apply. 

Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a university is to visit it, spend some time walking around the buildings and talking to current students and lecturers.

You don’t have to see every single university that you are interested in, but pick one or two (or as many as you like) and head on over.

5. Start thinking about your personal statement

I know it is quite early to be thinking about this but you now have a few months before you head back to school and it’s worth thinking about what you will write in your personal essay. You’ll thank yourself when the time comes to put your application together and you are also trying to juggle schoolwork at the same time. 

Think about some of the key points you want to cover, draft a rough structure and consider whether there are gaps that you could work to fill, such as more work experience or some extra reading. 

6. Familiarise yourself with the university application

Make sure you are clear about what information you need in your application and how you can go about putting it together. 

Speak to teachers at your school who will be able to tell you how to put your application together, which will make it much easier when the time comes to filling it out. 

Also put key dates in the application cycle in your calendar now. That way you won’t be frantically finishing your application at 2am on deadline day. 

Read more: Common grammatical errors to avoid in your university application

 

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