Applying to university – UCAS dos and don’ts

Filling in the UCAS form can be daunting. There’s so much information to provide and so many choices to make! Here are some Dos and Don’ts to help your application stand out

DO check your deadlines

Make sure you know your school’s or college’s deadlines and work back from those dates so that you have enough time to find all the information you need. Most applications have to be with UCAS by 31 January. You can submit your form after this but providers don’t promise to give it equal consideration. 

DON’T use Chat GPT or other AI tools 

Universities want to hear from you about why you want to study this subject, not what a large language model has come up with. They won’t be impressed if you’ve relied on someone or something else to write your personal statement – and they do check. 

DO keep it personal

Talk about why you are a great candidate and why you want to study this course. Be specific – this is your chance to show your potential. 

DON’T exaggerate

You want to showcase your talents and achievements but keep it real. Don’t risk being caught out in an untruth. 

DO be enthusiastic

This is no time to hold back. Explain why you are passionate about the subject. How does it link to what you’ve studied so far? Why are you interested in the field? Does it connect with your career aspirations?

DON’T rely on spellcheck

Make sure you proofread your statement. Don’t let careless errors spoil your application. Try printing it out – your eyes skip letters when you read on a screen. Spellcheck won’t spot the mistake if you write pubic instead of public… 

DO make it relevant

Focus on the course and your interests. Connect your statement with the subject, your experiences and achievements. Admissions tutors aren’t interested in generalisations or clichés. 

DON’T rush

Take your time. Don’t expect to complete the statement in one go. You need to think carefully. It’s a good idea to review it later on, after taking a break. You will probably go through a few drafts.

DO ask for feedback

It’s great to have someone else read your statement. They may spot something you haven’t noticed, or be able to suggest areas you’ve left out. 

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