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#GCTopTips 4: 5 tips on ensuring you meet university application deadlines

5 December 2017

If you are thinking of applying to university for a 2018 start - or already in the process of completing your application - there are a number of things to consider to ensure yours stands out. While the deadline for some universities and courses such as veterinary science and medicine have already passed, the deadline for general course applications for UCAS isn't until 15 January. This may sound like a long time away, but with Christmas just around the corner, it's important not to leave your application until the last minute.

Top Tip #1: Give yourself (and your tutor) time to review your application

If you are applying via your school or college, ensure you leave enough time for your tutor to review your application too. The Christmas and New Year period is a busy one for them, so show consideration and allow them plenty of time to complete their sections in your application - speak to them beforehand to set some time aside with them to go over it. We suggest at least 3 to 4 weeks minimum. Make sure you also schedule in time for corrections and discussing your options with your tutor.

Top Tip #2: Don't let your personal statement slow you down

Your personal statement is a reflection on your and why you want to apply for a specific course and university. While many have been working on their personal statements for months, it's something you should be considering and working on constantly. Your personal statement is a crucial part of your application and can make a real difference in whether your get accepted on to your chosen course Proof-read your personal statement and make your final tweaks in plenty of time - getting someone else to have a look through can also make sure that you haven't missed anything important.

Writing a personal statement is very personal, but you should also consider who will be reading it when it has been received by the university. Admission tutors want students who best fir their university culture, as well as those who are passionate about their course. Consider this in your personal statement - do you have any extra-curricular activities that will grab their attention; have you considered why the university is the right fit for you?

Take a look at some great tips from perfecting your personal statement from Which? University here.

Top Tip #3: Know your dates

Knowing the key dates for application deadlines may seem like something obvious, but can easily be missed - make a note of these dates on your calendar and work backwards to make sure you plan plenty of time to complete all the sections of your application before this date. Also, leaving a few days for your application to reach UCAS can put your mind at rest and ensure that potential technical issues don't cause your application to be late.

Key dates coming up:
15 January 2018 - General UCAS application deadline
25 February 2018 UCAS Extra begins
24 March 2018 - Art and design course application deadline (some courses may have January deadlines, so make sure you check this on your UCAS portal)

Top Tip #4: Consider who is writing your letter of recommendation

Similarly to a job application, your choice of referee can be as important as what they say about you. They should know you well as a person, how you are performing academically or in extra-curricular activities, and why you are passionate about your chosen course. Tutors or lecturers are great to have as academic references, but having a reference from a professional family friend or someone who knows about your extra-curricular activities outside of school or college is a good idea too.

Top Tip #5: Make sure you have the basics

You will spend a lot of time putting together your university application, and it can have a big impact on your future progression, so make sure you have the basics right on your application too. You can have an application ready to send off with a great personal statement and supporting evidence, but if you haven't checked for spelling and grammar mistakes, this can give the wrong impression to the admission tutors. Ask at least one person to proof-read your application for spelling and grammatical errors to save time and make sure your application isn't let down by something so simple.

"What happens if I miss the UCAS application deadline?"

If you are unable to get your application in on time to UCAS, it can have an effect on the likelihood of you being accepted to the course or even the university you want to go to. However, it's not the end of the road. You can still submit your application after the deadline, however any applications submitted after 15 January (or 24 March for some art and design courses) will be processed, but it can have an effect on whether your application is considered by the university when deciding whether to offer you a place or not. If the course you have applied for is competitive, missing the deadline can mean that you are not considered for the course.

UCAS Extra and UCAS Clearing are available after the initial deadline dates for universities and courses that still have spaces available, and many students use these routes to get into university if they have missed the application deadline or aren't sure until later in the year exactly what they would like to do. If you're worried about meeting deadline dates, speak to your lecturer or learning mentor in college, or visit the UCAS website for more information.

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