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Applying To University: The Five Point Plan

Should you decide it's something you want to do, the process of applying to university is a very long, challenging, rewarding but ultimately worthwhile process. In your first year of sixth form, you may begin the process of thinking about what you want to do with your life, and where you want to go to study (should you decide that is what you want). You may even have a strong idea of what you want to do with your career; this can only further inform your decision. 

Should you decide it's something you want to do, the process of applying to university is a very long, challenging, rewarding but ultimately worthwhile process. In your first year of sixth form, you may begin the process of thinking about what you want to do, and where you want to go. You may even have a strong idea of what you want to do with your career; this can only further inform your decision. 

From planning and starting your application, to (hopefully) starting your freshers' week, there will be a lot of thinking, a lot of writing, a lot of fretting and a lot of dreaming. Check out our step by step guide with some handy web links to get you through the process; we start with the process of shopping for a course and campus that suits you and take you all the way through to your first week of university (assuming all goes to plan)

Step One: Choosing a University 

The process of choosing a university can be a massive, daunting task when you first think about it. After all, you don't yet know what your grades are going to be, and you may not have any idea what course you want to do. Choosing a university will also depend on your personality - do you think you will be more comfortable at a campus university, where you are more likely to feel like part of a smaller community, or a city university, where you are in more of the position to blend in to a wider culture. 

Step Two: Applications & Interviews 

Once you have made your decision, it's of course time to get started on your UCAS application. It's a fairly long and involved process that can take up a lot of your time and concentration. The most important thing to remember is that you are going to need to provide potential admissions tutors with a compelling and truthful application which shows why you want to study the course you have chosen. This means that the personal statement section of your application needs to be written and then re-written. And then re-written again.  

Step Three - Making a decision 

Once you have sent your applications off, all you can do is wait. This can be the most nerve-wracking part, as you wait for that letter to drop through the post. As the replies roll in, you will become better placed to make an informed decision. Here is the first opportunity for re-evaluation. You may have had a complete change of heart between first application and the point at which the first replies arrive. You may get several offers and be spoilt for choice. You may get no offers at all, at which point it's time to turn the first disappointment into opportunity, and decide what you're going to do next. 

How to decide between offers

What to do if you've changed your mind

What to do when you get no offers

Step Four - After the exams 

So it's Results Day, and you're holding that piece of paper with those much-anticipated grades printed on them. Here's the point where you are either on your way to the university of your dreams, or once again having to do some serious thinking. If you haven't got the grades you needed, don't worry, it's not the end of the world. It can often feel as though A-levels will define your entire life. They won't. You can always take some time, reconsider and then re-apply. 

Step Five - Planning for university 

Let's say everything's gone to plan, and now you're off to university. The final step (or first depending on your point of view) is to start to make plans for what you're going to do when you're there. This ranges from sorting out your accommodation, opening a student bank account and buying any books or textbooks you will need before you start the course. You may even be thinking about how you are going to make friends, and whether you will fit in. 

Applying for universities can be a confusing and daunting process. We’ve simplified it here in our five point plan, so hopefully this will make the process a little bit easier for you.