Get ahead of the competition – Personal Statement 1
As a Higher Education specialist I help many students who are considering applying to either Oxford or Cambridge or to a competitive course such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary, law or economics. There are two important UCAS application deadlines:
- October 15th 2016 for Oxford OR Cambridge – this means you have to get your application in if you are applying for any course at all at these institutions for 2017 entry.
- October 15th 2016 if you are applying for medicine, dentistry and veterinary at any university in the UK for these subjects for 2017 entry.
The second deadline January 15th 2017 is for all other subjects for UK and EU nationals (except Art and Design). Technically international students can apply up to the 30th June in the year of entry but this is not advisable as your application will be stamped LATE and the institution may not have any places left by the time you apply.
The other thing to bear in mind is some subjects are extremely competitive to get into in all the universities. Economics and Law are two competitive subjects that spring to mind. It is better for international students if you get ahead and prepare to submit your UCAS application at least by the end of October and by the January 15th deadline if you possibly can.
So, where do you start? ….
…Bearing in mind that there may be as many as 12 applicants, all with the specified grades for each place. You have to really stand out and:-
- Decide on the subject/s you are most likely to succeed at and enjoy studying for three years or more.
- Start reflecting upon what it is about the subject/s that really fires your passion.
- Think about your natural preferences in your studies and potential careers.
- Think about the skills you gain by studying each of your subjects at school.
- Go to the UCAS website AND the Departmental Website of your shortlisted courses – check the Eligibility Requirements to make sure you are a good fit and have the required subjects.
- Make sure you also have the right number of subjects and grades at GCSE or equivalent.
- Look at the Application Process on the Departmental Website – see if there are any other requirements to be fulfilled such as Admissions Tests, Interview or Supplementary work to be submitted.
- Have a look at the Course Modules on the Departmental website: There will be a lot of information for prospective students to help you gain momentum with your preparation.
Many universities have pre-study reading or recommended books listed on their websites. Why? Because up to 25% of students drop out of their course each year because they were not aware of what the course and subject entailed. Student selection in competitive institutions is a very well-tuned process. It is all about student retention! It’s important to select the right students and that the students know exactly what is expected of them. All this advance preparation will certainly give you the edge with that all-important Personal Statement.