Monday, 25 August 2014

Applying to University

Applying to University in the UK

The prospect of going to open days and picking courses for your higher education is exciting and fun. However, the prospect of having to write your personal statement and fill out the rest of your UCAS application can be very daunting. Having been through the process myself whilst completing my Economics and Sociology Baccalaureate via CNED homeschooling, I am now studying American Studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

Here are some of my top tips to help you out:

1) Firstly, start thinking about it early, choosing a university and course which suits you can take some time - as can the application process. Avoid unnecessary stress and start planning ahead. Universities host open days throughout the year, but you can tie in visits with your usual trips to the UK by contacting the university's admissions office to arrange a tour on another day. UCAS applications open mid-September in the year before you want to start your course.

2) If the university you are interested in doesn't list the qualification your are studying towards on their grade requirement list, contact them! They're always happy to help and will also be able to explain language requirements for the course: some universities require all non-UK educated applicants to sit an English language proficiency test*, whilst others will simply specify a minimum grade for the English exam you sit as part of your baccalaureate for example.

3) Follow UCAS on social media, they're on Facebook and Twitter. They have a great social media team who will reply to you using those platforms, which can help avoid an expensive international phone call! They also remind you of important deadlines which is really useful. The same applies for following universities on social media, it's a great way to get a feel for the lifestyle the university offers.

4) Prepare a strong personal statement. It's harder for applicants who aren't going to a traditional college because we don't get the same kind of help from careers advisers, etc. Make sure you mention language skills and how great you are at working independently having acquired qualifications via distance learning - it's a great asset that admission tutors love!

5) And just keep in mind when filling out your application that it'll be worth it and Uni life is just around the corner!

This post was written by our guest blogger, India Bottomley, who has lived in France and is now in her 2nd year at the University of Kent.

* UCAS state that students will require one of the following as proof of English proficiency:

1) Edexcel IGCSE English Language

2) Cambridge IGCSE English Language

3) International Baccalaureate

Details of our online Edexcel IGCSE English Language & English Literature courses can be found on our website: