"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." -Albert Einstein

Acquiring a proper education involves going to secondary school and, in most cases, attending further education courses at a qualified trade school or university. It's important to state that while we may forget some specific topics that we have learned in our formative years, how we are educated by our teachers and the subjects we wish to discover shape our minds and provide us with the necessary education to succeed later on in life.

However, there are certain steps of the educative process that are lengthy, sometimes stressful, and flat-out boring. Such as? One of them has definitely got to be the admissions process – not even the admissions office at the given colleges and universities and your teachers like the admission process!

Emotions run high for the students, your personal statements are a chore, and so many of the university applications are similar to the next making it difficult to have an original idea. Therefore, if you want all parties involved to enjoy the applications process more, it would be a brilliant idea to make your UCAS form stand out from the crowd.

The university admissions team will appreciate it, your prospective professors will admire it, and you’ll dramatically increase your chance of success. But, how can it be done? What actually looks good on a university application?

Without further delay, in today's article, we shall consider some practical advice on how to make your UCAS form stand out by considering what universities are looking for, how to write an effective personal statement, and some additional aspects to add to your uni application. Let's get started!

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What are UK Universities Looking For?

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You'll need good grades and fantastic test results to impress universities in the UK. (Source: Unsplash)

Let's face it, your university application is one of the most important things you’ll write in your life. Whilst your GCSE coursework or even your degree thesis is important, convincing a higher education institution to take you on as one of their students is quite an impressive feat; especially at the more distinguished universities.

A pupil must begin to ponder their life and think about everything they have done that merits being highlighted. 

A university application is the first time that you have to write down and take stock of your achievements. You have to sell yourself and you have to consider why it is that you deserve a place at the college of your dreams. And for many, legitimately, that is not so easy.

However, there are some fool-proof ways to make your UCAS application stand out from the crowd. Such as? Let's take a look at the qualities of a good student and how they should be mentioned on a university application.

Solid Grades

Of all the skills of a good student that admission officers look at, solid grades are the most essential. They are the foundation of a university application and, without them, you might as well kiss your dreams of attending university goodbye.

Good grades are just the start when applying to university and, when applying for the top universities, everyone is going to have excellent test scores and an excellent academic record that is a force to be reckoned with.

Whilst they are not enough alone and more things are needed, they are a necessary foundation for what comes next.

Therefore, good students are wise to consider working hard at being the best in their class during the GCSEs and the A-Level stage. Universities want the cream of the crop and will not settle for anything less. So, apply to university with as good grades as you can get.

But, are there other things that university admission teams look for? Absolutely! Take a look at the following subheading.

A Compelling Personal Statement

Most tutors, admissions officers, and universities and colleges point to one thing as the most important element of your application. What might that be? That’s the personal statement. Known as the cornerstone of your UCAS form, a personal statement needs to be seriously considered.

Knowing how to write a personal statement is not something that is realistic to expect of you before you start the application process to university because it's very unlikely that you will have done it before. However, you will have to learn fast.

In the meantime, you’ll find many people such as professors, tutors, and other experts offering different bits of advice; which we will take a look at a little further in today's article.

Find out more about what makes a university application stand out!

Evidence to Think and Work Independently

Another important thing that universities in the UK look for, is the ability to work and think independently without the constant assistance of a teacher or academic advisor. Why's that essential? At uni, there isn't anyone designated to hold your hand and give you a big hug when things get tough, you'll need to work on your own and figure things out for yourself.

Therefore, secondary school is the perfect time to demonstrate to educators that you are independent and can think unassisted about the topics that you are learning.

How to Write a Personal Statement

explaining things
You could say that the "personal statement" segment of the university application is the foundation for success. (Source: Unsplash)

A personal statement is indispensably important when applying to universities in the UK since it allows admission teams to get an idea of who you are before granting you admission. You could say that it's an interview done through writing that introduces your abilities and talents while answering the question, why are you worthy to attend this further education centre?

Nonetheless, since secondary school students at an A-Level are already stressed with schoolwork and getting good grades, they may struggle to find the time and correct advice to write a personal statement that shines bright like a diamond. So, what can be done?

Let's consider some essential information about writing above-average personal statements that universities will enjoy reviewing.

How Long Should a Personal Statement Be

Before considering what sort of flashy information should be featured in a personal statement, it's necessary to answer the question, how long should a personal statement be? According to most trustworthy outlets and sources, a personal statement to attend UK-based universities should have a length of 4,000 characters.

4,000 characters may seem like a lot but it can be broken down to approximately one side of typed A4 paper. 

Therefore, to make your personal statement and overall UCAS form stand out, you need to be precise, clear, and include information that will not distract readers from the overall purpose of your personal statement.

What Should Be Included in a Personal Statement

Though every student is different and every teacher has a unique style of teaching, when it comes to writing down a personal statement for your UCAS form, the general consensus of what should be included is unanimous. Such as? Let's look at some essential details of a personal statement.

Excellent Written English

If there is one thing that you should really avoid when writing your personal statement, it's grammatical mistakes such as typos and spelling errors. A good grasp of English is crucial to the admissions team giving your application a glance.

If you are applying for a humanities subject, this is going to matter even more. So, make sure it is well written. It’ll have a huge impact on the admission decision since it's a proven fact that persons are turned away from reading something when there are too many mistakes.

Commitment to a Field of Study

On your personal statement, you must additionally include and demonstrate a commitment to the course to which you are applying. Feature information and details about how you became interested in that specific sector of study. It would be wise to talk about your career aspirations in this section; this shows admission teams that you mean business.

Admission's teams like to see and have proof such as extracurricular activities and past classes taken in high school that you are passionate about your future Bachelor's degree. If there is any relevant work experience, mention it in your personal statement.

The Appeal of the University in Question

It never hurts to explain in your personal statement why you want to attend the university in question. Include specific details about why the university interested you and what you hope to learn more about there. Highlight some aspects such as courses or classes that the further education centre is known for.

Everyone needs to feel buttered up and desired from time to time and university admission teams are no different. 

While the previously mentioned aspects are the foundation of your personal statement, is there anything else worth bringing out on a UCAS application form? Take a look at the following paragraph to learn more.

Check out the other school clubs that can boost your application!

What Things Look Good on a University Application?

extracurricular activities
Admissions teams are impressed by students who have multiple hobbies and extracurricular activities. (Source: Unsplash)

While talking about the future and mentioning your education aspirations in your personal statement is admirable, the office of admissions typically wants to see dedication and proof that you're a student worthy of admitting.

The following list mentions some information to include in your admissions form that will please universities:

  • Competitions Wons & Awards Granted: for many universities, the proof of a dedicated student relies on the fact as to whether or not they have received accolades. From the Duke of Edinburgh award to chess competitions and science prizes to poetry competitions, attempt to showcase your achievements since it greatly impresses teams of admission at various UK universities because it demonstrates endurance, application, skill, and how you face competition.
  • Completion of the Extended Project Qualification: the Extended Project Qualification, EPQ as it is known, can be a great way to show that you have what it takes to see a big project through to its end. In fact, the EPQ was designed to prepare you for a degree program – and making something of it in your personal statement would certainly be a wise move.
  • Interest Beyond the School Environment: what universities want to see too is an interest in the world beyond the classroom. If everything you claim to like has been spoon-fed to you by your subject teachers, it will be difficult for universities to think of you as someone who will thrive with the independence that universities offer to your studies. The ability to talk about things beyond the walls of the classroom is crucial. Mention your personal interests and hobbies in your personal statement and application form.
  • Extracurricular Activities: taking part in clubs, sports teams, and activities with others is very important to mention on your UCAS application form. Not only will it make you stand out but university admission teams recognise that skills are honed when extracurricular activities are mentioned. So, don't be afraid to include them in your personal statement.

While we could go on and on about the various details you should include with your UCAS application form, the previously mentioned aspects will set you out in the right direction.

In conclusion, we hope that the information in today's article is enough to guide you towards creating a UCAS application that will stand out and get you invited to the university of your dreams!

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