Ucas applications can seem like overwhelming project: Is this going to set the path for the rest of your life? If you don’t get your personal statement just so, have your chances gone? Do you really have to include that dodgy grade you got for GCSE PE?
Yet there’s no need to panic: you still have time to spare. The Ucas deadline for students applying for a full-time degree at university or college starting this September is June 30.
If you’re stressed about what to include and what to leave off, here is our guide to what to consider before pressing send.
Completing a Ucas application is not, on the whole, an exciting activity: there will be lots of information to provide, with dates and subjects and grades.
Do take care though, and make sure everything is accurate. If you’ve accidentally said an AS level is an A-level, or a D is a B, and a university makes you an offer on that basis, you could find yourself without a place later on when the mistake comes to light.
If you do make a mistake and only realise it once you’ve submitted your application, tell Ucas and your chosen universities as soon as possible.
And when you get offers, read them carefully – if a university has made you an offer that seems a bit odd given your subjects or grades, question it as soon as you get it. Most mistakes can be rectified, but the sooner they are brought to light the better.
Leave off information
Did you start university last year and drop out? Did you mess up an AS level? Was your perfect set of A grade GCSEs spoilt by that rogue D?
If you think a piece of information might be detrimental to your application use your personal statement (or ask you referee to use the reference) to explain it, but don’t forget that universities are used to dealing with all kinds of people, and very few applications are perfect.
If you had a go at something that didn’t work out, it’s very unlikely to have an adverse impact on the way your application is viewed.
Worry too much about your personal statement
The personal statement is the only bit of your Ucas application which is really personal to you – it’s your chance to tell universities about yourself and what you want to study and why they should offer you a place. But don’t let that overwhelm you: yes, it matters, but it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.
Try to see writing your personal statement as a useful exercise for clarifying your choices: you’re being asked to put into words why you want to do the courses you’ve chosen, and if you can’t think of reasons, are you sure you’ve made the right choices?
Copy your personal statement
There are lots of examples of personal statements on the internet, and these can be useful for getting an idea of the kind of structure and writing you need to aim for.
But don’t cross the line between looking at examples and copying them – the personal statement needs to be all your own work, and if you copy even parts of someone else’s, you are heading for trouble.
Ucas runs all personal statements through anti-plagiarism software and if it finds that all or part of a statement is copied, it will notify the univeristies the student has applied to.
It’s really not worth the risk, it’s dishonest, and it won’t help you and your perfect university course to find each other.