So you’ve decided what to study, and you’ve got a good idea of where you’d like to get your head down for university?
Now’s the time to make sure your application shouts, I’m the one for you! (Though we’d always advise against writing, I’m the one for you at the end of your personal statement.)
Some university courses are especially competitive. As you’d expect, there is a negative correlation between the rank of a university or course and the applicant-to-offers ratio.
This ratio is an interesting statistic to look at, but don’t spend lots of time focusing on it. Many universities do not provide admissions statistics.
Suppose you’re doing anything to better your chance at securing that offer. In that case, you should be proactive in achieving your personal goals and improving your subject-related experience.
Here are some effective ways to make your university application stand out from a crowd of equally as eager prospective students, with never-seen-before advice from admissions departments themselves!
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Research your course
Research is key if you want to stand out to university admissions departments.
University courses vary widely about content and modules. For example, English Literature at Newcastle could offer a different experience and modules to the same course at Nottingham Trent.
As you’ll be sending out the same university application, find out what the courses you have applied for have in common and tailor your application accordingly. This makes it relevant across the board and offers a direct answer to why you’re best placed on studying there.
A good place to begin is by speaking to admissions departments themselves. Ask course-specific questions to the right departments if there’s something you’re interested in.
Read challenging books about your chosen subject.
Course research leads on nicely to this important point in the make-your-application-stand-out process: read, read, read! Although your A-Level literature is great for the time being, consider investing in some course-specific books early.
A Cambridge spokesperson recently expressed how important it is that people are engaged with their subjects to stand out from the crowd. Take a look at the reading lists of the courses you are interested in, pick a couple of books that you genuinely could see yourself enjoying, and knuckle down a couple of nights a week to challenge your current knowledge.
Universities love students who love to learn, so don’t be afraid to reference some books you’ve read and how they have bettered you as a Scientist/Writer/Designer (or whatever it is you specialise in). As well as a desire to learn, this also shows universities you have two more things they love in students: aspiration and confidence.
Get course-related work experience
From the perspective of a university assessing applicants, whilst grades are, of course, the main criteria for acceptance, those students with even a short history of work experience will be looked upon favourably. This willingness to test themselves and step outside their comfort zone is beneficial when approaching tertiary education and highlights a level of maturity.
Furthermore, whilst in education, tasks are laid out well in advance, which gives students time to plan and approach them at their own pace. However, once youngsters are immersed in working life, they are potentially exposed to an environment where teamwork is very important, priorities can change without notice, and urgent tasks can emerge and change work plans instantly.
Improve your grades
Of course, your grades will have to be spot on for a university to give you an offer. If you’re struggling or think you’ll find your current grades difficult to achieve – consider private tutoring to give your exam results a boost and learn some new revision techniques.
Suppose you have an edge on fellow students with your predicted grades. In that case, you’ll have a better chance at securing your dream university offer!
Believe in yourself
You’ve made it this far, which means you’ve already done a lot of hard work. Well done!
Be proud of what you’ve achieved so far, and have the confidence in your university application to express that you can do whatever you set your mind to.