Tuesday, 13 December 2011

University Talk

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but my UCAS application got sent off last week so I thought I’d do a whole recap on it. So already I have done a few reviews based on the open days I attended, and I think I’ve spoken a bit about UCAS as well, but here’s the details about it. 
This time last year I thought UCAS was this really big scary complicated thing that was going to take months and months to sort out, but to be honest, it really isn’t that bad. I’m not the most organised person in the world and I managed to get it done pretty quickly, you’ve just got to make sure you get it out of the way asap, otherwise you’ll forget and then realise that the deadline is a week away and you haven’t sorted out you personal statement or your references and you have no idea what your codes are.

-For starters, you’ll need your basic contact information, and some legal stuff about living in the UK and more. 
-If you are getting student support you’ll need something called a ‘fee code’ and to know your ‘student support arrangements’. Because I’m applying with college, my college gave me all this kinds of information.
-You then have to fill in things about nominees (if you are unable to attend something), any convictions, any disabilities, and ethnicity etc.
-It has a section for you to add any activities you did in preparation for higher education.
-You have to fill in information about what your parent/guardian does as a career, and if you have been in care, and then if you will be applying for student finance, which then gives you the option to choose to share your details with the Student Loans Company.
-You then have to put in all the places you are applying for. This is pretty easy because they have loads of drop down menus, so you don’t need to go searching round the internet for course and campus codes etc. You get a maximum of five choices, and it’s strongly recommended you fill all five.
-Now you need to get all you certificates out, and fill in previous and current education- GCSE’s, A Levels and any other qualifications you may have, as well as the institute you took them at.
-There’s a section for you to add any employment you have had/are in.
-And finally your personal statement. This is probably the hardest bit, because you have to write it all yourself, about yourself. And I hate writing about myself.
It has a limit of 4000 characters, and I think about 48 lines, so that makes it a bit trickier.
When I wrote my personal statement I did a draft about 4 times, and then I thought it was all good and ready, but then I went to an Open Day, and after hearing what the University had to say, I decided to completely rewrite it. Here are my tips:
+Look at the course profiles that you are applying for, and try and work them into your personal statement, but not copy. University’s want to know why you want to take this course, so if you’ve looked into what its about and it’s clear you’ve done your research they will know your serious. However, not all course profile will be the same, so if you make it too direct it won’t apply to them all.
+Think about what you like doing. I was really nervous about my personal statement, because I’ve never really taken part in any outside clubs or group hobbies, or achievements etc. I included how I became interested in textiles, and how my passion grew after finding this whole new side to creativity once I started reading blogs, and how things like lomography and blogging were ‘my extra curricular activities’. 
+If you don’t have any examples of taking part in anything, it’s never too late. This year my textiles class arranged a private show, where we all took on separate roles in order to put together a showing of our AS work. Not only was it nice for it to be on display, but it was really good to put in my personal statement. Things like helping out at open evenings, and trips also can be good to put in.
+Talk about your work. What sort of things you’ve worked with so far, what you like, what you want to continue with. This is more aimed at creative students, but I guess it could work with more academic statements too. Also, it might be good to include an artist or two that has really inspired you. 
+I finished off with what I want to get out of my degree, where I wanted to end up at the end, and why. I think it’s nice to know what it is you’re aiming for, and it might help whoever is reading it to see that you have real ambition for what you want to do.

That’s pretty much it for now, I hope someone, somewhere found this helpful. Applying for University sounds like a really scary thing, but it doesn’t have to be, and I think I’d have worried a lot less if I had heard about someones experience of it.

And now I just sit and wait, I’ve been checking my email about 400 times a day.
Haha, bye :)