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UCAS Applications: What can I be doing this summer to help

Finishing Year 12 (AS Year), and wondering how you can use this summer to get started on a standout UCAS application? Look no further – here are our top tips for making the most of your time this summer

1. Research your options: Whether you’re set on the universities you want to apply to, or are still exploring your options, use the summer to research your university choices and make sure they are the best ones for you! Check university websites and the UCAS website for in-person or virtual open days and tours, which usually take place over the summer and into the Autumn term. While it is important to be comfortable with the course content, it is equally important to ensure you’re comfortable with the city and campus environment, and that you consider what this will add to your university experience. If you can, we’d highly recommend factoring in time to attend open days in person.

2. Get drafting: If you’re not sure where to start with your personal statement, try using bullet points or mind maps to identify the key points you want to get across. 4000 characters may sound like a lot – but you’ll find that you’ll quickly use these up if you spend too much time on a specific point! The hardest part is getting started, but writing out bullet points or a rough draft of your personal statement in the summer can help you to identify gaps, while also giving you more time for refining and improving the real thing in the Autumn term.

3. Keep it relevant and plan ahead: Remember that the same personal statement will be sent to every university and course you apply to. If you’re not applying for exactly the same course at every university, keep this in mind so that your personal statement remains relevant across the board. Also be aware of key deadlines – if you’re applying to Oxbridge, or to medicine, veterinary or dentistry courses, your application deadline will be in mid-October, rather than January.

4. Keep learning over the summer: Enhance your application with targeted reading, videos, podcasts, lectures, documentaries and learning opportunities to expand on the key content you’ve studied in Year 12. If you’re applying for English, you may find it helpful to take a look at the English syllabus for the universities you’re applying to, and reading some of those texts. This helps you to demonstrate your knowledge and interest in the subject while also helping you get to grips with the individual courses and identifying which ones you might enjoy best!

If you’re applying for a Science course, why not make use of the wonderful museums and exhibitions available in London? The Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Welcome Collection, Faraday Museum and Royal Observatory Greenwich, to name a few, are great places to get inspired. UCL also hosts virtual online lectures for sixth form students on a huge range of science related topics! All of this additional learning will help you to stand out and demonstrate your passion for the course.

5. Take positive action to understand your course: If there is something in your degree course which you haven’t had the opportunity to try in school, why not try it over the summer? Students applying to Classics courses without experience in Latin or Ancient Greek might find it helpful to attend summer schools or get to grips with online language courses to build experience and demonstrate their passion for the subject. Budding engineers might want to try a summer project such as building a robot or programming to gain practical experience to include in their statement!

The summer is also an important time to familiarise yourself with the course pages and degree content for each university you’re applying to. Courses with the same name can be taught very differently, so it’s important to drill down and understand whether the course you’re applying for aligns with your academic interests.

6. Try something new: While summer can be a fantastic opportunity to enhance your application, it’s also important to rest and have fun ahead of Year 13. Talking about your hobbies and extra-curriculars is still an important part of your personal statement, so why not use the summer to build on these, or try something completely new? If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with our team and we’d love to help you build on your interests and prioritise fun this summer!

If you’re applying for university this year, and aren’t sure where to start, get in touch with our team via the form below. From choosing where to apply to crafting a great personal statement and preparing for interviews and assessments, we’re here to help you with every step of the process.

Feel free to get in touch with us at Manara Education for expert advice


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