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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

Top tips for applying to higher education

1. Know your deadlines

The deadline for higher education applications is 6pm on Wednesday 15 January 2020. 

Read the UCAS guide to filling in your UCAS undergraduate application.

Start your application as early as possible so you have time to change and refine it. If you apply through UCAS Conservatoires (for performing arts) your deadline will be different, so research providers to find out when to apply.

2. Register first

Register with UCAS to create an account before you apply. 

Use the buzzword your school, college or centre gave you. You won't have a buzzword if you're applying independently, so UCAS will ask you more questions instead. 

Once you've registered you can complete the 'apply' section on your account. You can only apply once in a cycle. 

3. Be prepared and choose your referees

Familiarise yourself with the application process before you start.

This will help you prepare for deadlines and find the information you need to apply, such as your qualification details and references. Your references could make a big difference to your application so think carefully about who your referees will be and give them enough time to complete your reference. 

4. Think about your personal statement

This is probably the most important part of your application so give yourself plenty of time to complete it. 

You'll need to tell the university or college what makes you unique; what makes you stand out in a crowd. Think about the qualities, skills and experience you have that make you the right person for your chosen course and place of study. 

5. Know your choices

Decide on the courses and universities or colleges you want to apply to.

Do your research, speak to people and go to open days - you can find open day information on their websites.

You can normally choose up to 5 courses on your application form. There's no preference order and your chosen universities or colleges can't see where else you've applied.

You can only apply for a maximum of 4 courses in any one of these subjects:

  • medicine
  • dentistry
  • veterinary medicine
  • veterinary science

If you're applying to Oxford or Cambridge university, you can only apply to one course at one university.

If you're applying for deferred entry, make sure you've checked that the university or college allow it.

6. Make your application stronger

Be honest and make sure your application represents who you are.

To make your application stronger, you could:

  • do some volunteering
  • find work experience that relates to your course
  • read up on your chosen subject and course
  • find out as much as you can about the universities or colleges you've applied to
  • include any extra-curricular activities you do that show leadership, teamwork or communication skills 

7. Proof read your application

Get your teachers, parents or family members to proof read your application.

Make sure it's all accurate, honest and you haven't made any silly mistakes.

Good luck.

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