Things to consider when applying to university

Are you thinking about applying to university? We understand that this can be an overwhelming decision for students. There is lots of things to consider from which course to whether the location is right for you. We’ve created a comprehensive guide which covers everything from the courses available to what to if you miss the UCAS deadline. 

Applying to a university is an excellent opportunity to gain a knowledge in a subject that you’re passionate about pursuing a career within. There are so many courses to choose from across a variety of subject areas. We’ve listed a few of the courses you could choose from at university:

  • Agriculture and related sciences,
  • Architecture, building and planning,
  • Biological sciences,
  • Business management and admin studies,
  • Computer sciences,
  • Creative arts and design,
  • Education and teaching,
  • Engineering and technology,
  • English,
  • Historical and philosophical studies,
  • Languages,
  • Law,
  • Maths,
  • Medicine,
  • Music,
  • Physical sciences,
  • Psychology,
  • Publishing, media and film,
  • Social studies,
  • Sport,
  • Veterinary science

Remember, there are lots of other university courses available. This just gives you a brief overview of the subjects and related courses. There is so much more opportunities so make sure to do your research when applying to the university you’re most interested in. 

Applying to university

Applying to university enables you to develop your knowledge, gain invaluable skills, try something new and many courses also offer work placements to help you to better prepare for life outside of university.

University also offer a unique experience to be independent, boost your confidence, meet people from different backgrounds and cultures and to try new activities whilst also experiencing the social life.

University isn’t just for people looking to progress after university. The majority of universities now accept students with BTECs and offer degree apprenticeships which means you can earn and learn whilst being in full time employments and part time study.

What should I consider when applying to university?

  • Choose a course related to your career goals
  • What type of course are you looking to do
  • Do your research on the university to find out if it’s right for you
  • Try to attend open days
  • Are you wanting to live at home or in student accommodation?
  • Think about the costs of going to university
  • Are you committed enough?

Multiracial students are walking in university hall during break and communicating.

Choosing the right course for you

When choosing the right course for you, make sure to do your research.

University doesn’t come on the cheap side but it’s well worth it – if you’re doing it because it’s the right choice for you. Make sure you pick a course which will help you to reach your career goals. Talk to your teachers, parents and current students who will five you advice and insights. 

Look at the course content, make sure it’s made up of things that interest you. Every university course module is different. Don’t just base your decision on the university place. Make sure the course is right for you and remember when it comes to your final decision it’s your choice.

Finding the right university

If you’re going to university, you might be considering moving away from home. This can feel incredibly daunting but it doesn’t have to be! Think of this as a journey for you to get the best out of yourself! Visit the university and find out more about the location. 

Think: is this somewhere you want to live? What are the social aspects? Does the university offer student support and development opportunities? 

Also, consider your accommodation. Use the government website to calculate your approximate Maintenance Loan so you can work out your accommodation budget. You’ll also need to take into account travel costs when thinking about student accommodation. Remember, if you decide to live at home with your parents, you are still entitled to Maintenance Loans.

Graduate prospects

What are previous students doing now they have graduated from the university? Think about whether they are in work or further study and how much they are earning. Lots of websites compare graduate employment rates so make sure to check online.

Applying to university as a mature student

Applying to university as a mature student typically means if you are over the age of 21 when starting studying as an undergraduate or 25+ when starting a postgraduate course such as a masters degree. Mature students may have taken time out of full-time education which is often referred to as a gap year. 

Mature students might commit to full time study or start a distance learning degree with providers such as The Open University. If you’re over the age of 21 and are considering applying to university as a mature student then that’s great news! You’re never too old to begin learning!

First you’ll need to think about whether or not you have the qualification requirements to be accepted by the university. If not, don’t panic! You have options. You might consider taking an Access to Higher Education diploma course, or if you have previous experience in a related field then you might be able to fast track your application. 

Mature students can also progress their career by returning to do a postgraduate qualification to further their opportunities.

Next you’ll need to do your research! Consider which university you want to study at, whether you want to do online education and which course you’re interested in. A good way to narrow down your options is to attend open days. Given the current pandemic, many of these are being done virtually at the moment. 

Now it’s time to pick the course which is right for you and see whether your chosen university offers what you’re looking for. When applying to university as a mature student, you will need to submit your application before 15 January or the 15 October the year before if you’re looking to study medicine, veterinary, dentistry or at Oxford or Cambridge University.

Going to university can be costly – as you well know – but don’t let that discourage you! Looking into the different finance and support you can apply for when returning to education. There is lots of information online so if you’re serious about applying for university as a mature student, go for it! 

Applying to university late

Thinking of applying to university but you’re late? As the saying goes, better late than never! So if you missed the UCAS deadline don’t be disheartened, you have options! The new deadline you’ll be looking at is the 30th June! This is now offered on a first come, first served basis so make sure you get your application in quick but don’t rush it. You still need to complete your UCAS application to a high quality. 

Make sure to check the UCAS course search tool and even look at UCAS Extra to see whether there is a course suitable for you available. Universities update UCAS Extra on whether they have any extra places which need to be filled. This is usually submitted mid to late February so make sure to keep your eyes open!

If you miss the final deadline of the 30th June, you will then enter UCAS Clearing which means you’ll have a final chance to apply for a university course. If there is nothing right for you, don’t rush into making a decision which isn’t right for you – there is always next year!

Applying to university after dropping out

So you dropped out of university? That’s perfectly fine! You had your reasons, whether the course wasn’t right for you or the university itself wasn’t. This can feel extremely overwhelming but try to remain calm. 

If you’ve dropped out, you might be wondering how this might impact your future application. However, it’s important to remember that there is nothing in the UCAS guidelines that suggests applying to university after dropping out will have negative consequences on your future applications. 

If you’ve not already dropped out and are thinking about it so you can apply to a different university, it would be worth speaking to your current universities student support department. They might be able to discuss a university transfer as opposed to dropping out fully. 

Don’t stress about it, we all make mistakes but admitting to them and accepting your mistake will help you to learn from this.

If you’re looking at kick-starting your career with a degree Apprenticeship, check out Careermap to find a wide range of vacancies available at degree level.

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