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UCAS deadline, 15 January 2015

It’s not too late to apply to university!

Christmas may be just around the corner, but it is not too late to get those UCAS forms off. The 15 January deadline may seem like a long way away, but only around half of students have submitted their applications so far.

To help you and your students get those applications noticed, the University of East Anglia is holding a live Twitter Q+A session on 6 January from 3pm until 5pm. If you want to know what to put in to your references or your students just need some pointers for choosing their universities, we are here. If you want to get involved, tweet us @HeyUEA. Don’t forget to share with your students too.

[EDITOR’S NOTE – Many other universities will be doing the same thing. Applicants should check to see what events their preferred unis are offering and, similarly, follow them on Twitter.]

But, who wants to wait for Christmas for some good advice about applying to university? So some of our top tips are:

1: Give us a good reference

A good reference isn’t just about extolling your students’ virtues. We need to see that a student is prepped for university, interested in their subject and able to manage their course.

Universities look at references to offer some additional context on an applicant, and it is one of the only parts of the UCAS form not written directly by the student. Comments are expected to match up to the predicted grades provided and give support to their choice of course.

Finally, re-read every reference to check for typos and errors from copying and pasting, as well as ensuring that characters haven’t fallen off the end if it is too long.

2: Students should be using the ABC of Personal Statements

We always suggest that students approach their personal statement early, but for those who haven’t yet completed theirs, we have some tips. Any activity a student mentions needs to have a simple set of rules applied to it:

Activity. Any activity mentioned needs to be current and clearly explained.
Benefit. What did the applicant gain from doing this? Why does that set them apart from everyone else?
Course. So many students fail to say why their activity is good for the course they are doing. Without this context, a great example can be overlooked.

Once a student has written their statement up and carefully thought about what relevant experience to include, then it’s time to edit for length and check the spelling and grammar.

3: Get ahead for next year by planning next year’s HE programme

Why not get ready for your next cohort coming through the UCAS process, and book talks from universities to support your HE preparation? A well prepared group will be experts in writing their applications and (hopefully) be chomping at the bit to apply next September, with perfect personal statements and a full list of choices.

With all these tips in mind you, and your students, will be in a great position to get as many offers as possible. Remember, if there’s anything else you want to know, we have our Twitter Q+A on the 6 January, or you can email your friendly Higher Education Advisers and we are here to support you.

Have a wonderful festive break, and a happy new year!

Posted by Myles Smith on Tue, 14 Feb 2017

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Myles studied Environmental Science at UEA, and after graduating has tried hard not to leave Norwich. He's one of the Higher Education Advisers at UEA and works with schools and colleges to provide expert advice on HE, as well as working with students from across Europe. As a proud Yorkshireman, Myles can regularly be found enjoying a good cuppa, moaning about the cricket and not understanding why Henderson's Relish is unavailable in the chippy.

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