Entry requirements

Most universities are flexible about the entry offers they make and will not have a standard grade or points offer but will state a range of maximum/minimum grades (or UCAS points) you need to gain entry to a particular course. Here are a few important points to consider.

  • For courses with very similar titles there can be differences in the grades or points required between different universities and this may influence your choice of university. Also the required grades may not be explicit on the particular university website.
  •  Be careful that you are comparing like with like, for example, some may quote an average UCAS score and others a minimum. Also, most universities will stipulate the overall university minimum requirements of passes in GCSE (or equivalent) English and Mathematics. Some universities may look at all your GCSEs grades (or equivalent) as these are the only results available to them.
  •  For STEM courses most universities are likely to stipulate one or two subjects they expect applicants to be studying. Usually universities are happy for you to be studying arts, humanities and language subjects alongside science and/or mathematics.
  •  If you are worried about getting your grades find out how flexible the course admissions tutor is willing to be. If you have real enthusiasm for the course and they are convinced you will be a worthwhile student they may be willing to overlook the odd grade slip. You won’t know unless you ask!

If you are in any doubt at all, contact the course admissions tutor. They are more approachable than you may think and want to help you make the right choice. Showing that you are willing to take the initiative and do your research will not harm your application. If you are not comfortable phoning them an email can be just as good. Check the university department pages to find the contact details.

Personal statement

This is the part of the application process that most students find difficult. It is useful to begin thinking about your personal statement as early in the application process as possible – a good time is at the end of Year 12 (or equivalent). If you are unsure what to write in your statement it is a good idea to talk to your admissions coordinator at school or college.

  • Personal statements are your chance to tell admissions tutors what your interests are and your relevant skills – about half your personal statement should focus on the course you have chosen.
  •  Include information about why you are interested in your chosen subject, including relevant references to extended reading, including books, journals and other media. If you are already studying the subject, what topics have you enjoyed and why?
  •  Attempt to bring out your individuality in your statement and the skills you have.
  •  If it is possible to do work experience – either paid or voluntary – this can show you have discipline and a sense of responsibility.
  •  Personal statements can make a difference on particularly competitive courses and if the universities you have applied to interview prospective candidates.
  •  Parts of interviews may be based on what you have written so, above all, be honest.
  •  Remember interviews are a great opportunity for you to show what you can do – and always prepare well. Be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about your chosen subject and ask questions about the university – e.g. ask about their areas of research

After you’ve applied

This can be a long process as universities have until the end of April to consider applications. Some students who have made early applications may get offers before Christmas and others may not receive offers until the Spring term. The most important thing is not to panic if you don’t hear anything immediately.