The University Application Process Explained: What to Expect

2. Never underestimate the importance of practicality.

Once you have decided that a degree is something you wish to study for, you will need to research which course is for you. The great thing about university is that there are courses for more traditional subjects – History, Chemistry, Theology… – and vocational courses – Midwifery, Law, Medicine… – to account for those who have a vague idea on their future and those who are set on a certain career. Once you have an idea on a subject, a shortlist of universities is needed. An entire list of the available courses at each university can be found on the UCAS website.

Entry requirements are something to take into consideration. What you’ll need to understand is that an excellent university is not always the hardest to get into. The university I am going to is part of the Russell Group (more about that here) and from it I received an offer of BBB, while my friend received an offer ABB from a university that has a lower place on the league tables. Think realistically about what you can achieve in your A Levels from your AS grades, what resits you can take, if you need to, and how hard you can realistically work in Year 13, while taking into account that you are expected to do a lot more work for your A2 exams. University applications require a bizarre mix of realism and unwavering confidence in your own abilities, and only with this mindset will you gain a place at a university that is right for you.

Another important thing is knowing where you’d like to live. Staying at home would save money if there is a university you like not too far away, but there is a chance you won’t get ‘the full university experience’. When I find out what that is, I’ll let you know. If you do choose to move away, for a change of scenery and a fresh start, you will have to like the city or town you end up living in; after all, it will be the place you’ll call home for a good few years. A general cost of living, average housing prices, and train or coach prices back to your hometown are also information you should find out.

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