Applying to UniSchool and College

Applying to University – Advice from student

Applying to university is most likely the biggest thing you will do so far.  You’ve been told that the rest of your life depends on this. So you must apply early and with a perfect application.  

The truth is that yes, applying to university is a big thing. It is also something that you only have to do once, so don’t stress too much about it.  My application process to university wasn’t like my friends. Nottingham Trent University was my insurance choice, so my journey to getting here is a bit different. 

Researching Universities

One of the first things I did when I started my sixth form was to look around universities.  The first one that I looked at was actually Nottingham Trent, followed by a few others.  There are a few things that I looked at when I went to look around at an Open Day, these included: 

TOP TIPS:

  • Whether the university offers the course that you want to do – if you’ve decided to do a subject that the university doesn’t offer, there is no point looking around it (unless you are willing to settle for a different course) 
  • The content of the course – look at what compulsory and optional modules are offered on the course at that university and decide whether they are something you would want to study or whether it will help you in your future prospects 
  • Whether it is in a city or campus university – as much as you may think otherwise, they are both so different.
  • The facilities available to you – this includes coursespecific and general ones 
  • The accommodation options available to you – are they on campus, or close to campus? 
  • The university as a whole – what feeling do you get while you are looking around the university? Do you see yourself living and studying there for the next few years? 
  • The city (or local area) that you will be living in – are there many things to do outside university? Does it have a good night life? Are there any supermarkets close by? 
  • How close the university is to home – do you want to be able to live at home, be close to home, a bit further away or the other side of the country? (remember that you may get homesick, and, especially if you get freshers flu. You also may want to go home at the weekends)

Writing a Personal Statement

Another thing that you will need to do in order to apply to university is to write a personal statement. 

This is a written piece to show the university administration office. It mainly shows why you want to study the course/subject you are applying for. It also shows them what experience and skills you have relating to it. In my opinion, my personal statement was one of the hardest things to get right. I had the main body completed but I really struggled to write my introduction. I was told to re-do it multiple times. The introduction is possibly the most important part as it is the part that is read first. It means it could be the difference between a good personal statement and a not so good one.  My advice for your personal statement is as follows:

TOP TIPS:

  • Start it early – don’t leave it until the last minute and make sure you know what the character/line limit is.
  • Plan the whole thing – work out what skills and experience you have that are relevant to the subject and make sure you know what you want to say in each paragraph  
  • Write a first draft from your plan – don’t worry about the character limit, just get down what you want to say in a clear and concise way 
  • Start to refine your first draft – now the aim is to make sure that it fits the character/line limit, which is harder than you think
  • Give your draft to someone else to read – this could be your parents, friends, teachers (English teachers are particularly good), and don’t be disheartened if they give you some criticism as they are only trying to help you.
  • Refine your draft again – take on board other people’s ideas and your own thoughts to create another draft. I had 5 drafts before my 6th one was the one I sent off!
  • Final checks – double check that you haven’t exceeded the character/line limit and that you haven’t made any spelling mistakes, then attach it to your application.

Deciding on your first and insurance choice

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you go to university, as long as you are happy. 

Now, it is time for the hard part – deciding which universities to put as your first and insurance choice (your top 2).

I was lucky enough to receive 5 offers from all 5 of the universities I applied to. But this made deciding which university I wanted to put as my first choice a bit tougher. I took into account all of the factors I spoke about above. Eventually, I decided to put NTU as my insurance choice.  

When results day came, I didn’t get into my first choice, however I did get into NTU.  On the day, I was quite upset about it, but looking back, i realised that it was the best thing that could have happened!  I now live half an hour closer to home than my first choice was. It allowed me to keep my job at home. It is also much cheaper to get the train back home. I’m close to most of my friends from school who now live in Derby. Plus there is so much to do in Nottingham with my new friends.  

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you go to university, as long as you are happy.  In terms of your application, make sure you don’t go over the character/line limit and that you show your passion for the course/subject throughout.  

Charlotte Brothwell

Written by Charlotte Brothwell, LLB Law student 

Find Charlotte on LinkedIn

Make sure you check out UCAS – they have more information and guidance on applying to university.

Charlotte Brothwell
Charlotte is NTU Law graduate.

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