The process of applying to University

With results day looming University is the main thing on our minds, with concerns regarding whether we will get in or not being the forefront of it all. Having just finished our A-Levels, the last year has consisted of our University application process, something that was really daunting and confusing for us given that we are the first in our family to go down the University pathway after A-Levels. Luckily we had a really supportive sixth form and had friends who could help who had brothers/sisters in the position of applying to Uni which helped us get through, but we thought that it would be nice to compile some advice in a post to help anyone applying this year, in the hope that it will help some of you. 

Unifrog - UniFrog is a great tool which allows you to create University shortlists, view loads of information about courses and provide personal statement advice, making the whole application process much easier. The reason that I have mentioned this at the start of the post is because it helps you with everything, and really is perfect for your application, but it is something that your school/college needs to be on board with. Unfortunately, to access it your teachers need to provide a log in for you to use, but, if you do have access to it, use it, as it makes the whole process so much easier. And if not, mention it to your teachers as you never know, they may want to get on board too!

Choosing your course:
Both of us will be studying Biomedical Science in September (hopefully!), and we're in really fortunate positions where we knew exactly what we wanted to do and what we were really passionate about, so this wasn't too difficult for us personally. I know that a lot of people struggle with knowing what to study though, as, understandably, needing to know what you want your whole future to consist of at just 17/18 is really scary. In this situation, I would recommend the website WhatUni, as here there is a tool where you can type in your A-Level subjects and the predicted grades for all of them, making a list of your options appear. This is a really useful tool, especially if you aren't certain about your options and if they match your A-Level subjects. Access it here. 

Compile a list of potential Universities:
Once you know your course, gathering a list of Universities that you are interested in is the next key step. The most obvious way to do this is using the UCAS search tool, but other important things to consider include the place in the University League tables for that specific course. The main League table is the Guardian, where you can see the ranking of the student satisfaction and other important features of that University. You of course also need to consider the location of the University and the grades that they ask for; for example, we had our hearts set on not wanting to move away from home, so looked only at Unis that were close enough to commute to. This will narrow down the options and make it easy for you to chose open days to attend. When we were looking at Universities open days were really tricky for us, as most occur on Saturdays, when we work, or on Weekdays, when we were at school. We managed to get time off work and school for them in the end, but I cannot stress the importance of attending the open days to you enough! There may be a University that you had your heart set on and then decide you hate after visiting, as this definitely happened to me. In fact, the University that is now my firm was never an option until booking a last minute open day, so definitely make sure you look around before applying! 

The personal statement:
This is a 4000 character (including spaces and punctuation) statement in which you have the opportunity to sell yourself to the university, as it is what they base their decisions on who to accept on. The most obvious thing to say about these is to avoid cliches...admissions tutors will be reading hundreds of statements from all over the country, and if you all start with "ever since I was a child I have been passionate about...." or "I've always wanted to do...." etc...it will be really boring and you will not stand out from the crowd. Your opening needs to be unique and impressive, showing off that you generally really love the subject you are applying to and are serious about studying it for however many years. For example, mine opened with information about what is occurring currently in the science world, showing that I had a genuine interest in the subject and that I had actually looked it up in my spare time. This will make a University interested in you and want to take you on, as you are genuinely interested in what you are going there to do. 

I would also really highly recommend FutureLearn courses, which are free courses made by top Unis or companies which you can do and put on your personal statement to help you stand out. For example, I did ones on genome sequencing and targeted cancer treatments, which showed that I was growing an understanding of the subject in my spare time. To a University, this makes you stand out as an ideal candidate, and I genuinely did enjoy doing the courses too. I honestly recommend that you all do this, as it will make you look like the perfect candidate, and I genuinely believe that this is probably a big reason as to why I was accepted. 

I would finally end your personal statement talking about what you want to do with your degree; that way, the University knows that you are serious and aren't just going there for the 'Uni Life'. I would also recommend trying to get your statement done quickly too, as the quicker you apply the better. That way, it will be off your mind and you can really get into studying for your A-Levels, without the burden of writing your personal statement.


I really hope this has helped any one applying to University this year as I know it is a really daunting process. Good luck!

Natasha & Emily x 

6 comments


  1. A very useful post, thank you

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  3. Those were good times! I will be forever fond of my college experience

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