So, you've applied for your preferred Universities and now you're waiting for the offers to start flooding in. But it doesn't stop there, UCAS applications are just the start of your journey! Here's how to prepare for the next steps.
In your head, it feels like it’s taking ages to find out whether you’ve got that uni offer. You’ve done all the hard work in making the perfect UCAS application. Now, it’s a waiting game but there are a few things you can do in the meantime.
You want to be ready for when those offers come in. Hopefully, you’re not yet snowed under by exams, so now’s the best time to find out more about each of your unis and the courses you’ve applied for. If you have any particular queries then don’t be afraid to fire off an email to get some more info. You want to make sure that your eventual choices are the perfect ones for you and that’s why that research is so important.
Until you’ve actually visited a university campus, it’s hard to know whether it’s for you or not. No matter how much research you do, nothing quite makes up for having a good old nosey in person! That was certainly the case for me. When I applied for Queen’s, I went all out and booked a campus tour, went to Experience Queen’s and even flew over for an applicant open day. Don’t miss out as all of these events are great opportunities to find out a bit more and explore a new city too!
I don’t mean to sound like a boring old accountant but have a think about your finances. You don’t need to wait until you get your offers to plan your student finance. The main two funding things to think about is your tuition fees and extra funding for living such as maintenance loans and grants. There are tonnes of different websites where you apply from so for me coming from England, I had to use Student Finance England but the website you use will depend on where you currently live.
Every uni has a different accommodation policy. The date you can apply. The different options. The different prices. It’s a bit of a minefield sometimes. Here’s a link to all the stuff about Queen’s accommodation. It’s quite often worth looking around the accommodation as well. At Queen’s, the main options are Elms BT1, BT2 and BT9 and you can visit these on campus tours or one of the applicant open days. Also, think about whether you want an en-suite room or whether you’d be able to stick a shared bathroom!
Some degree courses will interview you before giving out offers. This simply gives the uni a better idea of what sort of a person you are. My best tip for this is to make sure you’re familiar with your personal statement. It might be ages ago that you wrote it but the likelihood is that the interview will be based a lot upon you and what you wrote in that statement. And also, have a check as certain more artsy based courses will ask you to show your portfolio so they can see the quality of your work. Don’t give yourself the stress of hurriedly making up a portfolio of work - it’s not worth the panic!
If you need help with any of this then poke your tutor, teacher or careers advisor in school. If they’re anything like mine, they’ll really want to help you out to make sure you get to the uni you want.
Of course, you need to revise for those exams. Often your A Levels are the most work you ever have with seemingly endless exams. In fact, university exam periods sometimes seem easier with the added revision time and the way you’re only doing the one subject as well. I’m not going to harp on about different revision methods as I’m sure that now you’re doing A Levels, you pretty much know what you’re doing!
Whenever it may be that you get those offers, get responding. Start thinking about which ones you’ll make your conditional firm and conditional insurance offers. Make the decision carefully as it’s not always the easiest to change these decisions later on in the process.
And a final word from me. Good luck! It will soon all be over and you’ll be going on to have some of the very best years of your life.
English with Linguistics | 2nd year | Huddersfield, England
I am 21 year old Yorkshire lad, born and bred, but now studying English with Linguistics at Queen's. I decided to come to over to Northern Ireland after many holidays visiting family across the country. I am part of the university politics society and the debating society. This semester I'm also doing a French language course - wish me luck! I'm a keen swimmer which is certainly needed when this country has so much good food to offer!
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