Try to start early
- Choose your course – have a focus.
- Choose your universities/colleges – which will be good for you? Do you want to live far away or near to home? Don’t just think about where your friends are going although that can be important.
- Look for: academic facilities (library, computers, tutors, lecturers etc.) as these will be most important in getting the most out of your degree; also important are sports facilities, student union, clubs & nightlife, theatre, accommodation
- Get your personal statement drafted over the summer – or at least think about what you might write; have you done any work experience relevant to courses you might want to do? Have you done any outside reading? Have you researched the courses thoroughly?
- Go on as many open days as you can before you make your decisions. For many courses you will be living at Uni for three years and paying up to £9000 in fees for the privilege – do you really want to live somewhere you’ve never seen and might not like? Obviously Open Days can be expensive (train fares etc.) and might not give you a great feel of the place, but they are helpful to an extent
- Oxbridge/Medicine/Law you will have to apply before October anyway. Universities do start giving out offers from September though so it's a good idea to apply early when possible.
- You still have until January 15 of Year 13 to complete your application, but getting in early shows greater commitment and minimises stress for all involved.
Preparing for interviews
- Oxbridge and very few other top Unis actually interview; students for medicine may also have to attend interviews
- Practice asking/answering questions on your subject with another person, maybe someone you don’t know very well, like a teacher at school you knows your subject.
- Go on the Interview skills days provided by the school and other businesses. Although universities say they don’t want you to be “overprepared” it is good to get some experience so that you have some confidence when you go for your interview.
- Competition for places is very high. When you go for interview other candidates might try to psyche you out: just ignore them and feel confident that you are going to have a good interview.
After you apply
- Try to relax – of course you’ll be nervous about who will accept/reject you, but focus on your studies and when you have conditional offers, make sure you’re working hard to achieve those grades.