Freaking Out Over UCAS? Five Things We Learned From This Reddit AMA

Reddit answered all your panicked questions on UCAS - here's your need-to-know


by Katie O'Malley |
Published on

As the UCAS application deadline closes at 6pm next Thursday (15th), anyone applying to uni is currently - and frantically - rereading personal statements, correcting spelling mistakes, rethinking adjectives ('Am I diligent or conscientious? WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO BE?') while slowly crumbling into a ball of misery in the attempt to cut everything down to a single page. Which is hard to do when you’re utterly fabulous.

But fear not! Reddit got a UCAS expert (cruelly referred to as ‘Happy Results Day’) to answer all your application questions that we have, usefully, reduced into five interesting tips to help you nail that application deadline. You can thank us in chocolate.

Lying won’t get you anywhere

Unsurprisingly you won’t get very far by lying in your applications ('So Miss Jones it says here you are a black belt in taekwando- how does that make you a suitable candidate?'), and missing out vital information from your academic report isn't a great idea either. One worried student asked Reddit if she could get away with missing out the fact she retook Year 12. Sadly, Universities have stupid systems that check up on pretty much everything - and it involves the uncanny ability to read calendars and notice when dates don't match up. The expert says: ‘I would recommend you be honest on the form, talk about it in your personal statement and give an explanation even if there isn't a great one. If there are good reasons and the University says they wouldn't take them into account then I would want to look elsewhere anyway.’ You tell ‘em! If a uni isn’t willing to take into account that shit happens sometimes, then they can stuff their place.

Universities exist outside the UK

Er duh! But sadly, an approximate 1% of UK students venture outside the island to study. Meanwhile, our European competitors have realized that not only does studying abroad make them way cooler and more employable, but actually richer! For example, studying is free in Denmark for students from the European Union and the government actually pays additional bonuses to students working part time. Hear that David Cameron? But, before you start imagining yourself throwing cash in the air while riding a bike through Copenhagen, Reddit’s expert warns that without a UCAS equivalent, ‘the negative is you have a lot of applications to navigate.’ Bo-oring.

Apply early

That’s a no brainer, right? Well no actually. A lot of students applying this year think that despite the official deadline, they can get away with applying late seeing as most universities won’t be filled until late summer. While this is true, Reddit advises: ‘The top courses at the top unis, and the smaller courses elsewhere, will generally close so try and get your application in by then if possible’. It’s also important to know that any application in after the 15th January doesn't have to be considered so get your skates on- just to be safe.

Be careful with gap yahs

If you’re one of many students opting to go ‘find yourself’ on a beach in Australia for the year before uni (not jealous at all, obviously), consider that applying while travelling might be a better option than a deferred entry. According to Reddit: ‘Applying for deferred entry would lower your offer chances.’ Don’t worry though, it is a big myth that gap years are detrimental to applications (maybe not if you spend the year doing body shots in ‘Ibiffah’). Gap years can be a great opportunity of showing a university that you can produce the grades AND back it up with amazing experiences which are sure to enrich an application!

Know your shit

Pretty simple. Competition for university places in recent years has unfortunately resulted in far more universities asking for applications and interviews with applicants- as if the UCAS form wasn’t bad enough! Happy Results Day gives some cracking tips to prepare for a university interview once the application is in- basically just know your stuff. Before the interview, find out its structure, know who you are, prepare some anecdotes to back up any skill, research the course and do a mock interview.

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Follow Katie on Twitter: @Kati30Malley

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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