After you’ve logged into UCAS Apply, you’ll be greeted with a series of tabs at the side of the window:
As far as application processes go, UCAS is pretty idiot proof. Please note how there’s a key at the bottom which explains the changes in the boxes next to each option in the sidebar. At the end of every section you need to select the ‘completed’ box at the bottom of the webpage in order to submit your application. Personal Details involves the usual filling in of names, contact information and entry into UK rubbish, which is manageable unless you have a brain the size of a peanut – in which case you shouldn’t be applying for university anyway.
Choices is a bit more dodgy on the other hand. As explained in the overview, you get 5 choices if you choose either all non-medicine courses or a combination of medicine and non-medicine courses (example: Medicine in Cambridge, KCL and Imperial and Biology in KCL and Imperial) and 4 choices if they’re all medicine courses. In order to fill out this part you’d (obviously) need to have done some research beforehand. First you need to key in the university of your choice which is the easy bit. When it comes to keying in the course selection however, things get a bit dodgier. When doing your reseach you’ll notice how the UCAS code is usually included. Please take note of this, write it down somewhere or something. This is important because you might up signing up for the wrong course. For example for UCL the code for BSc in Chemistry is F100 while MSc for Chemistry is F101.
Education is again the usual jibjab of things. Enter in your current school name where you plan to/have obtained your latest qualifications from and your last school. In my case I entered in my Junior College and my Secondary School and the relevant qualifications obtained from there for each subject I sat for (IB and O Levels respectively). Singaporean students please note that you should use the qualification under ‘Singapore-Cambridge’ (or something similar) O levels when keying in qualifications and not the usual ‘O’ Levels. Also please put the examining body as SEAB (Singapore Examinations and Assessments Board). Please note that you can also enter in your SAT grades if you so wish. For applications that are sent before results have been obtained please do not enter in your predicted grade but instead leave it as ‘pending’ or some other synonym (I’m doing this from memory, from something submitted 4 months ago – excuse me).
Employment. This is the option that I wager will most likely go unfilled. It’s also pretty straightforward – Employer name and position and etc. However as most people will likely not have any experience, it is critical that you remember to select the box at the bottom of the page that says ‘completed’ even if you haven’t keyed in anything into the available boxes.
Statement – the bane of all students. The full name of this section is Personal Statement, yes it’s the dreaded oft complained about PS. Basically for this section you need to write about yourself, your interest and why you’re interested in that particular course – all in less than 4000 characters, not words. Take note that this is the same statement that every university sees, so if you’re applying to Medicine in one university and Film Studies in another it’s going to look pretty absurd to the admittance tutor unless you find some sort of a way to weave them in (“my interest is in filming human bodies…”). This is the most important section of the lot and I cannot stress this any more. A good idea would be to exchange personal statements with other applicants or force it on some unwitting relative to comment and criticise. Do remember that this is the only section where you can emphasise how utterly unique! amazing! and awesome! you are compared to the other candidates and why you should get the place instead of them.
Useful Personal Statement Links:
The Student Room Forum
References can also be quite annoying because they mean you need to ask your teacher to write a recommendation for you, which is good if you have a good relationship but horrifying if you and your teacher have had a dodgy past. It’s best to ask your subject teacher to write your reference for you (for example asking your Literature teacher to write for you if you’re applying for Literature) and not some other teacher that teaches a irrelevant subject that you happen to be chummy with. It may sometimes be advisable to print this for them in case they have no idea what they’re supposed to do and are too embarrassed to ask and instead come up with some rubbish (I’ve had experience with this).
Another really straightforward section, all that Payment entails is you running to get your parents credit card. Pretty simply really. Do take note that after payment your application is done and sent to UCAS/the universities you applied. Access your new information from UCAS Track.
Application deadline for UCAS applicants to Oxbridge is the 15th October. This means that you need to fill up all the others bits before that. I’m not sure whether other university options can be added at a later date but UCAS track appears to have an option available. The final submission for all other universities is 15th January of the following year. Take note that you can still apply if you’ve missed the 15th Jan deadline, but universities are not obliged to read your application.
Candidates who are applying for Law and Medicine need to sit for aptitude tests regardless the university you’re applying for. Law candidates need to sit for LNAT while Medicine candidates need to sit for either UKCAT or BMAT or both. The difference between UKCAT and BMAT is that while UKCAT is accepted by most universities, those universities who consider themselves more ‘elite’ often require students to sit for the far pricier BMAT in order to be considered for admittance. This lot includes Oxbridge, Imperial, Royal Veterinary College and UCL. More imformation about the tests can be obtained from googling your local British Council.
Interviews are more commonly conducted for UK students only unless you’re an international student who is applying for Medicine. You must be prepared to fly to the UK during the interview period (usually December to February the following year I think). This is different however for all International Oxbridge applicants who apply for international interviews. Again, if you’re interested in applying for Oxbridge, please read this next page.