Compiled by Ross Hunter
PASSPORT’s summer education briefing comes just before the clock starts ticking for 2012 applications. If this is your target, you need to be getting good advice, talking to Universities and if at all possible visiting some. Potential students should devote a good part of August to working on their “personal statements”, CV (curriculum vitae/resume) and art portfolios. The personal statement needs several drafts, with school help. CVs need to show how diverse, interesting and well-rounded you are. Improve your guitar playing, read those books you always meant to READ (NOT just set texts), develop that hobby or skill, from archery to ornithology to photography to the xylophone...
This month we offer advice on how UCAS works.
Kingston University London
The Universities & Colleges Admissions Service is the organisation responsible for processing applications to full-time undergraduate degree courses at UK universities and colleges. Most UK universities require applications via UCAS for undergraduate courses.
Students can apply to up to five courses via UCAS online www.ucas.com, and it costs £21. Applications start in September, with courses such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary sciences usually closing in mid-October. For all other courses the deadline is 15 January, but it is better to apply by November. The UCAS website has full listings of course specific deadlines. UCAS expect most decisions on applications by the end of March and no later than mid May.
As part of the application process students provide their personal details including information about their current qualifications and employment history. They must also write a personal statement and provide an academic reference to support their application. The personal statement is a vital part of the application: an opportunity to explain in 500 words why they have chosen that particular course, what skills and achievements they have and their future career hopes.
Decisions will either be unconditional or conditional upon gaining certain grades in their exams, such as BBC/220 points at A-level or 24 points at IB . Once all the decisions have been made applicants accept up to two offers, one as a firm acceptance and the other as an insurance acceptance. Any remaining offers are automatically declined by UCAS. Final confirmation is usually completed by August.
If a student does not meet the conditions of their offers or does not have a place they can enter “UCAS Clearing”. Clearing happens between mid-July and September, but especially in the days following A-level results, in mid August. It is a process where students without offers can approach universities that still have places available. A list of which universities have Clearing vacancies is published on the UCAS website from mid-August as well as on individual university websites and in the national press.