Three tips to help you to choose where to apply in the UK

Guides / UK

with the subject playing a key factor in your choice. Here are three top tips on how to go through the process:


1.       Choose what subject you wish to study


In the UK, in the vast majority of cases, you are applying to study one subject at university. With the UK UCAS application only allowing you to submit one essay (the ‘personal statement’), you therefore need to choose what you want to study before you start to choose the university.


At some point in the UK admissions process, there will have been an academic (such as a professor) setting the admissions standard, and the requirements for that particular subject may be different to those for other subjects. As a result, you need to choose the subject first.


2.       Understand what exam grades you already have or a likely to have.


Because you are being admitted to study a specified course, the university needs to know that you are academically qualified to that course. They test this by looking at what you have achieved, or your teachers predict you will go on to achieve, in external exams.


This is based on the UK system of A Levels, and university admissions officers find equivalents when they look at students taking other exams. So you will be asked to get a certain total points score in the IB Diploma (and perhaps in particular subjects), or in APs and SAT Subject Tests, or in whatever curriculum you are studying.


Within this, you will see that in most cases universities will specify their entry requirements for different courses. So to study Mechanical Engineering – for example – at one university they may say that you must have Physics and Maths to a certain level, and either achieved or predicted grades at a particular standard. If you don’t have these (or are close to them), then applying there would be a wasted application.


So, the matching procedure is as follows: I want to study this subject, and I have these grades: where will take me for that subject with those grades?


3.       Consider anything else that is important to you

Now that you have a list of where you can realistically apply, you can start to think of other criteria, for example:

·         Do I want a campus or city-based university?

·         Which part of the UK do I want to be in?

·         Are there any particular sports or extra-curricular activities I’d like to follow, and which universities are good for those?


From these, you should have a shortlist, from which you need to pick five: perhaps one ‘reach’ university asking for grades just above yours, three ‘match’ with the exact grades you have or expect to have, and one ‘safety’ asking for grades just below.


And if all of this is too complicated, please get in touch for help!