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The Christmas countdown is on ... and it's temping to slide right into holiday mode now that term has ended (admit it, you've probably finished that tub of chocolates already!). But if you are yet to submit your UCAS application, why not end the year on a high and get the job done this side of Christmas? You'll certainly thank yourself afterwards and can enjoy the feeling of ticking one more thing off your list. Here are our five steps to getting your university application over the line:

1. Register with UCAS

If you haven’t already done this, you need to register with UCAS before you can apply. Once you’ve registered you’ll need to go through and fill in each section. You’ll need to include things like your education history and qualifications. You can still register even if you haven’t decided on where or what you want to study, and you don’t need to complete your application all in one go, so there are no excuses not to get this started now!

2. Submit your university choices on UCAS

Once you’ve narrowed down your university choices, you’ll need to submit them on UCAS. You can apply to up to five universities, and if you can, we’d recommend applying to five to give yourself plenty of options. You won’t be asked to submit your choices in order of preference (that comes later), and the universities won’t be able to see where else you’ve applied until you reply to your offers. You’ll need to submit your university choices in the ‘Choices’ section of the application and for each one, you’ll need to ‘add a choice’ and select the university, the course you want to apply for and when you’d like to start.

3. Write your personal statement

You may have been putting off this part of your application because it’s probably the most time-consuming part – we understand that it can feel a bit daunting. But remember, no one knows you better than yourself, and this is your chance to tell universities why you should be at their institution. But, where to start? We’d recommend making a list of all the things you want to include and organising this list into headings to help you structure your personal statement (it’ll also help you to stick within the word limit!). Read our full guide to writing your personal statement here.

4. Get a reference

You’ll need to get a reference before you can send off your application to your chosen universities. So, what is a reference and how do you get one? For the purpose of your UCAS application, a reference is a written recommendation from someone who knows you from an academic perspective. That person will need to be able to talk about your work, how you interact with your peers and your suitability for your chosen course.

If you’re applying through your school or college, you won’t need to request a reference; a teacher or tutor will write this for you and attach it to your application (you won’t have access to this so you won’t need to do anything for it). Before the reference section is completed, make sure you have completed all of the other sections (including the pay and send section) so that your tutor can review your application and send it to UCAS. And that’s you sorted!

If you’re applying independently, getting a reference works a little differently. First, you’ll need to choose somebody to be your referee. This person needs to know you really well, perhaps a tutor at a previous school or college, or an employer (not a family member or friend). Next, you’ll need to get in contact with them and check that they’re happy to provide you with a reference. If they’re happy to do so, you’ll need to update their details on your application so that UCAS can get in touch with them for your reference (how you do this will differ depending on who you’ve chosen as your referee). You can find more information about updating your application with your referee details here.

5. Submit your application

If you’re completing your application independently, make sure you’ve completed all of the sections and paid the application fee to UCAS. You can then submit your application. And that’s it! Done! It’s time to put your feet up and enjoy Christmas.

If you have any questions about the application process, or about student life at Chester, check our website for more information, and don’t forget you can also chat online with staff and students.


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