Applying through UCAS – My Story

Student blogger Debbie Andrews talks us through her University Application Experience:

Back in 2017 when I began considering starting a degree course, I vaguely knew the name UCAS and that it had something to do with University applications. However, as the first person in my house to attend university, I had no idea what the process was.

So, I attended an open day, here at Worcester. The warm welcome, the appearance of the campuses and the information I gained made a great impression. I emailed the course admissions tutor the same day with my last remaining questions, and a series of email exchanges followed. The responses I received assured me I was taking the right decision and I was excited to think I will be applying to University.  But what do I do now?

Unlike most applicants I was not in full-time education but working as a teaching assistant in a primary school. I had no careers service or form tutor to guide me. I needed help, so I started exploring the UCAS website.

UCAS was so useful. I told me all the how, when and what I needed to take me through each step of the application process. I set up an account and started my application.

I entered all my qualifications, even those I took in school years ago, thank goodness I knew where all those certificates were in the back of the wardrobe (never throw your certificates away!). UCAS knows thousands of qualifications which makes entering them quick and simple but it does ask for all the modules, which for my BTECs was a lot.  One professional level qualification I had taken had since been replaced, but I was able to navigate round this and I still entered it.

I moved onto employment and entered my last 5 employers.  There seems to be a lot less emphasis on employment history, which is a shame for more mature applicants like me who value their work experience. But so be it, keep going… personal statement next!

UCAS gives lots of guidance on why this part is so important and what it should contain. One tip I picked up was if you say you enjoy reading as a hobby, give the details of the book you’re currently reading and even better if it is relevant to your course. Despite this, it took me ages to compose, rewrite and hone my statement, before I was happy.  My daughter says she even remembers me working on it during her ballet lesson. We’ve got a few blogs about writing personal statements including “How to Write a Personal Statement” if you’re stuck.

Christmas was approaching and I had set myself the target of finishing this application by early January, two weeks before the deadline. I needed a referee. The class teacher, I worked with had recently graduated and offered to write my reference for me.

Nearly finished! Just need to select my course, using the code printed in Worcester’s prospectus and pay the application fee. As I was only willing to attend Worcester, I paid the lower fee for one University choice. Submit and done! Relax….

….No, not yet.

UCAS was contacting my referee. What she wrote was perfect, relevant to my course not my job, and so lovely it bought tears to my eyes. UCAS then handled sending the application and the reference to the University and emailed me whenever something happened. Worcester was quick to respond and by the beginning of April I had been offered and, most importantly, accepted an unconditional place.

The application process was over, come September I was to be a University student!

That was my story, maybe yours is different? If you are applying to more than one University you might have a firm choice or an insurance choice picked out when you make your applications. Whatever happens, thousands of people apply through UCAS each year and the process is not nearly as difficult as I’d expected!

Debbie 🙂

Like this blog? You can Also read about “Experiences with Clearing” and “The PGCE Application Progress