Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Last year, I remember attending 6th Form Assemblies and listening to all the notices being given to the Year 13s, and thinking, ‘wow… this stuff is getting kind of close, but I don’t understand any of it.’ Applying to university sounded like an impossible negotiation through codes I didn’t understand (LNAT, TSA, BMAT, UKCAT, MLAT) and honestly at that point I was worried I didn’t understand enough. I wasn’t really one of those people who had chosen their unis at the age of 15 or earlier and therefore had an intricate knowledge of what pieces of work needed to be submitted when. I knew what course I wanted to do, and that certainly wasn’t the case for everyone in my year; but when you’re exposed to reports of things going on with the year above it does still make you wonder if you’re doing enough. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d answer a few general questions about the process particularly oriented towards people who are looking at 2013 entry.

1) What preparations should I have done now (between 7 and 11 months prior to application deadlines?)
There’s nothing you must have done by now. At this point in the process the focus is rightfully on preparing for AS exams or the equivalent. Once the pressure is off after those exams, then if you feel like it you can start to wonder about personal statements, but there’s no obligation at all at this point! The main potentially useful thoughts are those regarding what subjects you might want to carry on into A2 – for example if at this point you have a slight leaning towards Economics, it’d be good to start nailing down Maths as one of your A2 choices. All the info about necessary subjects for various courses are easily available online if you want to Google it.

2) Was the process all the way I expected it to be?
I think in some ways it was easier than I expected. Looking at the admissions process from the outside it seems so intricate and confusing, but once you’re in your final year and actually get to the point where you need to do your application, people will try to help you out as much as possible and at most schools there are lots of resources available to help you out. If you’re at a school where there aren’t such resources available, teachers will always be happy to talk to you, and places like The Student Room can be very helpful in terms of advice – lots of people who are very experienced with admissions use it.

3) What would I have done differently?
There are two things I might have done differently. Firstly, I might have done a little more research into courses to apply to. Given that I’m applying for a combined course there are lots of variations on that course I could have considered that still contain much of the same content, but I focused mainly on the original combination, which limited my options a little bit. I also might have done a little more research into universities abroad if I’d had the opportunity, although lots of foreign unis require different sorts of entrance tests and preparations so maybe it’s good I didn’t explore that avenue in the end. There were also a few extra curricular activities I took up this year that on the one hand were useful as distractions, but on the other caused a bit of stress, so I might have been a bit more selective in terms of what other things I took up, looking back on it.

4) What are the best bits?
Applying to uni is really a much bigger deal than other vaguely similar things we’ve done in the past such as changing schools, so everyone ends up treating it differently and there’s an amazing sense of camaraderie amongst applicants. It’s also fantastic in that it broadens your horizons – throughout the rest of our years at school we’ve just focused on end of year exams and then the holidays as a break away from all that homework, but by the time you’re applying to university the focus is on moving on to the next stage of your education with a totally different system. I think you come out of it feeling a lot more confident about yourself and where you’re going in the end.

I hope that has been useful! As always, if you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below.



  1. Hi Emma, i have done electonics engineering 4 years course from indian uni. want to do masters in business administration from foreign university(US, Uk, Singapore). I am unaware of the process to apply, SOP and All and what scholarship i can get.

    i am searching it on internet, yet it will be helpful if u will brief me the outline.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    1. Hello! The process for applying to UK universities is done through a company called UCAS for UK residents and for internationals. The general application period for courses starting in September 2012 has now closed; you can still apply, but you won't be given equal consideration with other applicants and therefore won't be able to get onto very competitive courses. You can apply starting from late summer for courses with entry in September 2013. I don't know very much about if there will be anything specifically different for you, but UCAS will be very willing to answer questions, you can ask them on their Facebook page here: and they'll get back to you! Hope that helps :)

    2. The problem is, there is very little chance of Scholarship for non-EU students, and that only for Masters Degree. I have applied for an Undergraduate Engineering course in Computer Science this year but so far I've got one conditional and three rejects even if I've got more than 90% equivalent marks in my Secondary Examinations.

      So, yes, it's difficult. I'd like to know more about financial options available for me, though.

  2. Hey Emma. I'm Steven, a student in Singapore, about to pursue a Diploma in Law awarded by the University of London, at the ITC School of Laws, Singapore. I understand that UCAS is the portal through which all applications to universities in the UK are made, and so I am writing this to you in hopes of clarifying a few doubts I have regarding higher studies in the UK.

    The reason I have decided to pursue a Diploma in Law is because my A Level results (which I had procured prior to my National Service in Singapore in 2009) are nowhere close to remarkable, which basically means that I have virtually no chance of getting accepted into a prestigious university in the UK if I depend on those results alone. I have therefore decided to spend an extra year doing this diploma to increase my chances of gaining admission to a university of my choice. However, despite all the online research I have done so far, I am still unsure of which universities even consider this diploma in undergraduate applications, let alone consider it for scholarship purposes. I would greatly appreciate if you could advise me on which universities I can apply for admission to with this Diploma in Law, and which universities offer scholarships to student who procure outstanding results in this diploma (in other words, which universities offer scholarships to students who manage to get a merit or distinction in this diploma). My course starts on the 16th of April this year, so if you advise against taking this diploma for the purpose of admissions to good universities in the UK, I shall consider other options.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    1. Hello Steven! I think it's great that you're doing this diploma, and that you value my opinion in this way :) I have to admit I'm not an expert in where different qualifications are accepted. However, the undergraduate admission teams are more than willing to help out with queries about the suitability of qualifications internationally and they will be able to explicitly tell you how they will regard this diploma. All you'll have to do is get their emails and contact them to ask, they will definitely email back and be able to sort our your worries directly.

      I suggest going here: and looking at all the unis listed (this is the Law league table for UK universities). If you click on the name of any of the unis on the left, it will take you to a profile page for that uni. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, it has a 'For Further Information' table and then should have an email for the admissions department. I'm sure if you email these unis in this way, or by Googling the Law subject-specific department contact information, they'll be able to help you out.

      Best of luck!

  3. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u...