Your UCAS application is not something to be taken lightly, especially if you’re applying to a very competitive University.

Guest Blog Provided by writer Josh Booth

It’s just a few clicks, a few drop-down menus and a few copy and paste jobs, right? Essentially, yes, but for many of us, this is the most daunting online form one could ever wish to fill out. With your UCAS application, there’s a very real sense that the most minute error could destroy your hopes and dreams.

You need not be paranoid about what you see on the screen somehow being different to what the admissions officer sees at the other end – all you can do is ensure that the application is as close to perfect as possible.

A good place to start with this is research. We’re hoping that before applying to a particular course at a particular institution, you have subjected both to rigorous scrutiny, ensuring that you’re not going to arrive and be disappointed. This should mean that you’ve developed a great deal of enthusiasm for this application. Does this shine through? It should! A bit of flattery never hurts either, but don’t go overboard – this is supposed to be about you.

Make sure that you get your personal details right in your UCAS application

Sounds a bit obvious doesn’t it? Well, that’s entirely the problem – you’ll probably be on autopilot when filling out your name, address, etc. which can certainly lead to mistakes. No University will take you seriously if you can’t spell your own surname or hometown. Every last detail of your application should be checked, re-checked and checked by as many willing eyes as possible.

Your personal details should also not only be accurate, but honest. Do not, under any circumstances, lie about your grades or experiences. Just like in a job application, you may be asked to actually prove your claims – be it before or after your application is sent off, you will be found out and you could pay a heavy price. You only get one shot at a UCAS application every year, so don’t waste yours by lying, unwittingly or otherwise. Check, check and check again.

The aspect that will surely require the most checking, though, is your personal statement. Having spent several months lovingly crafting it, you’re probably loathe to edit it too much and maybe even bored of reading it over and over again. But you can’t read it enough – even if it means adding a single comma, it could make all the difference to an application closely tied with another. You have no idea how competitive some university places can be. Again, just like a job application, spelling, grammar and syntax errors will be frowned upon.

The recurring theme throughout this blog has been one of checking and revising. Generally, that’s what you’ve got to do – no matter how mind-numbingly repetitive and dull it gets, your thoroughness will pay off should you locate that one mistake that stands between you and a place at the University of your dreams.