Study in UK series: How to Start Your UK Application?

If you’re an SAS student, you’re in great hands by our school counselors who can help you throughout the entire process. Applying for UK schools may appear daunting at first, yet it is actually a much more simple process than one can imagine. I personally knew nothing when starting my application to UK schools; but with consistent research and effort, I found myself finished with UK apps before any of my US schools. While I’m not a college counselors, I have applied to 4 UK schools and got accepted to all four of them with an unconditional offer so my guidance may be of some help. UK apps are actually a very simple application process that needs no further explanation that what I will inform you today.

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UCAS is the “Common App” of the UK which means that this will be the platform you use to do any applying and tracking of schools in the UK. To begin, if you are keen about going to university in the UK, letting your counselors know as early as possible will help you in the long run. This is because your counselors are the ones who can help guide you on course selections and club/activities you should join which will all help you in your application process.

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Since UK schools use AP assessments for American system based education schools like SAS, achieving high scores on your AP exams will become a plus factor. “While US schools pay close attention to other factors like extracurricular and essays, UK universities tend to place a heavier emphasis on standardized scores” states Crimson Education. Each program of study has a different expectation level of standardized grades which mean that you may be expected to earn 3 5’s on your AP exam or 5 5’s on your exam. That, however, doesn’t mean you should only place your focus on your studies as extracurriculars come into play when you write what you call a personal statement. “A personal statement is basically a short college essay where you write reasons as to why you are keen on studying a certain course, what you did throughout your life (especially your last high school years) to make you want to study that course, as well as some things about you that make you an awesome candidate for that university,” states UCAS. Unlike US schools that often prefer creative and original essays, the UCAS personal statement is more structured. This is why if you are someone having trouble coming up with original ideas, a UCAS application may not be too bad. For UCAS, you are given the option to apply to five courses. You, thankfully, only need to write one personal statement. This given said, if you are applying for courses that are unrelated to each other such as medicine and law, it may be harder for you to write a convincing personal statement that goes in depth about who you are while explaining the reasons for why you are choosing such different programs. Many often think that the option that applying to five courses means that you can only apply to one course for one university. This is not true. You are allowed to apply to two or even up to five different programs offered in one university. 

Once you’ve submitted your applications, congratulations!

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Few to several months after you submit your UCAS application, you will hear back from the programs you applied for one by one. There are two types of offers you will receive: conditional or unconditional. UCAS quotes, “Conditional means you are still expected to send more scores in to prove your ability.” This can mean taking more AP exams or doing the TOEFL exam to prove your English proficiency. “Unconditional means that you are set and ready to go.” Your requisites have been met and there will be no further score expectations from you. Unconditional offers often excite people as it means a more relaxing second semester for you!

Lastly, you will be given a date to select your final choice program out of those you’ve been offered. Select your program of choice by the deadline, click confirm and you’re ready to go! Yay!

While UCAS apps may have sounded daunting in the past, I hope my article helped break down the steps and processes involved with the application. If you are still waiting for your grades on exams, best of luck to you.

Author: Angela Hwang

Angela Hwang is a junior at Singapore American School and this is her second year working for The Eye. She is thrilled to return back to journalism and wants to produce more exciting content for the upcoming year. Angela embraces her Korean background, but considers Singapore her home. Her hobbies include taking aesthetic photographs, collecting CDs from her favorite artists, and travelling to some of the most majestic places on earth. She can be contacted at hwang41112@sas.edu.sg.

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