How to get into university 🎓

Copied to clipboard

Going to university is a thought that plays a lot on students’ minds during school or college.

While it is not the right next stage of life for all, attending university is a great way to boost your employability and help you decide what future career is right for you.

However, getting into university is easier said than done and often it can be a stressful and anxious time knowing where to start with applications and getting accepted into your dream university and course.

If you’re in the process of applying to uni, we’ve put together 7 useful university application tips to help you get into your desired university.

If you’d like to write for our student and graduate blog programme and gain valuable copywriting experience, get in touch below.

Wondering how to get into university? We’ve put together 7 useful tips for how to be accepted onto your dream course and university…


1. Decide if you want to go to university

It may seem obvious, but the first place to begin is deciding whether university is right for you.

You might think because siblings or friends have spoken about university since the first day of secondary school, that there are no other options other than to attend university.

However, there are other options, such as full-time work, apprenticeships and college courses.

Consider what career path you’d like to take and be open-minded and proactive about what is the best option for you after college/sixth form. If you’re undecided about what career is right for you, take our what job should I do: career test.

It’s also never ‘too late’ to apply to uni after A-levels. If you decide to go straight into full-time employment and realise later that you’d like to attend university to further your career, you can always apply at a later date.

Attending university is a great way to enhance your job prospects. If you’re wondering ‘what are the best paid jobs in the UK?‘, visit our blog for a rundown of the best paid graduate jobs.


2. Choose your university and course

If you have decided that University is your desired next step, you should then decide on the course you want to study and where you want to study.

Even though there are options for conversion courses or post-grad studies in related, or unrelated, subjects after your undergraduate degree, you don’t want to be going to university unsure and unmotivated about your degree subject.

Think about what subjects you enjoyed at school and college, what you were good at and what any future roles you’re considering require.

Having a good idea of your target grades is beneficial in knowing what is realistic when applying for courses.

If you don’t have A-Levels, there are several other ways of getting into university without A-Levels, such as gaining relevant work experience, completing a Diploma, higher-level qualifications or a foundation degree course.

Although it is great to be ambitious, you want to be accepted onto your course, so apply to universities and courses that you feel confident in your prospects of being accepted.

Talking to your college or sixth form careers advisors is a great way to get university application help and help you decide what course and university to attend if you’re finding it hard making a decision.


3. Boost your CV

Whilst at school or college, try and do everything you can to boost your CV.

Volunteering, taking part  in a sports team, or carrying out extra-curricular activities are great ways to add skills and experience to your CV.

When writing your personal statement, you want to have something interesting that differentiates you from other students.

There are limited spaces on courses, and depending on which course you choose, some subjects are very competitive and will have a lot of students wanting to attend.

So having something that sets you apart from other candidates is great to discuss on your personal statement and set you apart from other candidates.

It’s also a good idea to gain experience or actively do something that highlights your interest in your chosen degree subject.

University admissions teams want to see that you’re genuinely interested in the subject. See if your school or college is promoting any special talks in your related subject, participate in a relevant online course or volunteer.

If you’re looking for places to volunteer, check out our blog for virtual volunteering ideas for students.

Even though it might seem laborious or time-consuming whilst still in education, it is a good idea to try and do something that makes you stand out on your CV.

Remember, that although grades are important, they are not everything – and universities, as well as employers, are going to be reviewing applications from a lot of students that have achieved good grades.

If you need help with your CV, be sure to visit our student and graduate CV hub which has a range of CV tips and free CV templates to download for a standout CV!


4. Take a year out to enhance your university application

Although it may seem counterintuitive, deferring your entry, or applying to university a year later, is a fantastic way to help you secure a place at university and help you prepare for student life.

Participating in an apprenticeships, or a part-time job are beneficial ways to gain valuable new skills, such as office experience, communication skills, independence, problem-solving abilities and learning to budget. These are also a great way to earn some extra money, which you will need at university, and also gain extra qualifications – such as a Diploma gained during an Apprenticeship.

Applying to uni after a gap year is a great way to demonstrate you have essential life skills that will benefit you in the workplace and can be included in your University application. As well as being a fantastic opportunity to become more cultured, learn a language, and become more aware of the world around you.

If you’re considering taking a year out to travel, check out our student written blog post all about the benefits of travelling and tips for volunteering abroad.

With that said, volunteering or taking a gap year isn’t always the best choice. In fact, it may end up being a waste of time, but you won’t know for sure unless you speak to a college admissions consultant. If you have good grades, your consultant may advise you to apply anyway.


5. Get a part-time job or voluntary work

During your studies, it’s a good idea to gain experience from a part-time job or voluntary work. This will provide you with experience in the working environment, as well as with desirable skills to include in University applications.

Often part-time jobs have flexible hours that you can structure around your studies to ensure that your study time and grades are not compromised.

Retail or working in hospitality are often popular part-time jobs for 16-18-year olds, but why not also consider options such as working at your local sports ground or writing for your local newspaper?

Just because the work is part-time does not mean that it has to be boring and it can be an opportunity to gain a better idea of the future roles that you would like to pursue.

For tips on how to manage a part-time job, check out our blog post for managing part time jobs whilst at university.


6. Work hard to achieve the required grades for your course

It goes without saying that the majority of universities require students to meet certain grade requirements. Achieving the expected grades will make you attractive for courses as it demonstrates that you perform well under academic pressure.

However, if you have already completed your A-Levels and have not achieved the grades for your course, don’t be disheartened as there are other options available to allow students to get into University.

Some universities offer unconditional places (where you are accepted onto your course regardless of the grades you achieve), and depending on the university and the course, grades may be flexible and similar courses may be available via clearing.

Applying to uni through clearing is a great way to still secure a place on the course you’re interested in, just at a different university.

If you find you’re procrastinating from your studies and it’s hindering your prospects of achieving your target grades, visit our blog for some top tips on how to stop procrastinating.


7. Write a convincing personal statement

A personal statement is a piece of written material that you submit to UCAS (the website used to apply to Universities across the UK), where you discuss why you want to apply for your chosen course, as well as promoting why the university should choose you as a student.

A strong, well-written, personal statement may be the safety net that allows you into university if your grades are not quite what you needed.

This is your opportunity to sell yourself, your skills and write about any of your extra-curricular activities and interests.

There are many resources available online on UCAS about how to write a personal statement alongside university application help.

It’s also beneficial to ask a teacher in the subject you are applying to study and college career mentors for advice and to read over your personal statement.

Remember that there are university application deadlines, so ensure that you submit your application on time!


If you need university application help, follow our university application guide to boost the chances of you getting accepted into your dream university and course.

Remember not to compare yourself to others, but focus on what career path you want to take in life and work towards achieving that at your own pace.

Was this post useful?