Applying through UCAS? It’s only the start of November, so there’s plenty of time left, right? Here UCAS Consultant Kirsty Ridyard BA Oxon, MA Oxon, shares with you why you might want to move your application up your list of priorities.

“At the start of Year 13, I always say to my students, “Year 13 goes like that,” and I snap my fingers. For this I tend to receive a classful of cynical looks, though normally by now students are starting to wonder how they are meant to balance a colossal workload with extracurricular activities, while making major life decisions such as submitting a UCAS application. It’s daunting. All too often, that latest draft of your personal statement slides beneath resit revision and homework projects. I urge you to make sure you get your application finished and sent as soon as you possibly can. Here are five reasons why.

  1. Personal Statements Always Take Longer Than You Think

In over 20 years of helping students with UCAS applications, I have never yet seen a perfect first draft of the personal statement. Yours may indeed be the one exception, but it’s more likely that it will need several revisions before it’s ready. You hand it in, your advisor looks at it & gets back to you in a few days, you take a few more days to revise it & hand it in again… Repeat this a few times… Before you know it, another month has passed and the dratted thing is still not finished.

  1. Clicking “Pay / Send” Does Not Send Your Application to UCAS

A common assumption is that it does. But alas, no. It just means that your UCAS advisor can now send it (theoretically they will check it through one last time for you first!). However, they need to write your reference, which normally involves obtaining a short written reference from your teachers & perhaps your form teacher. However, that’s several people to co-ordinate, and life has a fun habit of getting in the way. A teacher may be ill, or even have to leave at short notice. One year around this time, I damaged my back, and spent a week off school on extremely strong painkillers, totally unable to respond to the frantic wailings of my suddenly-desperate UCAS applicants…

  1. Universities are Making Offers to Students Right Now

Last year we sent one of my applicants’ UCAS form at the end of September, and an offer arrived the next morning! It was fantastic to see the boost it gave to his self-confidence and motivation. Would you rather an admissions tutor read your application now, or later, as part of the December-January deluge?

  1. Your Time Will be Freed Up

You have predicted grades to achieve. The more time you have to study, the more likely you are to achieve them!

  1. It’s Your Life

University applications are, for many students, the first big life decision they have to make. It’s scary, and unfair, but as we can’t do much about it, it’s right that you should rise to the challenge, and take responsibility for this essential decision – now, as it won’t be any less difficult later on. And tough and complicated though it might be, there’s help all around you in the shape of your family, your school, and organisations such as ourselves. Seek advice, ask questions – and get that application finished as soon as you possibly can!