Unsuccessful Applicants: Advice For Applying to a University

Unsuccessful Applicants: Advice For Applying to a University

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Last Updated: January 14th 2019

Applying to university can be difficult and unfortunately not everybody is successful the first time they apply. If you really wish to attend university then it is important not to get disheartened as there are many steps you can take to enable you to submit a much stronger application second time around.

1. Qualifications

If your qualifications fall short of what a university is asking then you should consider studying further qualifications or see if there is a way you can improve on what you have gained (for example by retaking exams). There are a large number of qualifications recognised by UCAS and Newman University and we accept a number of non-traditional qualifications for entry. You should consult the relevant Entry Profiles on the UCAS website for advice on appropriate qualifications you could take. If you do decide to take further qualifications then your local college of further education may be able to assist you with this.

Some courses have requirements for specific GCSE subjects; if you do not possess these then it is important you gain them before submitting a second application. Many colleges and adult education centres offer opportunities to take these exams at different times throughout the academic year. You must also check exactly which qualification is required as often ‘equivalent’ exams can be taken that are not recognised by your chosen university.

2. Experience

Courses that lead to professional accreditation (for example Initial Teacher Education or Youth Work courses) have a requirement of experience in a relevant sector. Embarking on a degree course is a big undertaking and involves serious commitment; it is likely to benefit your application if Admissions Tutors can see that you are committed to the course by undertaking voluntary experience for example. It is important that this experience is recent and that you mention it clearly in your personal statement. If your experience is not explicitly mentioned in your statement then it may be assumed that you do not have this. If you are called for an interview, your reflections on this experience will be form an important part of the discussion. If you are unsuccessful due to having limited experience in a particular area then it will help your application if you have relevant experience before resubmitting your application.

3. Personal Statement

Your personal statement is your main chance to shine. This small piece of writing will be the only real glimpse an Admissions Tutor will have of you when deciding whether to call you for interview or make an offer. It is vital that your statement is well written, using appropriate language and that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. If your application was unsuccessful for this reason then you would need to speak to your school or college as we are unable to provide further information regarding this. It is also important that your statement reflects the course you are applying for. Further advice regarding writing a personal statement is available on the UCAS website, www.ucas.com.

4. Reference

Your reference should support your application for the course you are applying for and your referee should be able to comment on your suitability for the course. If you are currently in education then the most appropriate person would be one of your tutors. If you have undertaken a relevant placement then an alternative would be somebody from that organisation. If you are really stuck as to who should act as your referee then you can find further advice on the UCAS website. Applications submitted without references are often not accepted at many universities and will slow down the application process for you.

5. Success for the Future

There is no guarantee that a second application would secure you a place but you must make sure you address the reasons given by the university as to why you were unsuccessful the first time. If you are unsure as to why you were not successful then you should contact the university to obtain further feedback. It is usually best to do this in writing. Higher Education is highly competitive and demand exceeds places available but the important thing is not to give up and consider carefully the reasons why you were unsuccessful in order that your next application is successful.

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