Our top tips for applying to university

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With all this extra time on your hands, now is the perfect time to ensure you have an outstanding application for your preferred institution! Our Student Recruitment experts here at the University of Birmingham Dubai have visited many schools across the region and are going to share their top tips on applying to university:

1. Be organised! Do your research on your preferred institutions. What does each application entail? When are the deadlines? Do you need to get references, sit additional tests, attend interviews? Allow yourself enough time to have someone you trust proof-read your personal statement and application, give feedback, and to make possible amendments – this is your future and not something you want to rush at the last minute.

2. Think about your extra-curricular activities -  universities are looking for more than just good grades.  Can you demonstrate you are a well-rounded person of many talents? Do you play any sports? Do you hold a position of responsibility at school? Have you got any artistic or creative pursuits? Do you volunteer? Have you got work or internship experience? What have been your biggest achievements to date?

3. Can you demonstrate a genuine interest in your chosen subject? If you’re drafting a personal statement, are you showing passion for topics related to the field of study? Are there any projects you have undertaken that you can talk about, or additional books that you have read in your own time on related subjects, outside of those that were required at school? Are your references related to these subjects and can they talk specifically about your enthusiasm and interest in these areas? Make sure you talk about what attracted you to the subject, what excites you about studying it and your goals and aspirations.

4. Highlight your interpersonal skills and critical thinking. It’s not just about your academic excellence, it’s about the softer skills and critical thinking you have developed whilst studying. What are your strengths? Do you enjoy research, presenting, leadership, teamwork, independent investigation, analysis? What really stands out for you, and can you talk confidently about this?

5. Research the institution and show your knowledge and excitement at the prospect of attending. What could you contribute to the student community there? Is there a specific highlight about that particular institution or campus that appeals to you?

6.  Play to your strengths! Now is the time to convince your preferred university that you would be a worthwhile addition to their student body and if there are limited spaces why you are the best applicant, it’s not the time to be modest. Don’t be tempted to exaggerate or be dishonest about your abilities and achievements, saying you speak fluent French when you are unable to hold a conversation in the language!

7. Get those applications in – you’ve got to be in it to win it, so be confident and bold. What’s the worst that can happen?

You’ll be spending the next few years of your life studying your chosen subject at university, it’s where you’ll make friends for life and develop key experiences and skills, so you need to make sure you choose wisely. Once you’ve chosen, do all you can to make your application strong, so that you stand a strong chance of spending this critical time at a place you really want to be.

Why not join our online Open Day on Saturday 21st March from 14:00 – 18:00, where you can listen to our Head of Student Recruitment, Chris Taylor, give advice on the perfect personal statement!