12 Feb 2024
The UCAS application process can be confusing and daunting for some students. We have created a guide to help students navigate the process confidently and with ease. This document has been made in order to help Chiswick School students all with the entire UCAS application process. In it you will find help on how to complete the application form, how to write your personal statement, and other helpful information. This should be the first place to look for guidance as it has been made specifically for Chiswick School students. Nevertheless, our UCAS team can be contacted through email if you struggle with any aspect of the application.
In addition to this guide there will be a number of online presentations to further help you prepare a brilliant application for university. Students need to check both their school email and the website for any updates. The sooner students can get your application together the better as it will enable us to review or submit applications earlier which we deem as providing an advantage to applicants. If you are not planning on making an university application (e.g. you wish to do an apprenticeship) could you please contact the Sixth Form Team so we can make sure you have the right help for your future pathway.
Throughout the personal statement guide we have favoured giving as much information and examples as possible as many of you will not have seen one of these before, but it is extremely important that your application is personal to you. Please do use the examples as inspiration but do not plagiarize any of your application as it will result in that application being deleted.
Good luck with your applications. There are many other online resources to help you. The new UCAS portal has a lot of information for students as does Unifrog.
Choosing a course and university
Some of you will already have an idea about what you want to apply for and where, others may not. This part of the process is really down to you. Of your 5 choices you should be aiming to have: 1-2 aspirational choice(s), 2 solid choices, 1-2 backup choices.
The Unifrog the ‘Searching for Opportunities' section breaks down your possible destinations based on your likely grades. Be realistic with yourselves, you will be amazed about how many great options are out there! https://www.unifrog.org/student/home.
Unifrog will send you to the relevant university websites once you have chosen a course. Alternatively, you can start by searching on the University websites.
You can search for courses directly on the UCAS website. Here you can save favourites by signing in or creating an account. The interface is not as user friendly as Unifrog but it is an option. They update their search tool with courses starting in 2021 on 20th May 2020. https://www.ucas.com/ucas/16-18-choices/getting-started.
If you have any other specific questions about a university please send us an email!
This is an easy but time-consuming part of the application. Firstly you need to make sure you have registered with UCAS. For your application you need to enter a number of personal and application details. They come under the following categories: Personal details, Choices, Additional information, Education, Employment, and Student finance. Broadly these are straightforward and personal to you. However there are some common mistakes you can avoid.
Under ‘Personal Details’ there is a section ‘Student Support’ that asks for your fee code. You should select: 02 UK, Chl, IoM or EU student finance services.
Enter any relevant information regarding your personal circumstances and contact Ms. Rider if you have any issues regarding this.
This question relates to whether your parent(s) attended university. Some bursaries/ contextual offers require this information.
Please enter all subjects you have studied and received a qualification in and the date. For your current courses of study enter the completion date and then put the grade as 'Pending'. This allows us to enter predicted grades. If you study a BTEC at Chiswick it is a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma if it is a double option, or an Extended Certificate if it is a single option. Further guidance will be sent regarding exam boards for your exams (although hopefully you know these already!). Ms Young, Examinations Officer can give you the BTEC registration number needed.
Personal Statement Guidance 2023/24
Finally it is time to write your personal statement. Remember it must be specific to YOUR application and YOU. You will already have lots of great experiences and ideas to write about without realising! Here are some ideas to help you in your writing process.
Writing your Personal Statement ≈ 500 words
Writing your Personal Statement - Introduction
Short section which outlines which course you are applying for and why (50-100 words)
Recently I applied, and was successfully selected, to attend a conference on ‘Populism and International Politics’ at LSE, this provided an insight to the debates within International Relations, this lead to me conducting further research around the subject such as reading Zideks article in ‘The Economist’ that has instilled in me a determination to make the study of Politics and International Relations part of my future.
Writing your Personal Statement - Paragraph 1
Why are you suitable for the course AND why is the course suitable for you? (150-200 words)
My academic study of A-level Biology has ingrained in me an appreciation of the wider discipline of Biology. I have learnt to treat all areas of the course with academic rigour, regardless of my preexisting interest. I also find independent research rewarding, enjoying the possibilities of learning outside the remit of the curriculum in a recent project...
Writing your Personal Statement - Paragraph 2
Why will you be a good university student generally? (100-150 words)
My recent employment in a Michelin star restaurant as ‘job title’ has instilled in me the values of commitment and flexibility. The examples set by the dedicated team there have shown the reward and satisfaction that working hard and being headstrong can bring. It has also helped me with skills such as time management and prioritising of my responsibilities...
Writing your Personal Statement - Conclusion
End briefly by summarising the main points and saying what makes you unique. (50-75 words)
I am also extremely excited about the prospect of studying psychology, and truly broadening my knowledge of the subject and whilst my current aspiration to pursue a career down the clinical route has been fuelled by my recent studies and work experience, I relish the opportunity to either create the foundations for this or to experience the world of psychology as a whole.
Writing your Personal Statement - Final Check
- ***SPELLING AND GRAMMAR.
- Use paragraphs.
- Don’t mention specific university names if you are applying to more than one.
- Be polite, professional and formal.
- Don’t lie.
At this point your part of the application should be complete. Check your application and ensure you have chosen the correct courses, entered the correct fee code, and completed all relevant sections. The next stage will be for your subject teachers and tutors to enter a personalised reference for each of you. Once this has been done you will need to Pay and Send your application. This will only be approved by Ms. Rider or Mr. Williams once a full check of the application has been conducted.
Information for University College Admissions Teams
Chiswick School Contextual information
Chiswick school is a mixed 11-18 school in the borough of Hounslow that is truly comprehensive in its nature. The school has around 1,500 students of which 460 are in the Sixth Form. The school intake is extremely diverse including 33% of students who are disadvantaged and 36% are EAL, well above the national average. In addition to this 21% have a SEND need.
At Chiswick School, predicted grades have been made by subject specific teachers. The predictions have been primarily informed by a series of mock exams which replicate JCQ requirements. They also account for the teacher's first-hand experience of the students' attitude to learning both in class and independently since September 2022. Staff have followed the guidance issued by UCAS when estimating these which suggests that they should be ‘aspirational but achievable’. Where students applied to university before the 15th October ‘Early Entry’ deadline, the grades were informed by the series of exams that took place at the end of Year 12.
Students at Chiswick School Sixth Form study on one of three possible pathways; an A-Level pathway, a mixed pathway, or a vocational pathway. These are decided by an average GCSE grade score. The vocational courses we offer are BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificates, OCR Level 3, and the WJEC Level 3 Applied Diploma.