UCAS GUIDANCE

21 09 28.Chiswick School 6th Form.0727
In this section...

The UCAS application process can be confusing and daunting for some students. The purpose of this guide is to help you navigate the process confidently and with ease. This document has been made in order to help you 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 you 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. Please ensure you are checking both your school email and the website for any updates. We are hoping to take advantage of this period of amended schooling to get ahead with your applications. The sooner you 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 either Mr. Williams so we can make sure you have the right help for your future pathway.

Throughout the personal statement guide I have favoured giving you 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.

This year you will be using Unifrog to help prepare your applications. This platform will also be your first port of call for choosing your universities or courses to apply too. 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.  Universities are also doing a lot of virtual open days and tours so please have a look at these too.

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.

*Unifrog

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.

University websites/prospectuses

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.

UCAS

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!

Application details

This is an easy but time-consuming part of the application. Firstly you need to make sure you have registered with UCAS. You'll be able to register and start your UCAS Undergraduate application in our Apply 2021 system from 19th May 2020. 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.

Fee code

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.

Disability

Enter any relevant information regarding your personal circumstances and contact either CWM if you have any issues regarding this.

Parental education

This question relates to whether your parent(s) attended university. Some bursaries/ contextual offers require this information.

Education

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 2020-21

Finally it is time to write your personal statement. This guide is designed to help you think about the information that you could include in your personal statement to support your application. 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. However...

… DO NOT PLAGIARISE YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT!

Writing your Personal Statement ≈ 500 words

Writing your Personal Statement - Introduction

Introduction

Short section which outlines which course you are applying for and why (50-100 words)

  • A particular moment that made you interested in a particular area
    • Trip to Africa - Created interest in infectious disease
    • Visiting speaker - Gripping speech about International relations

Or

  • Personal experience leading to building of interest
    • Friends or family with health issues - medicine
    • Playing high level sport - Physical Education

Or

  • Academic learning
    • Biology project on mammals
    • History coursework
    • Book or article read

Example

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

Paragraph 1

Why are you suitable for the course AND why is the course suitable for you? (150-200 words)

  • What academic skills do you have that will help your study
    • Extended essay writing skills - English/ History/ Philosophy/ Politics/ etc
    • Using one subject with another - History providing context for scientific developments
    • Critical thinking - Psychology etc
    • *Independant working - Coursework/ project/ reading
  • *Research the course requirements (prospectus) and show how you meet them
    • If the course states you need ‘organisational skills’ show how you have them. Make it obvious you have read their requirements by using the same wording. - “I have developed strong organisational skills through…”
  • Extra curricular skills or experiences that will help you with the course’s specific requirements.
    • Debating societies - forming arguments
    • Team sports - leadership/ teamwork
    • Wellbeing mentoring - workload management
    • Orange jackets - role model/ work ethic

Example

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

Paragraph 2

Why will you be a good university student generally? (100-150 words)

  • What have you achieved at school? Everyone has something!!
    • Give an example and say what it taught you or trained you in:
      • Leadership roles
      • Sporting achievements
      • Drama
      • D of E Award.
  • What have you achieved outside of school? Everyone has something!!
    • Remember to say what you gained from this experience:
      • Working part time job
      • Coaching sport
      • Helping manage finances at home
      • D of E Award.
  • Any other relevant information!

Example

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

Conclusion

End briefly by summarising the main points and saying what makes you unique. (50-75 words)

  • Summarise what makes you an outstanding candidate
  • Show you are positive about the prospect of studying
  • Outline potential career progression

Example

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

Final Check:

  1. ***SPELLING AND GRAMMAR.
  2. Use paragraphs.
  3. Don’t mention specific university names if you are applying to more than one.
  4. Be polite, professional and formal.
  5. Don’t lie.

Link to reading lists for each subject: https://www.chiswickschool.org/1026/reading-lists

Review

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 CWM 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 1,300 students of which 240 are in the Sixth Form. The school intake is extremely diverse including 40% of students who are disadvantaged and 56% are bilingual, well above the national average. Whilst Chiswick School has experienced two years of stability and improvement leading towards an OFSTED inspection of good in January 2020, previously turbulence amongst the leadership had led to OFSTED finding Chiswick School to require improvement in 2015 and 2017.

The effect of COVID-19 on Chiswick School students university applications and predicted grades

Students were provided with a number of resources and Loom guides prepared by the Head of Year 13 and available on the Sixth Form Learning Zone on the school website. Students had some contact with their tutors to receive guidance throughout the first half of the Autumn term but now are based at home for tutor time and independent study. As such students have not been able to receive as much support as previous cohorts. Predicted grades for our early entry students will be informed by a series of mocks undertaken from 25th November 2020, and from teachers' first-hand experience of the students' attitude to learning both in class and independently since September 2019.

The effect of COVID-19 on Chiswick School’s opening and teaching provision

In line with government requirements, Chiswick School closed on 20th March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For students in Year 12 their teaching provision was therefore moved to online and home based learning. This was done via Google Classroom, Google Meet, Satchel:one, Desmos and through the delivery of physical learning resources for selected disadvantaged students. Due to the high proportion of bursary students and students without computer access there was initially some difficulty accessing this material; nevertheless, teachers provided limited online ‘live’ lessons for Year 12 students. Staff worked hard to provide excellent opportunities for learning, but online learning did not replace the experience in the classroom and as such we are working hard on the recovery curriculum and addressing misconceptions during the Autumn term. Chiswick School remained closed to all but the children of key workers and those identified as vulnerable until 1st June 2020, during which time teachers ran their provision from home. Throughout the week beginning 15th June 2020, Year 12 students were invited into school for one on one meetings with their subject teachers. Chiswick School reopened full time for all students from 1st September 2020.

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