UNI CHATS || How to get into your dream university!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

picture courtesy of wikimedia
As you probably know, I'm currently studying at Queen Mary University of London. What you do not know is that it was my firm UCAS choice, so therefore I managed to get the grades to get in. It's around the time of year now where all prospective uni students are about to take their A-Levels which will determine your fate and since I've done the whole process, I thought I'd share my story of how I came to be at Queen Mary - and offer some advice along the way. (Disclaimer: this is only relevant to the British system, using UCAS and A levels).

So, I went and saw Queen Mary in July of 2015 and when I saw the Queen's Building (pictured above), I knew I wanted to go there. There's a stunning room called the Octagon inside and it took my breath away. I could see myself living here, working here and getting a degree here. It felt right to me - in a way I can't really describe. The campus is small (which I loved) and I just loved it. 

I'd already done some research into what the uni offered for Politics and I loved the look of the course (and I still love it, while I'm doing it!) so as soon as I got that 'feeling', I knew it was the right one. My tip of finding the perfect uni for you is to research the course extensively, visit and see if you can see yourself there and look at the entry requirements and see if they're achievable. The entry requirements for my course were ABB, or BBB with an A in my EPQ. I saw this as quite achievable with some hard work.

Don't forget to check out the surrounding area, too! Although I don't think that matters too much. Mile End is pretty scabby - constantly smelling of marijuana and fried chicken - but that doesn't really impact on my uni experience too much. It only makes us slightly scared to leave campus at night.

picture courtesy of qmul
After you've picked your uni, you've got to get an offer. Let's be real, most universities don't even look at your personal statement, so don't stress too much about all your 'extra curricular activities and charity work'. At the end of the day, what they mostly care about is grades. Suck up to your teachers to get your predicted grades moved up if you think they're too low (my politics teacher refused to change mine from a C to a B and told me to be realistic about my dreams - well, who's realistic now?) because I honestly think that's what universities care most about. 

After you've got your offer (congrats! those UCAS emails about a change in the status of your application used to freak me the hell out), it's about getting the grades which is the hardest part. I have no other tips than work your socks off. Just do it. Once you've got those horrible 4 months of revising and exam-taking out of the way, you get a lovely long summer. Just think about that! Try not to procrastinate. It was so difficult for me to get focused but I just had to do it. Especially as I was in a fairly new relationship and wanted to spend all my spare time snuggled up in bed with Johnny. 

picture courtesy of LordScumbag on the student room

Results Day was terrifying for me. I honestly thought I hadn't done it. My heart had been at QM for so long that I didn't even want to go to my insurance (Westminster). I woke up at 7:45am on Results Day and opened UCAS Track on my iPad immediately. That's when I saw the above notification (well - swap Manchester for QMUL and add a saucy bit of politics and you've got it!) and I freaked out, waking up Johnny and my mum and forgetting I wasn't wearing any trousers. I actually can't remember how I spent results day after that. I went into school around 9am to get my results and I got 3 Bs and an A in my EPQ. I was a bit annoyed I didn't get an A in English, but I'd also got As in all my retakes. 

I'd say don't sweat about results day, but it's really difficult. If you're like me and academic success is really all you have (lol) then of course it's going to mean the world. Do something with your friends or family to distract yourself the day before. I did and I had a great time. We also got Chinese takeaway which helped. 

picture courtesy of media.glassdoor

And now your adventure can begin! 

Good luck if you have applied/are applying/are looking at universities! It's a scary but wonderful time and I hope you enjoy it and are successful! Let me know in the comments where you are headed/want to go! I'd love to hear from you all!

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