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Uni applicant diaries: how Lilly made her Ucas choices

Whittling down Ucas choices to just five can be a mammoth task. Lilly take us through her decision process to give you some ideas on what you should be thinking about…

Choosing is difficult

My choice to study at university was a huge one. It's like, you get told your entire life what to do, how to act, and then suddenly, boom: you're on your own...

It was extremely difficult to go from being treated like that to having to act independently. I'm the oldest child so my parents knew absolutely zilch about the whole applying to uni thing.

Initial decision 

So I had to do it all myself with a little help from my form tutor, but mostly the tutorial videos on the Ucas website. 

I knew I wanted to study social work before I began to look for universities, so I found my five choices relatively quickly. But if you're anything like me, you will, regardless, spend hours combing through university websites and prospectuses, taking notes at open days, just to be sure. 

Standout Ucas choices

Despite the fact that I am happy with most of my choices, two do stand out: University of Bath and Oxford Brookes University

They immensely impressed me at the open days. Meeting their social work teams in person was such an important experience, and I feel that I wouldn't have been so enthusiastic about either if I hadn't gone. 

Bath was the first university I saw, and when I went I fell immediately in love. Walking through the campus street, I knew it was for me. After seeing two more, I was happy with my choices. 

Back-up Ucas options

It was then that I realised I also needed some options with lower grade requirements, so I've also applied for two universities I haven't been to and, to be honest, am not that particularly interested in.

I am pretty confident that I can work hard to achieve my goals; but I am also aware that things can go wrong, which is why I've got at least some kind of back-up.

My progress

At the moment, I have received one conditional offer and I'm patiently waiting to have interviews and receive more offers!

I am extremely excited and nervous, but totally chilled out at the same time. But I feel that whichever university I go to, I will be happy as I'll be doing the course I am so passionate about.

Final tips

Really analyse which course you want to study. It's not like A-levels where you have a back-up subject you can rely on if you fail one. You need to really love the subject you're taking because as clichéd as it sounds, it decides the rest of your life! If you haven’t found that, either keep looking or perhaps university isn't for you. 

When choosing universities, choose one above your target grades, three on your target, and one or two below your target grades. My target grades are BBC and I’ve applied to BBB, BBC, BBC, BCC and CCC unis. It's just a precaution because unfortunately things do go wrong and you might need that back-up.

As boring as it sounds and as much as you just want to curl up in your duvet watching Pretty Little Liars with your seventh cup of tea, trust me: it will all be worth it when you're finally where you want to be...

This post was was written by Lilly Kenyon. Lilly is a student and member of the OpinionPanel community.

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