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Should you apply for more than one course at the same university?

We spoke to some university admissions teams to find out whether applying to different courses at the same university could affect your application.

You might assume that applying to more than one course at a university shows that you’re keen on going there. It can be risky though – it won’t necessarily improve your chances of getting a place.

Some universities may prefer students to be focused and committed to one course, but is this always the case? Let's take a look.

Consider your focus

If you're going to apply to more than one course from a particular university, your personal statement becomes even more important. Can you write one that will work for multiple courses? 

If it’s a struggle to cater your personal statement to your two chosen subjects, then it's a good idea to narrow your focus.

Bournemouth University says if you’re not sure whether to put more than one course down from the same university, it’s a great question to ask at open days. In their view, applicants would be justified in applying for more than one course if they want who want to combine their interests with a career but aren't sure which route to take.

It can be a wasted choice

On the other hand, it’s not always necessary to use up two of your choices if the courses are just a variant of the same course, such as a BEng or MEng in a specific branch of engineering. Other universities tend to agree:

Where we can, we will often make an applicant an alternative course offer if they have been unsuccessful for their chosen course. Therefore making more than one application for a related course may be a wasted choice. Nathalie Mortimer | Head Of Uk Student Recruitment - University Of Nottingham

Applying for different courses that each require a very specific commitment to one vocation – such as midwifery and physiotherapy – is not recommended.

Admissions tutors will assume that you're not committed to either field. In that case, it’s better to go back to the drawing board and decide which one you’re most interested in.

Don't make assumptions!

With courses like medicine, dentistry and veterinary science where you can only use four of your five Ucas choices, it can be a good idea to choose an alternative subject (like biomedical sciences) as your fifth Ucas choice.

Some universities encourage you to do this, while others are less keen. So do your research in advance to avoid making any assumptions.

You may be applying to a university course where all applicants who meet their entry requirements are offered a place. In this case, your personal statement may only get a quick glance so it might not be a problem to apply for different courses at the same uni.

This could be appropriate if your choice of uni is restricted by where you live. If you're unsure, contact universities directly to explain your situation.

If in doubt, ask at an open day

Open days are a great opportunity to find out what different courses will actually be like. You can ask about which modules you’ll take and how flexible these are, as well as how many hours a week you’ll be in lectures or tutorials and how the course is assessed. You’ll hopefully come away with a clear idea of which course you want to do.

Applicants are encouraged to come to an open day at which they can discuss options with tutors, thereby reducing any need to apply to more than one course. Admissions Tutor | University Of South Wales

At the end of the day, it usually comes down to your own individual circumstances. So if you're still finding it hard to decide between two different courses, don't be afraid ask the uni you're applying to if it's fine to apply for both.

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