First university application deadline approaching

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Friday, September 27th, 2013
The first important careers deadline that year 14 students need to be aware of is October 15th for UCAS.

Johnny Nolan, Careers Manager for Newry in the Department for Employment and Learning’s Careers Service

Johnny Nolan, careers manager for Newry, Downpatrick and Newcastle in the Department for Employment and Learning’s Careers Service explained to Newry Times. “UCAS is responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK. They process more than two million applications for full-time undergraduate courses every year, and provide a comprehensive website to help students to find the right course and guide them through the application process. You can find out more on “Although the majority of UCAS applications are subject to a January 15th deadline, there are a number of candidates who will be affected by the October 15th deadline. “Applications to medicine, veterinary and dentistry in any institution in the UK or Northern Ireland must be with UCAS by October 15th at the latest, as do applications to any course in Oxford or Cambridge,” Johnny revealed. “Most medicine, veterinary and dentistry courses will have an aptitude test as part of the entry requirements. Different universities use different tests and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they have researched this and applied to take the appropriate test. “For Oxford and Cambridge, you can only apply for one course in either university through UCAS. These colleges have admissions tests for the majority of their courses. Both Oxford and Cambridge have helpful resources and short films to assist you in your application on their websites. “It is important to remember that when applying to UCAS, application deadlines should be seen as the very last date applications are possible. All UCAS applications are made online through Students should first use this website to search for courses and institutions in which they may be interested. Johnny continued, “Students may apply for up to five courses in a normal UCAS application. They must also complete a personal statement explaining why the college should choose them for this course, including any work experience or extra-curricular activities. “Many universities do not interview applicants as they rely on the information provided on the UCAS application form. The application includes personal details, predicted grades, a reference and the personal statement. “The importance of the personal statement cannot be overstated as it forms a key part of the offer process. Prospective university students should consider the points below in relation to their personal statement. “Explain why you want to go to university and how you plan to use the qualification and provide evidence that you have the skills to study the course for which you are applying. Demonstrate your understanding of your chosen academic area. Show how your current or previous studies relate to your preferred courses. “Provide examples of any activities that show an interest in your chosen course. This could include any jobs, work experience or voluntary work that you have undertaken and what you have learned from the experience. e.g. team working and interpersonal skills, analyzing and problem solving skills, communication skills, I.T. Skills, personal planning and organising skills. According to Johnny, you should also include any skills or talents that make you stand out from the crowd. These could be as varied as sports and leisure activities, musical or language ability, or any prizes or awards that you have won. He continued, “Highlight any positions of responsibility you have held and how you have developed as a result of the opportunity. If you have taken a Gap year, explain what you have learned from the experience. Ensure that you explain how your skills, experiences and lessons learned relate to your chosen course. “UK institutions require a reference which should be from someone who can comment on the student’s academic style and suitability for the course, often a subject teacher in a relevant subject. Johnny added, “Another source of useful information on university options can be found at This is the official website for comparing UK higher education course data, and includes official data on each university and college’s satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey, jobs and salaries after study and other key information for prospective students.” Advice and guidance is available from the Careers Service at 0300 200 7820 or at Information on university options is also available from the Aimhigher website at or the UCAS website
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