Applying to colleges in UK
With all the focus on CAO, it is important not to forget about the upcoming deadline for UCAS, the centralised organisation that looks after applications to universities and third level institutions in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Its responsibilities are very similar to that of the CAO, although the application process is very different.
While the first deadline for UCAS passed on October 15, for the majority of courses the deadline is January 15 at 6pm. The exceptions to the January 15 deadline are applications to veterinary, medicine, and dentistry; Oxford and Cambridge applications, which closed in October; and art courses, which close in March.
At this stage, students who are applying for UCAS should have their applications as complete as possible if not already sent. It is important to remember that, unlike the CAO system, when applying through UCAS, institutions will judge applicants based on more than just exam results. The application involves students completing a personal statement, providing an academic reference and information about any work experience. UCAS will send the completed application to each institution for their consideration as soon as they receive it, so it is beneficial to apply as early as possible.
All UCAS applications are made online through ucas.com. Students should first use this website to search for courses and institutions in which they may be interested.
Secondly, applicants should contact the institution to enquire about Irish Leaving Cert. entry requirements, fees and any other requirements, such as aptitude testing.
Students may apply for up to five courses in a normal UCAS application. Personal statements (see below) should explain why the college should choose the applicant for the course. While including any work experience or extra-curricular activities is very important, applicants must also give an idea of their academic interests and work style. The reference 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. There is lots of information and advice on how to write references and personal statements at ucas.com
As with all college applications, students should make sure they familiarise themselves with the course content and application process.