Preparing for university

To make sure you find the right course for you, and give yourself the best chance of getting a place on it:

Find out as much as you can

  • Look at relevant UCAS pages
  • Read university websites and prospectuses
  • Read student-focussed websites such as The Student Room for a different perspective
  • Make the most of any careers advice offered by your school and college
  • Visit possible universities on an organised visit or open day so that you get a feel for what they’re like – details will be on their website. You can go by yourself or with a friend or parent.
  • Talk to everyone you can think of

Work hard !

  • If you are predicted good grades at A-level or Highers, you will have more chance of a better university offer
  • If you don’t achieve your predicted grades, you may not get a place at your first choice university
  • You will only really understand what you like and are good at if you put the effort in
  • University requires independent study and self-discipline so you need to start learning these skills

Do more than just your course

  • Universities like evidence that you are really interested in your subject. Read books outside the curriculum, discuss questions with friends and teachers, get relevant work experience, attend summer schools/workshops/open days – see here for some ideas.
  • You can  also try free online university-level courses
  • Some very competitive courses such as medicine expect you to have done specific work experience.
  • Do other things that develop your interests and character such as work experience and volunteering; but try to do things that genuinely interest you and check what your chosen university is looking for. Oxford and Cambridge, for example, specifically say that they are only interested in your academic ability and potential.

You might also be interested in our pages on:

Help in preparing for university
Your future
Making the most of education – looking beyond 18
Get some perspective
University or not?
Worries about going to university
Budgeting for employees and students