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Five ways to make your university application stand out

You’ve earned the grades you need to get into your dream course at an overseas university. Now you need to prepare your university application. But there’s a lot of competition for places at university, and the better the university, the more applicants there are.

That means you’ll need to make a good impression on the admissions board. The best way of doing that? Writing a university application that stands out from the crowd.

So read on for our five tips to make sure your application is the best it can possibly be!


1. Demonstrate your passion and enthusiasm for your subject

First of all, research the department of the university where you want to study. Then take the time to write some detailed and specific reasons why you’re applying to their course. It’s an easy way to show why you should be offered a place there!

It’s a good idea to do some additional reading and research into your subject area, too. Demonstrating that you are engaged with your subject will impress the admissions board.

Universities also like to see how enthusiastic you are about your subject beyond your academic achievements. That’s why it’s a good idea to tell them about any super-curricular activities you are involved in.

Super-curricular activities are things that you’ve done outside of school that are related to the subject you want to study. For example, if you want to study English Literature, you could enter an essay writing competition. If you’re planning to study for a specific profession, spend some time volunteering in that field to demonstrate your passion. Use your imagination and find ways to connect with your subject outside of the classroom – it will look great on your application!


2. Show your experience of teamwork and collaboration

This is something that universities really look out for in student applications. They want to enrol people who will take part in group activities and work well with others. Do you play any sports? Are you a member of any clubs or societies at school or college? Have you completed any collaborative projects with other people? Do you volunteer within your local community?

There are lots of different ways to show that you are a good team player. But it’s best to choose something that you do on a regular basis. This has the additional benefit of showing that you are a disciplined and committed person, with good time management skills – a definite advantage on your application.


3. Talk about your extracurricular interests

A successful application isn’t just about showing that you have straight As. The top universities are looking for students who will play an active part in campus life, as well as having strong academic results. Talking about your interests is a good way to make your application more personal. It also shows your strengths outside the classroom. Do you play a musical instrument? Are you part of a book group?

Sharing your enthusiasm for your extracurricular activities gives the application board the opportunity to see that you are a well-rounded individual with interests outside your studies. It also demonstrates that you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself. These are attributes which will serve you well as a university student.


4. Pay attention to detail

It might seem obvious, but good grammar and punctuation really do make a difference when it comes to your university application and personal statement. If your application has lots of mistakes, it creates an impression of carelessness and indifference. This is definitely not the way you want to appear!

So if you are writing in English, it’s worth getting an English teacher or someone with a C2 level of English to check what you have written. They should look out for any small mistakes in spelling, grammar, or phrasing. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


5. Prove that you have a good level of English

Many universities value proficiency in a second language, and will want proof of this in your application.

If your second (or even third!) language is English, proficiency tests such as the Oxford Test of English will help you to prove you have the language skills that impress admissions offices. Some courses even specifically ask for a qualification in English to apply, even if the course itself isn’t taught entirely in English, so this certificate will also help show that you can excel in tasks you may be assigned as part of your coursework. You can find out which universities recognise the Oxford Test of English on our website.

If your English needs a boost, have a look at what successful language learners do to improve their level.


Finally, we’d like to wish you lots of luck with your university application. Follow these tips and we’re sure you’ll stand out from the crowd!

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