I'm in Year 12, is it already too late to start thinking about university?

Sometimes it might seem that everyone is talking about university. What’s worse, sometimes it seems like they’ve been thinking about it and forming their game plan since primary school. If you’re in Year 12 it might seem like some of your friends already have a good idea about what they want to study and where they are going to go.

In a strange way, the university application process starts when you choose your GCSEs: your GCSE choices might limit what your school or college will let you study for your A levels (or equivalent), and what you study for your A levels (or BTEC, or International Baccalaureate) might restrict what you can study at university.

UCAS, the University and Colleges Admissions Service, is the organisation that processes most university applications. However far ahead of the game your friends might seem, no one can submit an application through UCAS earlier than one year before a course starting in September. Phew!

However, it’s never too soon to start thinking about university. We’ve a few handy tips to help you plan ahead.

Speak to your school or college

Many educational institutions help their pupils with their applications. From explaining how to start a UCAS application to checking personal statements, your teachers will likely be a valuable source of information. You can also come to one of London Met’s UCAS application workshops if you want to get started planning your application.

It’s never too early to start going to university open days

Universities host open days throughout the year. It’s never too early to visit the universities you are interested in, because it will help you make your final decision. Ideally you need to visit a range of universities so that you can compare how they feel. It might be hard to fit in visiting all the universities you want to visit in Year 13 (some open days might clash, and you might be busy working towards exams), so if you want to you could start in Year 12. Visit university websites to find out when open days are and book. You’re welcome to attend a London Met open day no matter what stage you’re at in applying.

Use university websites or UCAS to explore courses

If you have decided what you would like to study that’s great! However, with so many (often similar) courses to choose from finding the right university is hard. There are very fine differences between courses that might make a big impact on your experience and career prospects. The UCAS website offers information about courses at every university, but you’re much more likely to find more detailed information on the university websites themselves. On the London Met website our full list of undergraduate courses list detailed information about the modules we currently teach on the course, to help give you an idea of what the course is like as a whole.

Courses can sometimes change

Universities are always updating their courses to respond to changes in industry. If you do all your research too early, the course details might have changed by the time you apply. While substantial changes might be relatively rare, don’t forget to check back to make sure you’re happy with how the course looks before you apply to it.

It is never too late to apply to university

You can apply to university for the first time at any age post-18, so it’s never too late. You could take a year out, or have a few years working before you apply. University admissions teams welcome students of all ages and backgrounds. At London Met we provide contact to help all students apply through UCAS. Whether you are a school leaver or mature learner, we are here to help support you. You also have the option of applying through Clearing, which will allow you to make a later application in the summer before a September start.

Every year, London Metropolitan University helps hundreds of students find places on full-time undergraduate degrees. You can start a course at London Met in September, but many are also available to start in January. Take a look at our full list of undergraduate courses or contact our course enquiries team for more information.

London Met graduate Nayara wearing a black coat

Written by Joey Tamburello. Joey is a first class graduate of the London Met Journalism degree. She runs her own entertainment blog, Let’s Start With This One.

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