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2023 University Applications: Now or Never


As the deadline for Oxbridge, Medicine and Veterinary Sciences applications is imminent, we are about to enter the second wave of applications. I wish everyone who is sending in their application this week the best of luck! Many students who have already applied will be facing interviews and tests over the next few weeks, so I recommend they take a well-earned 2 or 3 days of rest, and then push themselves. Two more months of this and then you will be done.

As for the vast majority of students, they will now be entering into the most intense part of the application season. Schools will start rapidly assembling student applications, asking your child to produce personal statements, providing them with predicted grades, holding meetings and writing references. For students who have prepared thoroughly, this period is intense but typically manageable. But for the students who are only starting now, they will need to work a lot harder. Here is my advice for how you can make the largest impact possible in a short period. For this application cycle, it’s now or never…

There are still activities your child can do
A lot of key opportunities for your child to bolster their CV have passed. Additionally, it will not look good if you try to cram in many activities in a short period. Instead, students should focus on one or two activities in a lot of depth and give them their all. For example, a no-brainer activity is to join a school society. But instead of just participating, take the lead. Ask to give a presentation, or assist the leadership team. No society that represents your child’s course of interest? Tell your child to host a few workshops where they talk about the subject, and the core fundamentals of it and maybe even offer to write something for the school’s website or magazine.

Another no-brainer is to do an online course. These don’t tend to have high levels of commitment and also tend to be quite flexible. Students could get them done in the space of two weekends. Provided they have a good grasp of the material, these courses can provide enough content for them to discuss in their personal statements or college essays. The more related to the course their statement is, the better the course.

Also, tell your child to read or listen to a book.

Get your child and referee talking…
One of the things that students fail to recognise when it comes to the second wave is that this period is when most students in the country will be applying at the same time. As such, the teachers’ attention is split over a much larger amount of people. Students also forget that teachers have personal lives, stresses and dramas. Assuming that their teacher will put in maximum effort with your reference or general support with your application is not a good idea. This is not the time to be subtle. Students should email their referees, detailing what subject they want to study, why they are so passionate about said subject and what activities they have done to further their interest in the subject.

See if you can cut a deal with teachers
A lot of students might not be happy with the predicted grades that they have been given, which is completely understandable. However, there might still be some wiggle room. If teachers are not planning to send in applications until November or December, then do the following. Ensure that in the next few weeks, your child dramatically increases the quality of their work. After this, get them to ask their teachers if it would be possible for them to change their predicted grade conditional on the score of their next assessment. Then make sure your child revises thoroughly. Whilst all teachers might not allow your child to cut a deal like this, if your child increases the quality of work before they ask, they stand a better chance. If you email the school as their parent, this might also be able to do the trick.

This is not a comprehensive list, but it will illustrate some of the best ways that students can boost their application in the short run. I hope this helps.

Deadline countdown (Sep ’24 intake):

USA Early Decision (Sep ’24) – 01 November 2023
MBA and Postgraduate (Sep ’24) – 01 December 2023
USA Regular Decision (Sep ’24)- 01 January 2024
UK Undergraduate (Sep ’24) – 25 January 2024

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