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How to set your child for success this year.


As one admissions cycle draws to a close, we start to turn our attention to a new one. Competition was as fierce as ever last year, and we don’t expect things to change much in that regard. In this newsletter, I thought I would look to the year ahead, and provide you with some thoughts on the sort of year that 2024 is shaping out to be.

New Year

A new year means new opportunities. There is typically a large flourish of people signing up to activities that boost their CV. There is nothing wrong with this in itself. The issue is that, as with most New Year’s Resolutions, momentum quickly dies and students drop out of said activities. This comes back to haunt them in the Autumn when student’s CVs are threadbare, causing some students to fall into a blind panic. They sign up for many activities one to two months before they submit their application. Universities know this. It makes your child look like a weaker candidate. How can we avoid this all together? Focus on fewer activities. Stick to one or two. Once they have become part of a student’s routine, you can add additional activities throughout the year. This looks far better on a CV, as it looks like the student has been doing a broad range of activities over a long period.

New Admissions

This year also marks a change for UCAS. From 2024, students will no longer write a conventional personal statement. Instead, students will be required to ask a set of questions. Not all of the questions have been released by UCAS yet, but we believe that the questions will cover the same content that students currently write about. Some examples of things that will be asked are the following: 

  1. Why do you want to study these courses?
  2. How has your learning so far helped you to be ready to succeed on these courses?
  3. What else have you done to help you prepare, and why are these experiences useful?

The good news about these changes is that if students struggle to put a statement together, this will provide the structure for them. This new statement also makes it easier for admissions officers to directly compare candidates. The flip side of this is that students cannot hide behind their writing style and less conventional structures of ways of explaining a student’s story disappear. Clarity and conciseness will be needed more than ever, and these sorts of questions will require students to ensure that their CV is strong, as the application directly asks about it. 

New Start

As I have emphasised time and time again, the amount of progress students can make in a short period is staggering. There are students who in the space of two months have jumped up a grade or two. Or they have entered an essay competition, put in the work, and then won it. Now imagine that sort of change but over nine months. No matter how behind a student feels, they still have the opportunity to turn things around. 9 months is more than enough time to make that academic comeback your child has been desiring. 

From everyone at A&J, we hope you take these insights to heart and wish you and your family a Happy New Year, as well as the best of luck with Admissions.

Deadline countdown (Sep ’24 intake):

  • UK Undergraduate (Sep ’24) – 25 January 2024  

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