I sent my university applications off in 2018 but my application process started long before this.  Applying to university and writing personal statements can be an overwhelming process but the earlier you think about it the less stressful it will be.   

One way to make the application process easier is to draft out your personal statement multiple times. I wrote a first draft which got all my ideas onto paper; I then got my teachers to read over it and give me advice about what to include. When writing a personal statement, the limit for UCAS applications is 4,000 characters which is not a lot when you are trying to sell yourself to the university admissions team! My first draft was well over this limit, but it was important to get all my ideas on paper before I narrowed down the things I wanted to mention.  

When thinking about what to include in your application and personal statement, it’s important to talk to people. This could include your teachers who probably have experience of reading over personal statements and the application process. I also spoke to lecturers at the universities that I was applying for- when I attended an open day for Lancaster University (the university I later attended) I spoke to the criminology lecturers and asked them about criminology book recommendations. I went away and read these books and wrote about them in my personal statement. I was then invited to an interview at Lancaster University, and the books that I read were key talking points. I was then offered an unconditional offer with a scholarship at Lancaster, and I think a key part of this was doing additional research which demonstrated my passion for the course. Personal statements and university applications are more than just listing your achievements and hobbies. It’s important to demonstrate why you’re passionate about the course and what you have done that demonstrates this passion, such as additional reading.  

After submitting your application, you might receive an offer or be invited to an interview. If you receive an offer this will either be conditional or unconditional. A conditional offer means the offer is subject to you getting certain grades, whereas an unconditional offer means that you have a place at that university regardless of the grades you achieve. After receiving your offers, you need to make a firm and insurance choice. Your insurance choice is there in case you don’t meet the requirements for your firm choice. My firm choice was Lancaster University, and my insurance choice was Keele University. I then got onto the criminology course at Lancaster and spent 4 years there gaining an undergraduate and master’s degree in criminology. 

I loved my time at university and am so glad that I applied to study criminology. The application process is not as daunting as it might seem and there’s lots of guidance and support available. If you have any questions about my experience or the university application process email Alternatively, there are lots of great resources on our website: Hello Future