Expert UK and US university application advice

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“I would recommend Natalie to any parent wanting their child to achieve their full potential, not only in terms of obtaining offers from the best universities, and getting the highest A-level grades, but also in terms of building their child’s self-confidence and self-belief”.
Leanne Mattey, Parent of A-level student and University of Nottingham student

“Natalie has supported my children throughout their education as mentor, tutor and university guidance counsellor. She gave professional, objective advice, tailored to the needs of our children, making sure they were on track in every way”.
Melissa Vandermolen, Parent of A-level student and University of Nottingham student

Advice from for UK and US applications

UK Applications Great Britain Flag

Allow plenty of time to write a personal statement

The way to write the best personal statement is to give yourself several weeks – maybe eight. If you have left it a bit late, don’t worry! We will guide you and put you back on track in no time.


Engage in lots of activities in order to discover your interests

These may include attending lectures, reading widely and undertaking work experience. Organising work experience or volunteering can take several weeks or months so make sure you do this well in advance of your summer holidays.


Many more top tips can be found in previously published articles written by Natalie Lancer:

- Degree or disagree?

Choosing a course to study at university can seem daunting. What constitutes a ‘good’ degree?

- Good job you went to uni

As this year’s freshers eagerly await the start of university, we look at the facts and figures about their employment prospects.

- How to be well-placed for uni

After two months of finding things to do in order not to think about it, results day is finally here. We will guide you through what happens next.

- University application - this time it's personal

As the school term starts, Year 13 students will be anxious about writing the Personal Statement for their university application. But what should go into the elusive Personal Statement?

- The rules applying to university

Will you stretch to university? The media have succeeded in scaremongering, making many students wonder if they can afford to go to university. The answer is unequivocally - yes.

- Apply yourself to the uni hunt

As the end of Year 12 approaches, you have become blasé about being in the Sixth Form. But you are feeling a bit uneasy as the university application season dawns.

- Choosing GCSEs and A-Levels

Choosing GCSEs and A-levels subjects can be difficult, but with the end goal kept firmly in sight, making an informed choice should be stress-free.

US Applications
Great Britain Flag

Going to university in the US enables you to explore many subject interests before choosing which ones to study in more depth

The broad curriculum of the ‘liberal arts’ course means that there is no need to specialise for the first 18 months. There is also more emphasis on extracurricular activity and becoming fully involved in the life of the college.


Plan well ahead in Years 11 and 12

As with the UK, applications to US colleges are usually made at the beginning of Year 13 (Upper Sixth).  However, the lead-in time is longer, because you need time to research where you would like to apply, and to practise and take the standardised tests for US colleges.  You should start your research in Year 11, register for the standardised tests (either the SAT or the ACT) in Year 12 and start putting together the various application components over the summer, ready to submit them to your final shortlist of colleges in the autumn term in Year 13.


Apply to a range of different colleges

Although you have to apply to each college individually, most colleges accept the Common Application Form, which enables you send each college the same form with the same content, except for the supplementary information required by some colleges. You can apply to as many colleges as you like, but most students tend to submit applications to around 6 different colleges.


Leave plenty of time to prepare all the application components

The application materials for a US college consist of: the Common Application Form, which includes a short essay; 1 or 2 further essays; standardised admissions tests (either the SAT or the ACT – most colleges accept both);  a transcript sent by your school of all your exam grades (GCSE, AS Levels and internal school exams) and school report/teacher recommendations. A small number of colleges also provide an informal interview with a graduate of the college.


Understand the difference between the essays for a US college and the UCAS personal statement

The focus of the personal statement is your interest in the subject areas for which you have applied and how well prepared you are to follow a course of study. In contrast, essays for US colleges should provide a picture of what you are like as a person, focusing on some of the attributes and characteristics that make you an outstanding candidate. The essays and the personal statement are often the most difficult part of a US/UK university application.  We advise students on the tips and techniques for producing an excellent essay and/or personal statement.


Many more top tips can be found in previously published articles written by Natalie Lancer:

- Across the pond - study in the US

The recent rise of tuition fees in the UK, combined with the financial aid packages available at some US colleges, mean that the difference in cost between studying in the UK and USA is becoming much smaller.