Applying to University in 2014?

Gap Year courses before University
One year Field Guide graduates

Are you thinking about applying to university or college next year?


All applications to UK universities for full-time courses are made through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.


Here are some key do’s and don’ts for new university applicants:


1 • Research your university and degree course choices carefully before applying.

This includes going to Open Days, as well as looking at the online information. You will probably need to start registering now for a particular Open Day, to ensure there is space for the talks and seminars that you want.

2 • Remember the UCAS application DEADLINES.

Your application should be with UCAS by one of these dates – depending on what course you apply for:-

– 15th October 2013 – for the universities of Oxford, Cambridge or any professional course in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine/science.

15th January 2014 for the majority of courses.

– 24th March 2014 for some art and design courses

3 • What needs to be done by these dates?

a)         Make sure your completed application reaches Ucas.

b)         Your reference is included.

c)         You’ve paid your application fee.

4 • Leave yourself plenty of time to do everything

wildlife volunteer in Africa for Gap Year students before university
Wildlife volunteers help this beautiful Caracal at Shamwari

Schools and colleges sometimes give you earlier deadlines to fill in your application than ours – this is to make sure they can write your reference and send your application to us on time.

You might need time to sort out any problems your teachers or advisers point out.

Research, register and attend relevant Open Days.

If you’re applying as an independent applicant (not through a school), we recommend you ask your referee to complete your reference well in advance of the deadline to avoid any delays.


1 • Forget that some universities and colleges will ask you to sit an admissions test in addition to the standard qualifications.

2 • Be tempted to submit a copied personal statement or one downloaded from a website. Thankfully, only one percent of applicants did this last year. Ucas is quite clear that personal statements should be an applicant’s own work, although they do advise that parents and teachers check them over. Their computer system has tens of thousands of personal statements on file and similarities will be flagged up to the universities.

3 • Panic about tuition fees. There is a wealth of information out there to help you understand the costs of higher education – and remember you won’t have to pay anything upfront.

It’s a separate application to your Ucas one, so if you’re applying for any loans or support, make sure you know what you need to do and when.

Taking a year out

If you decide to take a year out, or a Gap Year, you can still apply now and defer your start date by a year. This way you can get all your results confirmed and hopefully receive an unconditional offer for the following year.

Gap Year in Africa volunteering with children
Volunteer with the children in your Gap Year or in your holidays

If you’re applying for deferred entry in 2014 you’ll still need to meet the relevant deadlines and meet any offer conditions by 31 August 2014. Then you’d be free to enjoy your year out without worrying about your application!

Make sure you check with the university or college that they’re happy to consider an application for deferred entry – otherwise your choice might be wasted.

And then, it’s the fun part, thinking about what to do in your Year Out. The Amanzi Travel team have loads of amazing suggestions for volunteering with wildlife or teaching children, or helping as a medical volunteer, or enrolling on a Field Guide courses – loads of great opportunities that will enhance your CV and offer you the experience of a lifetime.

So, in the words of the Scouts and Girl Guides “Be Prepared” and Good Luck!




A truly life changing experience, working on wildlife and community volunteering projects in Africa over eight years ago, convinced Gemma Whitehouse to give up her job as a Marketing Manager for an international organisation and use her skills and expertise to set up a company that would offer others the same amazing opportunities with a service second to none - thus Amanzi Travel was born.

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