Don’t miss out; apply early for university

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“Apply early for university, leave plenty time for the all important decisions.” Maria from Norway gives her top reasons to get your undergraduate application in early.

If you have decided that you want to come to the United Kingdom (UK) to study, welcome! Now, what are you waiting for? Here are some great reasons why you should start your application as soon as you can.

Don’t miss deadlines

If you start early you’ll stay on top of things, and you’re less likely to forget important dates. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) applications open as early as 6 September giving you lots of time before the first deadline of 15 January the following year. This deadline applies to applications for UK and European Union (EU) students, but you can apply up until 30 June. Meeting the January deadline is the safest option to ensure you gain a place on your desired course.

Don’t miss out

Waited a little too long and now your dream course is full? Another reason to apply as early as you can to avoid missing out on the course or the university you want to attend. Many universities make offers as they receive applications, so make sure yours is on the top of the list.

Time to perfect your application

Writing a good personal statement can take time, so make sure you allow yourself enough. Once you’ve finished your personal statement make sure you proofread and make changes, and then ask someone to read it for you. Someone else might pick up on mistakes you haven’t noticed, ensuring that your personal statement is perfect.

Get a good reference

If you need to get a reference written for you make sure you ask the person early on as this will ensure that the person writing your reference doesn’t feel pressured, and you won’t feel stressed because they’re taking their time. Win-win!

Time for preparation

Some courses require you to do an interview before they decide whether or not to make you an offer. Get your application in early so you have more time to prepare for the interview, making a good first impression is really important.

Attending visits or open days

Once you’ve decided where to apply you still might not be sure which university you prefer. If you’ve applied early there might be time to attend an open day or organise a visit to the university to see if it’s what you have in mind. If you can’t visit, you may be able to meet university staff in your country, at an education fair or at a local office. This could help you make the right choice.

Visa applications can take time

If you are not an EU student, you might need a visa to study in the UK. Visa applications can take up to 31 days to be completed. Those days can feel extra-long if you’re in a rush, so make sure you have the time to wait for your visa.

Apply to accommodation early

Apply early for university to secure accommodation
Apply early for university so you can get your application submitted for accommodation

You need an unconditional offer before you can apply for accommodation. Moving abroad can be stressful, so making sure you have your accommodation application in early can make the move a little easier. Maybe you really want an en suite, or maybe a small flat instead of a large one? Applying early means you’re more likely to get the accommodation you’d most likely to live in, so don’t put it off!


Once you have your offer it’s time to find out if there’s some extra funding available that you can apply for. Many organisations have scholarships available, depending on your course or where you’re from you may be eligible to apply for them. Extra funding is always a huge help for a student!

Plan ahead and save money

A student lifestyle isn’t necessarily glamorous, but there are some steps you can take to make it a little more bearable. Deciding early where to go and where to live means you have some extra time to plan costs and start saving up to avoid living on pasta and beans.

Still time for more applications

Love Scotland image
Make the most of your time in Scotland.

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and that’s just life. If you don’t get an offer on the course or from the university you had in mind there is still time to apply to somewhere else!

Most importantly – stress less

Moving away from home and starting university can be stressful enough. Starting your application early makes it less stressful, meaning you can use your energy on more important things, like deciding what colour bed sheets!

Maria is from Norway and is in her third year or a BA (Honours) in Journalism at Edinburgh Napier University.

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