Student accommodation at MMU

MMU OS D2_53At MMU we understand that one of the most important decisions you will make, after deciding to study overseas, is where you will live.

Manchester Metropolitan University has a wide range of student accommodation available to international students. In fact, international students are guaranteed a place in University accommodation in their first year of study (this may be Foundation Year, Undergraduate or Postgraduate) as long as they:

  • are coming to the University alone
  • are studying for the full academic year
  • have submitted an application for accommodation by 15th August
  • are holding a firm offer from the University

Learn more about your accommodation options and the application process by watching our accommodation webinar, hosted by Patricia from the Accommodation Office.

To apply for MMU Halls of Residence you will need to have an offer to study from the University, which you have accepted. Once you have accepted your conditional or unconditional offer from the University, you can apply for student accommodation from 1st April 2014. See here for more information about how to apply for MMU accommodation.

For a sneak peek inside one of MMU’s student Halls of Residence, don’t miss our live tour at 3pm (GMT) on Tuesday 1st April.

How to… apply to UCAS

UCAS is the UK’s online application system to apply for university. It might seem scary and confusing, but not to worry – it isn’t. Even as an international student, UCAS can be your way into the UK university of your choice, making the process of applying straightforward. From submitting your application to getting an offer, everything is in one place!

First of all, it is important to look at the UCAS deadlines. UCAS works with deadlines that are very important to stick to – if you are late handing in your application, you may miss the chance of getting a place at the university of your choice. Make sure that you consult the UCAS website and check which deadline applies for you and the course you are interested in studying.

For the 2014 cycle, you need to remember that 15th October at midnight is the deadline for Oxford or Cambridge, or any courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry – even if you’re an international student. The normal deadlines for UK and EU students are the 15th January at 6pm for all other courses other than arts and design courses, for which the deadline is 24th March at 6pm. For international students outside of the EU, your final deadline is the 30th June. However, it is best to apply well before this date to ensure that places are still available (popular courses might book up), and leave enough time to arrange your visa, travel, accommodation, etc.

Before you apply to any courses through UCAS, make sure that you are eligible for the course you would like to apply to – you only get 5 choices – so if you are applying to courses for which you are not eligible, you are essentially wasting your ‘slots’. It is always wise to keep one ‘safe’ option which might not necessarily be your first choice, but you would be likely to be accepted for. Remember also that you can apply for more than one course at the same university.

Then, check whether your school or college is registered with UCAS Apply – if so, you will need to apply through your school, and they can help you with the process. If your school or college isn’t registered with UCAS Apply this isn’t a problem, you can still apply independently.

Either way, start applying! You can do this simply by clicking the ‘Apply’ button from the UCAS homepage. You will be asked to provide information about yourself and your qualifications. Ensure that everything is accurate and spelled correctly – this is the only chance you will get to represent yourself to the university you want to attend! Have all the information you need before you start – including qualifications, results, references and personal statements. Approach your referees to check they are happy to provide your references before you include their details. Make sure that you have written your personal statement ahead of time, proofread it, and had it checked by someone else before you enter it into the Personal Statement box.

Remember that UK students usually apply before they have received their final examination results – this is normal, and it’s not expected of you to have finished already. It does mean that some offers you receive might be conditional on getting certain results. If you still need to obtain your results, select ‘pending’ in the drop down list.

If you have the results of your qualifications already, you can add them at this point, make sure you give the original qualifications, and not what you think is the English equivalent. You will usually need to show your English Language Qualifications.

Finally, remember that you can save and come back to your application any time before you submit it – give yourself plenty of time, and look at it as a work in progress. That way there will be no last minute stress – don’t forget that for the 2014 cycle, the deadlines are now 6pm, rather than midnight.

There you go – everything you need to know about applying to UCAS as an international student. You are not the first international student to apply! As long as you take plenty of time and make sure you have all the information you need ready to go, you will be fine! Good luck!

How to…write an outstanding personal statement

Wordle: Personal statement

How to…write an outstanding personal statement

We all know that the key to securing that elusive university place is standing out from the crowd, but if everyone else has great exam results too, how can you make your application stand out?

Well, it is all in the personal statement. Your personal statement is your chance to shine and show your personality.

Don’t waste this opportunity, use these top ten tips to write an outstanding
personal statement.

ONE: It is important that your personal statement has a sensible structure. What university will offer you a place if your personal statement is more like a word-search than an intelligent outline of what you have to offer? Some rules for a good structure include:

  • Punctuation – use capital letters at the start of sentences and full stops at the end.
  • Succinct and concise – do not use 100 words to say something when 10 would do the job. Your statement should be no more than one A4 page if applying directly, or less than 4,000 characters (or 47 lines) if applying through UCAS.
  • Sentences – As much as possible, sentences should be fewer than 20 words.
  • Spelling – Your excellent exam results will not help you if you make spelling mistakes in your personal statement. Computers have spell-check for a reason!

TWO: The first section of your personal statement should introduce the reasons you want to study the course you are applying for. Think hard about why you want to study this course. A good reason to want to study Economics might be that the global financial crisis has horrified you so you want to learn more about its origins. A bad reason to want to study Economics is wanting to learn more about the human body.

THREE: If you are already taking the subject you hope to study at university, you should explain how you have engaged with the subject. What areas have you loved studying? What things do you want to learn more about? If you have not had the chance to study your degree subject yet, think about the way in which your school classes link to it. For example, you might want to study Sport because you have been interested in aerobic respiration and lactic acid in Biology.

FOUR: Explain how you have pursued the subject you are applying for outside of school. Have you read books about the subject? Do you subscribe to a related blog? Perhaps you have attended a relevant talk? If you cannot wait to forget all about your subject as soon as the bell rings at the end of the school day it might be time to rethink your choice. Admissions tutors are going to question your dedication to your subject if you are more committed to your games console!

FIVE: Include a section about your work experience. While relevant work experience is an excellent way to show you are serious about your course, even unrelated work experience shows that you are reliable and responsible.

SIX: Now it is time to talk about all of your interesting extra-curricular activities. Tell us about your weekends spent rock climbing or volunteering at a hospice. Try to think of the skills and interests you have that make you a bit different from everyone else; admissions tutors will not want to hear about another person who “enjoys spending time with friends”.

SEVEN: The conclusion of your personal statement should reiterate the reasons that the university should make you an offer. Sum up your passion for the subject and the ways in which you would be an asset to the university. If you are applying directly to the university this is a great opportunity to explain why you want to attend this university specifically. You should also sum up what you hope to achieve in your future after you complete the programme, as well as what you intend to do after graduation. (Remember, do not do this if you are applying through UCAS – your personal statement is sent to all the universities you are applying to!)

EIGHT: The biggest personal statement no-no is plagiarism. Not only is copying, unfair and dishonest, but you will probably be caught, and then you certainly will not be offered a place. UCAS, and many universities, now use computer software that highlights sentences and phrases that they have seen before. There are many resources to help with writing a personal statement, so do not use the cheat’s route.

NINE: Make sure you proofread your personal statement. Many times. Many many times. You just can’t check it too many times. Ask your Mum to read it. Ask your Dad to read it. Ask your aunt’s neighbour’s dog to read it! There are mistakes that the spellcheck on your computer will not pick up, and silly errors do not make a good impression on admissions tutors.

TEN: Remember, lots of universities do not interview prospective students, so your application is your only chance to wow the admissions tutors, and your personal statement is an important part of that.

So, there we have it; the top ten tips to writing a personal statement. Check out our post about making a strong application to university to find out how else to improve your chances of an offer.

If you have any further tips we’d love to hear about them in the comments section. Or, if you have personal statement questions of your own feel free to ask here.

How to… make a good application to university

App process 2

Submitting an application can be daunting. In this post I outline the information you need to include and provide handy tips for submitting a good application.

How to get Step 1 right and SUBMIT A GOOD APPLICATION:

To apply for undergraduate courses you apply through UCAS, to apply for postgraduate courses you can apply DIRECT to the university. However you submit your application, the university still requires the same information from you, including:

  • Up-to-date details about your education history
  • Evidence of your English language proficiency
  • References from a recent teacher, or somebody who knows you professionally
  • A personal statement about why you want to study your chosen course
  • Some basic personal information including contact details

Your application is the SUM TOTAL of everything the university knows about you!

At this stage your application is the only evidence the university has to assess your eligibility for your chosen course.  In addition to providing the basic information there are lots of things you can do to make a good impression from your application. From my years of experience advising potential students at MMU I have listed my top dos and don’ts you can follow to give your application the best chance of success.

DO…

  • Make sure all your supporting documents are submitted with your application. If the admissions team need to request further evidence from you this will slow down the process. Your application will be on hold until those documents are submitted.
  • Make sure your contact details are correct so the university can keep in touch and send the decision to you directly.
  • Send us your transcript with marks to date or predicated grades if you are still studying for a qualification.
  • Take time over your personal statement, this is your chance to sell yourself.
  • Contact your referees in advance, as they are often busy and waiting for references can slow down the process.
  • Take this opportunity to demonstrate your competency in English. Check your grammar and spelling in all your responses.
  • Use your reference number in all communications with the university

 DON’T…

  • Leave any suspicious unexplained gaps in your education or work history. E.g. If you have been travelling for six months let us know.
  • Miss the opportunity to have a friend or family member review your application before you submit. It’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes check your work.

Remember: Universities are looking for reasons to make you an offer, so sell yourself, submit a good application.

Top tips for a stress-free arrival in the UK

Border Force has produced a helpful list of top tips for first time students arriving this autumn to commence their studies in the UK. The tips are designed to ensure students are not unduly delayed as they enter the UK by being more prepared for what they may need to present at border control.

As part of your preparations for your studying in the UK this year, Border Force want to make sure you have everything you need to get through the UK border as efficiently as possible. Follow these top tips for a smooth journey through the UK border:

1.      Have your passport ready.

2.      Ensure you complete a landing card (if a non EEA National).

3.      Have your university Certificate of Acceptance Studies (CAS) number ready. If you don’t have a CAS number please brings details of your course of study.

4.      Keep any medical documentation, recent bank statement and details of where you are staying in your hand luggage, we may ask to see this information.

5.      Do not bring in any meat or dairy products from outside the EU.

6.      There are also restrictions on other food products such as fish, eggs and honey, as well as some fruit, vegetables and plants (e.g. bulbs, seeds, cut flowers and tree bark).

7.      There are also restrictions on the amount of tobacco, alcohol and gifts you can bring in the UK. If you exceed your duty-free allowance and do not declare them, all of your items could be taken away from you.

8.      Never bring in counterfeit goods, illegal drugs, offensive weapons or indecent or obscene material. Some items are restricted and will require a licence or permit.

9.      You must declare any sums of cash of £10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling from a country outside the European Union.

10.   Never give false or misleading information (including forged or counterfeit documents)