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Where Should I Be on My University Application?

As the summer progresses, it's important for university applicants to have a clear idea of where they should be in their application preparation. By this stage, you should have made significant progress in identifying materials to read and research in your subject area, pinpointed any admissions tests you might need to sit, and begun planning your personal statement using materials you have read or completed. In this blog post, we will provide you with a roadmap of where you should be in your university application journey at this stage of the summer, ensuring you stay on track and make the most of your preparation.



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Research Materials in Your Subject Area:

By June and July, you should have identified and gathered relevant materials to read and research in your chosen subject area. This includes books, academic papers, articles, and online resources that provide insights into the topics and concepts you'll encounter during your studies, as well as films, television shows, exhibitions, plays, and anything else relevant - academic or otherwise! Ensure you allocate time each week to dive into these materials, taking notes and developing a comprehensive understanding of your subject. This early engagement will enrich your knowledge and demonstrate your commitment to admissions tutors.

Identify Admissions Tests:

Many universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, require applicants to sit admissions tests. By now, you should have identified any tests that apply to your chosen universities and courses. Familiarise yourself with the test formats and syllabi, and gather resources, such as past papers or practice books, to aid your preparation (check out our Admissions Test Resource hub for a headstart on this!). Allocate regular study time to review the test content, practice questions, and develop effective strategies. Starting early will give you the advantage of gradually building your skills and confidence.


Begin Planning Your Personal Statement:

The personal statement is a crucial component of your university application. By now, you should have started planning your personal statement based on the materials you have read and the experiences you have had so far. Reflect on your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and relevant work experience. Identify key themes and qualities you want to showcase in your statement. Create an outline that highlights your motivations, interests, and aspirations, keeping in mind the specific requirements and expectations of each university. Not only will planning your statement at this stage help you organise materials you’ve already read, but it will also help you identify gaps in your knowledge that you can fill with further research over the summer holidays.

Identify Further Materials:

While you have begun working on your personal statement, it's important to recognise that it is a dynamic document that can evolve over time. At this stage, identify additional materials and resources you plan to read or engage with later in the summer. If applicable, look for recent publications, research papers, or notable articles that can provide fresh insights or support your evolving interests. Note down these materials and allocate time in your schedule to explore them thoroughly before finalising your personal statement.


Seek Feedback and Guidance:

June is a suitable time to seek feedback on your progress thus far from a teacher before the summer holidays begin, or from a parent or guardian throughout the holidays. Share your personal statement plan, research materials, and preparation efforts with teachers, mentors, or individuals experienced in the university application process. Their insights can help you refine your ideas, identify gaps, and ensure you are on the right track. Take their suggestions into consideration as you continue to develop your application, but always remember that the application journey is a personal one; try and find a middle ground!



By June, you should have made significant progress in your university application preparation. You should have identified and engaged with materials in your subject area, identified admissions tests, and started planning your personal statement. Remember to allocate time for reading and research, test preparation, and personal statement development. Keep in mind that your personal statement will continue to evolve as you identify further materials to explore. Seek feedback from trusted individuals to refine your ideas and ensure you are on the right path. By staying organised and proactive, you will be well-prepared to complete a compelling and competitive university application.


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