Chloe and University

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Applying for university is one of those things where for several months your either really excited or you just want to give up and wish you never applied. I haven't actually got to uni yet but I survived what felt like 3 years of my life applying and I have an offer to study Fashion Marketing at the University of Leeds. I thought I'd share my experience because there's so much to think about and be prepared for before you're ready to apply.

Why should you be prepared? 
I started thinking about my course way back in September 2014. Yep, I was only just starting my course at sixth form and already thinking about what to do next. I was studying Business and ICT and didn't really feel like studying 'business studies' at uni sounded very appealing. There are a huge amount of courses, universities and different entry requirements to think about so I definitely wouldn't recommend looking 2 months before you have to apply. It can be VERY overwhelming. 

Looking so early meant I could make a definitive choice of where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do and how I was going to get onto my course at uni. Fashion marketing was a relatively new course at University of Leeds and caught my eye straight away as it combined my love of fashion with my desire to be successful at business (yep, I definitely just took that from my personal statement). It couldn't have been more of a perfect course for me but it didn't mean getting a place was all that easy. I didn't get an immediate offer, they asked me to send some portfolio work (as I hadn't studied Art at A-Level standard) and because I was prepared for this, it was so simple to create something and be confident sending it off. Then, I got my offer. 

What qualifications do you actually need?
So you might not believe it, but I was actually doing a BTEC extended diploma in Business and ICT at sixth form. I know what you're probably thinking, 'BTEC is nothing compared to A-Levels'. Well the fact is, I've done a (mostly) stress free course and have now finished in confidence knowing I have got a place at uni with my final grades. Meanwhile, those studying a-levels are probably knee deep in revision preparing for exams and after they're finished, there is still such a long wait until results day. I'm not a patient person and waiting for university offers was stressful enough, so a-levels weren't for me. Even though I considered doing A-Levels the negatives outweighed the positives and I opted for the BTEC qualification. I did a whole blog post on what you actually need to get into uni, but I'll briefly go over it. 

University of Leeds is one of the Russel group universities and is ranked number 18 in the UK's top universities. If you look on the entry requirements for courses, most range from ABB - AAA at A-Level or equivalent. I emailed the leader of the course to make sure my qualification would be accepted, and it was. 
It's not just about your qualifications though, it's about your personality and your experiences. I had lots of voluntary experience and work experience in fashion retail and this is what really formed the bulk of my personal statement. 

How important is your personal statement? 
The most daunting thing about applying to university is having to write 4000 characters about yourself, in order to impress each university you've applied to. It is the main part of your application, and if it isn't good, your grades might take a backseat. This is exactly why being prepared is SO important. If you decide on a course just before the application process, you might be stuck on what you can actually include in your personal statement. 
I got my job at Debenhams, gained some knowledge in the different areas of fashion, started my fashion blog and volunteered at a Bridal house all so I could make my personal statement actually worth reading. 
It's all about what you have and what you've done that makes you the perfect person for that course. 

Do you need to go to university?
Personally, I don't think anyone needs to go to university. Statistics show that people with a degree are more likely to earn a higher wage than those without, but of course this isn't always the case. My brother, for example, is a manager within a global company earning a well above average wage and he did completely irrelevant a-levels. Sometimes it's not about what you know, it's about who you know

If you have a lot of doubt before going to uni, it's probably not for you. For me personally, I couldn't really think of many negatives of going to uni and there wasn't really another option, so I'm pretty set on going in September. 

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