The main things I look out for on the UCAS form are the grade predictions, personal statement and reference. I also have a quick look at the Age box to see if I'm dealing with a mature applicant.

In the personal statement the most important thing to me is to get an impression of motivation. I don't want to get the feeling that this is just someone coming down the education conveyor belt because their parents expect them to, or they can't think of anything else to do. I also like to get the impression that the person will deal with university life as well as the course, someone with a interesting spectrum of interests.

I particularly like to discover that an applicant has attended a sixth- form science course or done any kind of work placement that is related to physics.

Now for a few gripes.

One thing that really turns me off is if I can't read the form, particularly if it's the hundredth that evening. Or the statement is very short and curt. lt makes me think that the person can't be bothered talking to me.

Also, I am not impressed by people who say they have been milk monitors and the like; I feel they must have been a bit desperate for something to say.

It can also be a bit off-putting if they are obviously making overtures to only one of the universities or colleges they've applied to and that one isn't mine. I try not to feel miffed but I'm sure it isn't a good tactic.

On a different tack, it tends to worry me if applicants are going for lots of different subjects and I look in the personal statement for the reason for it. If there is no explanation there, I'm left feeling that they are just throwing confetti around hoping it will land in the right place.

Finally there's the reference. Getting the right person to fill it in can be a problem for mature students, but I am not impressed by the views of their next-door neighbour. It's important to find someone who can say something about whether it is likely the applicant can manage our course.

So that's it, hope this helps you make the best application you can. Good luck.


l make direct

contact with

admissions staff if

you are doing things

other than A-levels

l shop around

before applying

l make positive

points relating to


qualification you are

taking in your

personal statement

and at interview