Applying for university was an anxious time for me personally as I wasn’t sure about my situation with grades and family. I really didn’t know what universities were possible for me to apply to and how to do this for some of the more prestigious places. My main concerns were the distances of universities I really wanted to go to and what support I would be able to get, but every university wants to help you and offer you opportunities.
Despite these worries, overall, I was excited for this experience, to be able to progress on my own and to find myself, as well as new friends. I was the first in my family to apply for university, so I didn't have any knowledge of what it was like to apply to one. I first found out about university through my school teachers, then took my own path to find out what course and universities would be best for me.
Applying was made simple due to all the help you can get from UCAS, universities, and your sixth form. I just had to make sure I read all the help and used what I had learned. Back in sixth form, I felt pressured to apply for all the best universities I could based on my grade predictions. But looking back on it now, although I am extremely happy where I am now, I wish I had looked more at the universities themselves and not just the rankings. Luckily I ended up at a university I really enjoy being at, but the others I applied for might not have been like this!
At first, I definitely started to look at Bath due to its ranking in the top two for my Architecture course. After doing more research on the area of Bath, the architecture within the city, and the course structure offered, it easily became my leading university. This was because there was a multitude of help available for a person under the label of ‘care leaver’ and also how much the Architecture course offered in terms of extra lectures and opportunities to give you the best chance after university. They really seemed to care about your life at university and after your studies.
My main challenges came before university, in the application process, as I never had anyone to help me understand how to do this. I struggled with the personal statement the most. I overcame this by talking to as many teachers from my sixth form as I could until I found the person who could best help me refine my statement. I started with my tutor at sixth form who was able to point me in the right direction. I had to do a lot of work to get to the point of a competitive submission but help from staff made it easier.
Before University, there were group chats you could join for each subject and accommodation to help everyone get to know each other. This helped my transition, as you were able to at least get a sense of each other through chat or other forms of social media.
So far, I have been attending lectures and going out socially as normal, which has eased my transition to university. I have enjoyed meeting lots of people and slowly finding a group that is similar to me. This has allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and explore Bath more.
Over the next few years, I will be going off for placements as well as attending university. I’m looking forward to slowly getting experience in big firms based around London, which the University has helped me to secure.