I’ve never been an early type. Unless it’s to the airport in which case three hours before the check-in desk opens is still too late. No, usually I’m the one strolling into an event after it’s started, scuttling past people to find a seat after a conference has kicked off, and stressing out when there’s traffic because I just didn’t leave enough time. So, is it really a surprise I’m writing about applying for an Adult Nursing course after the UCAS deadline has long gone?
No? How rude but also how true. You see, I applied to university just three months before my course started. Why? It was after hearing the NHS bursary for adult nursing students (and all other NHS funded courses) is being cut in 2017. I didn’t want £60,000 of debt on my shoulders. I mean, nursing isn’t exactly well paid. No one goes into nursing because of the money. Unless being poor is a fetish I guess. Anyway, I applied late (as in July), and got offers from all of my chosen universities. So. How can you do the same, bearing in mind the additional waiting for finances, the many, many MMIs and interviews, DBS checks and occupational health requirements?
Applying late to university: Firstly, call Admissions for Adult Nursing courses
There’s no point perfecting a personal statement for your ideal course if spaces are already full and your chosen uni isn’t accepting applicants. So call the university admissions teams and ask whether there are still spaces, and whether applications are still being considered. It took a few voicemails, a few emails and one strike it lucky call, but they all said there were still spaces. Each admissions advisor asked that I applied right away with a cover note being emailed separately explaining my late application.
Applying late to university: Mature student? Dig our your GCSE certificates
I left school with 12 GCSEs in 2002. Honestly, I have no idea where my certificates are, or really even which grades applied to which courses. Thinking back VERY hard, I know I got 3 As, 3Bs, and 6Cs. But for what was anyone’s guess. So I needed to get in touch with my old secondary school and ask which exam boards would have been used over a decade ago. Thankfully my school has a great administration team and a week later I was in touch with AQA, EdExcel and OCR to get replacement certificates. It’s not fast. It’s very expensive. But without proof of an A-C grade in English, Maths and Science, admissions won’t be able to accept an application.
Applying late to university: Create a personal statement and send off your application
There are hundred of websites all giving tips and tricks on how to create a winning personal statement, but really, if you write from your heart, proof-read, get someone else to proof-read and read it over again, you’ve ticked the box. I talked about why I was applying as a mature student, why I hadn’t applied when I left school, what I’d been up to, the volunteer work I’d completed, and a bit about my day-to-day life. I honestly can’t say it was ever really referred to in my interviews, but it’s easier to write what you feel than what you think someone else wants to read. At least that way they get an idea of who you are.
Applying late to university: Apply for open days and book a tour
Open days aren’t just for those starting the following year. I only attended one, my (if I got an offer) first choice. I spoke to the admissions tutor and a few students, asked for real-life advice on what the course was like, made myself known to the right people, and popped over an email to the team thanking them for their time. Because without their time spent talking to me, there’s no way I’d have been confident enough to decide which course was right for me. Admissions teams aren’t the enemy. But when it comes to nursing, they’re working on behalf of the NMC. If they don’t think you’re good enough, the NMC won’t either.
Applying late to university: Chase up your application if you haven’t heard
Your application is late, so admissions are under no obligation to have a look right away. But by this stage you’ve done everything right. You know there are spaces available and you’ve applied through UCAS. You’ve assured the team your certificates are on the way. You’ve attended open days and have met a few of the team. Now it’s time to be professional and chase up.
Applying late to university: Lastly, wait
Once you’ve chased up, it’s time to wait. Respond quickly if you’ve been invited for an adult nursing interview. There will be lots of late application students, and some won’t be able to attend an interview purely due to no spaces being available. The interview will usually include a literacy and numeracy test, as well as a face-to-face session, or a MMI (multiple mini interview). If you’re not checking the application portals or your emails regularly, then there’s no point applying.
If you don’t get an interview right away then there is always Clearing. Having a quick look shows many universities are offering Adult Nursing degrees through Clearing right now. Literally writing this, Anglia Ruskin have just advertised their Clearing vacancies on All 4. In fact, one admissions adviser stated that even when the course has started in September, there’s still a chance. Some people get through the entire process and just don’t turn up on their start date. You can be given their place for adult nursing if the no-shower doesn’t, er, show. Even if the course has already started.
Things will change over the next few years. The NHS is in turmoil, with a government who has eyes on its privatisation. The ‘good’ news (if you can call it that) is with the removal of the bursary, the government believes this will increase the numbers of students who can apply and get a space. I can’t wait to start. If I’d not had the courage and sheer determination to apply now, then I’d never have done it. Take the initiative, be savvy, and you can still get a space even if the UCAS deadline has passed.
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