As the autumn term gains pace, students up and down the country are perfecting the most important 4000-character document of their academic career - the personal statement. Follow this simple list to make sure that your personal statement is something that you can be proud of, rather than something that will leave your admissions tutors scratching their heads.
A report out this summer revealed that only 19.5% of Welsh applications to Oxford and Cambridge were successful during the 2011-12 admissions cycle, compared to a success rate of 25% for England and Northern Ireland... Welsh industry most certainly does require that top level expertise if it is to continue to thrive.
Do not be afraid to do many, many drafts. Although I admit that I do not like editing my essays most of the time, I completed at least 10 drafts for my personal statement. It is, after all, a precious document where the Admissions Officers can truly get to know you in addition to skimming through the long list of your grades, achievements, awards, and leadership roles.
It's that time of year when students the length and breadth of the country wait with baited breath to hear if they have been successful in attaining the necessary grades to get into the university of their choice. For many, the outcome won't be as they had hoped (or expected), in which case, it's time to turn their attentions to Clearing 2013!
What seems obvious to people who went to a school where the closest thing to a tuck shop was the Chicken Spot over the road, is not what they believe over at Britain's top schools. Ask most Wickamists, Etonians or Salopians* and they'll tell you that getting into Oxbridge from a state school is easier than looting trainers in a riot.
Here's some advice about getting into the big two that's a little less 'be yourself' and a little more 'prepare like so'. I graduated from Oxford a couple of years ago and while I was there I worked at University open days and for my college as an interviews chaperone. I know the system, and in my next three posts I'll reveal what you need to do to get in.
We've got a serious problem in our higher education system and its scale is not to be underestimated. The uncomfortable fact is that if you are educated at an independent school you are 22 times more likely to study at a highly selective university than your state school counterpart in receipt of 'free school meals'. Oh yes, and this rises to 55 times for Oxbridge.