Application Toolkit

The USW Application Toolkit has been created to ensure that you have all the information you need before making a University application. From step-by-step guides to top tips and vlogs from our staff and students, you will have no troubles applying to your dream course by following our advice.

writing your personal statement

Are you struggling to structure that perfect Personal Statement? Perhaps, you’ve only got a few lines and feel like you’re done or alternatively, you might have no idea what to cut. We’re here to help you understand the crucial points for a strong Personal Statement.

1) Why are you the right person for the course?

What interests and excites you about the subject? When did you first become interested and what have been some of the key moments?

2) Give examples of what about the subject interests you.

For example: During my Psychology A Level I particularly enjoyed looking at memory and in particular eyewitness testimony…this is because... Due to my interest in this area I also read...

3) What skills have you got?

Consider your current job, volunteering or extracurricular activities e.g. communication and managing customer expectations.

4) Save words through eliminating pointless adjectives

You’ve only got 4,000 characters so being accurate in your content is really important.

5) Summarise your goals

In the next 5 years I would like to… have completed a masters… be working within a customer facing role… developing a new product… there is no wrong answer here. But how will your degree help you achieve this goal?


USW Student

The first step to applying to university is to create an online account with UCAS. Make sure you keep a note of your login details, so you can access your account at a later date. Remember to use the correct year of application and ask your school or college for their buzzword as you will need this to apply. Students who are currently not attending a school or college will apply as an individual. 

There are a few sections that you will have to complete in this online application and you will be guided through these on the UCAS website. 

You will need to provide information such as:

  • Your personal statement
  • Additional information about yourself
  • Which universities you are going to apply to (maximum of 5)
  • Grades achieved from your previous qualifications
  • Employment history

The final section you will need to complete at this stage is uploading that all important personal statement.  Once it has been checked, double checked and triple checked by friends, family and your school or college, you can then upload your personal statement here.

Your teacher or tutor at your school or college will write a reference, in support of your application and will upload this in the next section for you.

Once you have checked all of the details are correct and paid the UCAS administration fee (if you are applying via a school or college they may pay this for you), your application to study at university is ready to go. You will be able to check the status of your applications via the UCAS Hub facility on your phone, pc or tablet. You will find out which universities have offered you a place on their course via this facility.

why choose higher education?

International students on laptops

There are many benefits to Higher Education:


There has been an 11% growth in the jobs market for graduate jobs and graduates on average earn £10,000 a year more than none graduates – due to them having access to many high paying roles.


Through attending Higher Education, you will also develop a range of skills including analytical thinking skills, resilience and creativity. If you choose to study at USW, you will have access to some world class and industry standard facilities including the Health Simulation Centre, Film & TV School Wales and our Sports Park.


By going to university, you will meet people from all walks of life and make great friends. You will have the chance to move away from home, gain your independence and have some exciting fieldtrip and work placement opportunities whilst you study.

If you feel that Higher Education is for you, we hope you’ll consider USW as an option. Take a look at our subject pages, where you’ll also be able to attend an online open day, download a prospectus or speak to some of our students and academics.

A guide to student finance (wales)

Bank Account

Your tuition fees cost £9,000 a year in Wales or £9,250 a year in England. We would recommend checking the Student Finance Wales website for details on when your application for finance should be submitted.

Typically, there are two types of loans:

Tuition Fee Loan

A loan to cover the cost of your degree, called the Tuition Fee Loan. This covers the entire cost of your degree and the money will go straight from student finance to the University.

Maintenance Loan

A grant or loan to support you with living costs throughout your studies, called the Welsh Government Learning Grant and Student Maintenance Loan. The Welsh Government Learning Grant depends on your household income, and where you’ll be studying, however most students will get a grant of at least £1,000. The Welsh Government Learning Grant doesn’t need to be paid back. 

Depending on what your eligible for with the Welsh Government Learning Grant, the rest of your maintenance will come from a loan which will need to be paid back.

Both the grant and loan are to help you to pay for things such as accommodation, food, gym memberships and many other expenses.

How much can you borrow?

Everybody is able to borrow the cost of their course as their tuition fee loan. 

We would suggest visiting the Student Finance Wales website for accurate information on what finance is available.

How to repay your loan

You will start repaying your student loan from the April after you graduate but only if you are earning an amount over the repayment threshold which is currently £27,295.  9% of your earnings over this threshold will go towards repaying your loan. 

After 30 years all remaining debt is wiped. 

a guide to student finance (england)

TAC 2017 - Day 1 & 2 - Student Finance England

Student Finance typically opens in March and closes in the middle of May but check out the Student Finance England website for details. Your tuition fees cost £9,250 a year in England or £9,000 a year in Wales. 

Typically, there are two types of loans:

Tuition Fee Loan

This covers the entire cost of your degree and the money will go straight from the Student Finance provider to the University. 

Maintenance loan

A loan to support you with living costs throughout your studies. This helps you to pay for things such as accommodation, food, gym memberships and many other expenses.

Your maintenance loan varies depending on where you decide to live, where you study, and your parents’ income – the more they earn the less you will receive as a loan. We would recommend checking the Government Student Finance web pages for the latest advice.

How to repay your loan

You will start repaying your student loan from the April after you graduate but only if you are earning an amount over the repayment threshold which is currently £25,000.  9% of your earnings over this threshold will go towards repaying your loan. 

After 40 years all remaining debt is wiped. 

understanding the UCAS cycle

Apply via UCAS

September: Application Opens

Whilst you may have already looked at some university websites, scoured some prospectuses and even attended an Open Day this is the earliest date you can submit and process your UCAS application. Remember you will only get 5 options.

October 15th : Early Submission Deadline

Thinking of applying to Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary or the University of Oxford or Cambridge – then you need to submit your application by October 15th. Remember your teachers will also need time to read your application and add a reference.

January 31st :  Application Deadline

Your school or college may have an earlier internal deadline which you should stick to. Once your application is ready get it submitted there is no point in leaving it until the last possible day. Please do remember your teachers will also need time to read your application and add a reference.

End of February: UCAS Extra Opens

If you are rejected by all 5 of your offers you can add an extra choice through UCAS Hub.

Start of May: University Decision on Applications

If you made the January deadline, you should have heard from all your universities. From the offers you have been made you will then need to make a first (firm) and second (insurance) choice and reject the remaining offers.

Start of July: Clearing Opens

If you haven’t been placed at a university or change your mind and want to look at another course, you will then go through clearing. Universities will have all of their remaining course places advertised here, your best bet is to ring the university you are interested in.

August: A Level Results Day

At this point you will know whether you made the conditions of your firm or insurance choice, if you haven’t it is time to go on to clearing.

September/October University Starts

Your future starts here.

why study at USW?

The Perfect location

South Wales is an exceptional part of the UK, with city life, countryside and the coast on your doorstep. 

Our courses are delivered across our 3 campuses in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd. Each campus has specific state-of-the-art facilities for our courses.


At USW, we seek to ensure that you’ll be ready to start a successful career after graduating from university. 95% of our students are in employment or further study 6 months after graduating. 

We’ve made employability part of the curriculum, with teaching informed by what happens in the real world and what skills you’ll need for the workplace.

Courses accredited by professional bodies

Accreditations act as a stamp of approval for your employability. Graduating whilst gaining accreditation shows that you've been taught to the highest, industry-relevant standard, and this is often recognised by employers, giving you a competitive advantage when entering the job market.

Outstanding student support

Our support services range from our disability service to mental health and wellbeing service to our Chaplaincy. All of our support services can be accessed via our Advice Zone Online and is a one-stop-shop for all student queries.

Lecturers with expert knowledge and experience 

Many of our academics are active researchers, or are key players in their industry, meaning you’ll be taught by people who have current, real-world experience in the field you’re interested in. We ensure that our teaching teams maintain strong connections to their individual industries, meaning they bring their expert knowledge to our courses.

Diverse and welcoming student life

The Students’ Union plays an important part in the life of every student – and it’s much more than a place to party. The SU exists to ensure you have the best possible experience at USW. 

From over 100 societies and clubs to choose from, endless support, activities and events to volunteering and skill-development, our students union strive to make sure you have the chance to enrich every aspect of your student life.


Sarah Liddell Network75

Network75 is a combined work placement and part-time study route to a degree allowing students to Work, Earn and Learn. During term times, students spend 3 days a week working for their host company and 2 days studying towards their degree at USW. During holiday periods, students will attend their placement 5 days per week. 

What can I study?

Network75 have established links with over 400 companies across South Wales and the West of England, therefore, work placements are available in a wide variety of industries within companies of all sizes, from large multi-nationals to small enterprises.

With degrees in Accounting, Business, Computing, Engineering, Law and Surveying, students can apply their academic knowledge to real-life work within a company.

How can I apply?

Network75 has a separate application process to UCAS and we usually like to receive applications by March.

To apply, you will need to download the application form from our website and return the completed form to us via email and you will receive an automatic email receipt as confirmation.

Successful applicants will be asked to attend the University for an interview. These normally take place from January to May. You will also be required to attend an interview with the host company and will receive confirmation of your place upon receiving your results, should they meet the entry requirements.

For more information on the application process and timeline you can visit the Network75 website.


Teaching  - Apply Now

If you wish to apply directly to university, then you will apply via the relevant university website. 

At USW you will need to register an account on our website, and you will need to submit similar personal details to UCAS. We still ask all applicants to submit a personal statement and reference. This can be from your tutor or an employer if you have left school or college. 

The main difference when applying direct is there is no administration fee and the university will get in contact with you directly rather than via UCAS Hub. 

Remember that if you are applying to multiple universities directly you will need to be very organised in terms of replying to them by certain dates as the emails will not all be displayed in the same place.


Georgia Satchwell - MSc Clinical Psychology.jpg

Have we missed something?

If you have any questions you'd like to ask or need some advice, contact our friendly enquiries team on 03455 76 77 78 (UK Applicants) or +44(0)1443 654450 (International enquiries) or speak to us via LiveChat. 

You can also email us at [email protected].

We look forward to hearing from you.