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The basics
THE UK: Applying to University

Interview with an admissions officer

We hear from an admissions officer who shares his experience of assessing university applications

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We spoke to Cassim Patel, international admissions officer at London Metropolitan University (London Met). Cassim tells us about how London Met assist students throughout the process, interview tips, as well as some particularly memorable applications (for both the right and wrong reasons) from his time in admissions...


Is there anything which immediately turns you off an application?

Applications with many spelling and grammar mistakes and no personal statement do not give you a good impression of the person’s academic ability. We also expect applicants to read and follow instructions on how to complete the application form properly attaching all relevant documentation and answering all relevant sections.


Are there any factors which consistently come up in discussions between you and your colleagues?

London Metropolitan University may consider applicants who fall just below our minimum entry requirement in their highest-level qualification but have extensive and relevant professional experience. If this type of application is supported by a strong personal statement and good references, then they may be given a second chance to shine academically. We understand that professional experience also enhances a student’s ability to engage in academic study and often gives students useful skills such as time management, report writing, confidence and presentation skills.   


What guidance is available for international applicants who are worried about what stage their application is at?

The institution provides clear information in respect of all application processes both in-house and external e.g. UCAS. The information is provided through different mediums such as the University’s International Admissions Applicant Portal. We also have individual international officers who are here to support international applicants through the application process and are on hand to give advice or an update on their admission status.


How highly do you rate improvement in grades?

Academic performance progression is important and if this is reflected in the application itself then this will be considered positively. We understand that students sometimes need time to adjust to a new learning environment. A caveat would be the number of attempts the applicant has taken to pass an applicable subject.


What advice would you give to someone who is about to go in for their interview at an institution?

We always recommend that you prepare accordingly. Often, we will ask you to liaise with the academic faculty before your interview so that they are able to provide clear instructions enabling you to sufficiently prepare. During the interview make every effort to answer all questions put to you and prepare a few questions to ask when the opportunity is given. The person interviewing will appreciate the position of the interviewee. So, don’t worry too much about being nervous. Always be aware of the time and don’t be late!


From your time in admissions, is there an application which stands out in your mind, whether for good or bad reasons? Tell us about it.

During my time as international admissions officer, I have seen many applications of differing calibre. One of the worst applications I have come across was from an applicant who pasted his bank statement onto the application as his personal statement. One of the best applications was for an MA Journalism, which was forwarded to the course leader as sample work needs to be approved by an academic faculty member for entry onto this course. Upon reading her sample work, the course leader immediately phoned me to request that I make her an offer straight away saying that this was the best candidate she had ever seen. 


Want more tips on making the perfect university application?

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