Applying to Study English Literature

It took me an absolute age to decide what I wanted to study at university (my indecision is actually the reason why I’m taking a gap year at the moment), but when I eventually decided, it turned out I made the wrong choice! I originally applied to do joint English Literature and German Language, but I realised after receiving my offers that all I really wanted to do was study English Lit, and after emailing everywhere, Warwick thankfully let me change. Despite applying for a joint course, there were some key things I had to do involved in applying to study English, and with Summer coming and year 12’s currently looking at uni’s, I thought I’d compile a list of my tips for applying for English!

  1. Make sure it’s what you actually want to do. I cannot stress this enough, but before you apply, make sure it’s for the right course! Choosing the wrong course cost me not only a lot of hassle, but also uni’s that I would have considered going to, but couldn’t because they wouldn’t let me change. There’s no point applying to do something just because you think it’ll look good, but won’t enjoy, because at the end of the day, you’re going to be studying for at least 3 years, and spending £27,000 to do so!
  2. Only include books you like in your personal statement. It may seem tempting to name drop in your personal statement, but in all honesty, you should only really include books you actually like. Uni’s are largely looking for real enthusiasm in the writing, and if you don’t really like the book, it’ll show. And if you end up getting called for an interview, it will be obvious and a little awkward if you get questioned on a book you neither like – or even worse, you haven’t read!
  3. Read A LOT. To lead on from my last point, to find books to include in your personal statement that both look good and you’re enthusiastic about – read a lot! Pick the favourite books you’ve read at school and read more by the author; pick genres you like (e.g. modernism, the gothic) and read more in that style – read anything you think might be useful and find what it is you’re actually interested in.
  4. Talk to your teachers. This is a resource I really didn’t use enough when applying (although being on a gap year it was pretty difficult!). Your teachers can help with anything university related, whether it be reading your personal statement, suggesting books to read, or just finding out about universities and their experiences in general.
  5. Get it done early. Now this may be a bit hypocritical coming from me, as I’m the queen of procrastination, but it will cause you so much less hassle if you just get on with it and do it. It caused me so much stress as the deadline approached, and the end product would’ve been so much better if I’d just got on with it – you have to do it anyway, so why not sooner than later?

I hope these tips have provided some sort of assistance if you’re thinking of applying for English at Uni – or anything really! And if you’re reading this and are already at university – what would your top tips be? Comment below!

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