What Next? Articles offer timeless career advice, interview tips and CV examples.

  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Returning to education as a mature student

    Watching a child go off to university can inspire parents to go back to the classroom.

    Every year, thousands of mature students enrol on courses at university or college. 

    They see it as a great opportunity to extend their knowledge, develop new skills or pursue a change of career.

    Mature students often have a clearer idea of what they want to study as taking time out of education has helped them to find out what motivates and interests them.

    Anyone over the age of 21 is classed as a mature student and they will find that course providers value their enthusiasm, skills and experience.

    Around a third of undergraduates are mature students – of all ages and backgrounds – and they form an important part of the university or college community.

    Whether they are studying both full time or part-time, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

    The fear that many older people have, of returning to education and being the only person who hasn’t been with their classmates since school, is unfounded. 

    It’s estimated that 40 per cent of those in the UK are over the age of 30 and have had work, mortgage or family responsibilities.

    For some, enrolling can be prompted by a feeling of having missed out on life opportunities or having ended up in jobs that they simply don’t enjoy.

    A higher education course is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking and one that isn’t entered into lightly. 

    The key advantages of being a mature student include the practical skills developed through life experience such as independent living and budgeting, as well as personal traits such as confidence in giving presentations as well as time and project management skills.

    Lecturers appreciate that the decision to return to learning means mature students are highly motivated and committed to their college or university studies. 

    Mature students tend to have a more focused attitude to study and a strong vision of where a qualification will take them.

    For anyone considering this path, UCAS says not to worry if you don’t have the right qualifications. 

    You can discuss alternatives with course providers, such as taking an access course, or getting accreditation for prior learning, life experience or work experience.

    Experts recommend researching course options thoroughly to ensure they meet expectations.

    In the same way they are available to school-leavers, loans can be applied for to fund studies. 

    There are no age limits to student finance, so you can apply at any time of life – as long as it’s the first time you’ll be studying for a degree. 

    Financial help is also available for students with children or adult dependants.

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Study for a degree at your own pace

    Online distance learning can be a convenient option for those who want to work towards a degree but also want to start earning by getting a full-time job.

    Students are totally free to organise how and when they study making it the most flexible higher education option.

    More than 270,000 undergraduate students are currently taking their first degrees via distance learning.

    Materials are sent directly to the student or accessed via the internet and tutorial support is provided via electronic means such as Skype and email.

    This way of learning enables you to fit a full degree around your personal and work life. 

    While it also doesn’t matter where you live because you can gain a degree from anywhere in the world.

    You can also study undergraduate, postgraduate and professional level courses all via distance learning.

    One advantage is that a distance learning course often costs less than a full-time face-to-face degree course with students usually offered a ‘pay as your learn’ option rather than paying the full course fees at the start.

    The majority of UK undergraduate students study with the Open University with courses covering a range of subjects from arts to science and everything in between.

    Students can use these to build a range of qualifications that include certificates of higher education, diplomas of higher education, foundation degrees or honours degrees.

    Tutors mark assignments, provide detailed written feedback, and offer support to students by telephone, email, or computer conferencing.

    But many universities up and down the country now offer distance learning programmes too.

    They all work hard to ensure they are of the same high quality as campus-based programmes.

    Staffordshire University, for example, says online distance learning students will be expected to spend two evenings per week and a weekend afternoon studying.

    Officials say they have the same status as any student on campus but there’s no need to come on to campus.

    Also, they will be given deadlines like other students on campus but are able to manage their time leading up to assessments to work around what suits them best. 

    Those enrolled can access lectures, recordings and course material online whenever it suits them and they can study wherever they are.

    Then, once they’ve finished, they can celebrate their graduation with everyone else.

    At most universities, online distance learning courses still follow the standard semester calendar with, usually, a start date in September.

    Applications need to be submitted directly to the university or college, rather than going through UCAS.

    The downside to this style of learning is that some people can find it lonely and isolating because you are not meeting your fellow course mates regularly.

    However, the programmes often include day schools or residential weekends where you work with other students on a specific project.

    These can be followed by continued contact with the team as you work together, and result in another residential where results are presented and assessed.


    ALL ABOUT THE OPEN UNIVERSITY


    Founded in 1969, it is the largest academic institution in the UK with 173,889 students.

    76 per cent of students work full or part-time during their studies.

    30 per cent of new Open University undergraduates are under the age of 25.

    86 per cent of FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff on Open University courses.

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    How to impress at your first job interview

    Preparing for your first job interview can feel both exciting and daunting.

    But before you even start applying for positions make sure you have a first-class CV.

    It’s what your potential new employer will use to decide whether to offer you an interview so it needs to showcase all of your talents while telling tell them exactly why you are the best person for the role.

    Businesses and organisations will most likely make a decision on whether to offer you an interview based purely on what they see on your CV.

    You want it to not just help you stand out and be memorable, but also provide all of the information the person reading it needs to know.

    Firstly, make sure to include your contact details at the top but do not include your age or a photograph unless specifically asked to do so.

    You want the layout to be clear and concise because too much information can be hard to take in so try to keep to no more than two pages.

    It needs to include your education and achievements and employment history, such as any part-time jobs as well as any work or volunteer experience, making sure to include details of your roles and responsibilities.

    Mention any personal, technical or specialist skills you have – you could provide examples of how you’ve used them to show you are motivated and ready for work.

    These could include organisation, communication and interpersonal skills.

    Also, you can add a few lines about hobbies or personal projects that may be relevant to the job you are applying for and include details of two referees. 

    These could be tutors or someone who managed you at your part-time job or during work experience.

    When you are finished make sure to check spelling and grammar. 

    Read it through more than once and ask someone else to take a look too – they might spot something you haven’t noticed.

    Hopefully your CV will impress and you will be offered an interview.

    You’ve probably heard your parents talk about the importance of making a good first impression.

    And one of the best ways to help yourself feel more confident and in control is to be prepared. 

    Research everything you can about the company and what the role you have applied for entails.

    This may be something you’ve done already before submitting your application but it’s worth spending more time on this as you will be able to show at the interview that you fully understand what will be expected of you.

    Arrive in plenty of time on the day of the interview – do a trial run if you are unsure how long it will take you to reach the venue.

    Always dress smartly – remember you will be seen before you are heard so make sure the way you are dressed is businesslike.

    Take a moment to relax before entering the premises or interview room and then offer a firm handshake.

    Don’t forget it’s only one interview, there will always be other opportunities if you miss out.

    When answering questions be confident in your skills and abilities when you are talking and make eye contact.

    If you do find yourself getting flustered, take a moment to gather your thoughts before continuing, they will expect you to be nervous.

    Finally, try to end the interview on a positive note – this could be quickly summing up why you would be a valuable addition to the team.


    HOW TO GET AHEAD AT YOUR INTERVIEW


    Learn about the job – The more you know about the role, the easier it will be to answer questions about why you would be a good fit for it .

    Research the company – the interviewer will expect you to know about their firm so make sure you find out as much as you can about them .

    Practice interviewing – get a family member or friend to ask you some questions so you can practice your answers .

    Dress appropriately – you want to impress them so make sure you are smart and tidy . Business wear is always a good option

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Would a gap year benefit your future?

    Whether you choose to travel the world, learn a new skill or gain valuable experience in the work place –a gap year can provide endless opportunities.

    But it shouldn’t be viewed as ‘a year off’. You need to make it count because you will want to show future employers that taking a break from your education was worth it.

    The time should be spent wisely to make the experience benefit your future.

    Travelling is a popular option with many students who take this opportunity to see the world before returning to their studies.

    Exploring different countries and cultures can have many benefits and help you to develop important life skills.

    Stepping outside of your comfort zone and living and working in an unfamiliar environment will mean you quickly become a much more independent person.

    It’s the perfect opportunity to experience a different way of life while standing on your own two feet for the first time.

    But while you’re having fun don’t forget to ensure you have a plan of action for when your year is up – whether it’s further study or work.

    Another beneficial way to spend a gap year is to use it to build up some work experience – either relevant to the career you have in mind or to help you develop general skills such as IT, language and communication.

    Working for a year can also be a way to earn money for university, taking the pressure off your finances.

    Work opportunities are not just available at home as many companies run schemes allowing gap year students to work abroad on paid placements.

    These might include roles involving working with children or conservation work.

    If you don’t feel ready to go on to university or higher education, then this break can also buy you some valuable thinking time before further study especially if you don’t know which course to choose.

    Or if you do know but just want to wait 12 months before going, UCAS allows you to apply now and defer your start date by a year. 

    This way you can get your results confirmed and hopefully receive an unconditional offer for the following year.

    Experience you gain while on a gap year can also make your CV stand out when you start applying for jobs.

    Employers could look at hundreds of applications, so offering something different will catch their eye.

    But the opposite is also true – if you choose to take a year out but don’t actively take part in anything then this can be viewed negatively by employers.

    Consider your options and long-term goals carefully and whether taking a gap year will benefit you later on.

    The UCAS website can point you in the right direction of some of the opportunities available if you decide this is the right move for you.

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Revision tips to help you ace your exams

    Revision, revision, revision. We all know it’s not the most enjoyable task but it’s one that has got to be done.

    Often students will leave it as late as possible to start as they don’t want to acknowledge that their exams are getting closer and closer by the day.

    But the earlier you can start revising the less pressure there is on you to fit it all in. 

    And don’t forget it’s all for a good cause – your future – and there are many ways to make the task more manageable and less overwhelming.

    Allow plenty of time. The later you leave it to begin your revision, the more you are likely to panic as your exams draw near. 

    Speak to your teachers as they will be able to advise you on a suitable time to start hitting the books.

    Find somewhere at home where you feel comfortable to work and make sure it’s quiet and uncluttered as this will help you focus. But try not to revise in front of the television or computer as these distractions are bound to prove too tempting.

    Make a revision timetable – you can see what needs to be done and plan your time correctly.

    Split your revision into small chunks – you can’t expect to concentrate for hours and take everything in. Set your phone alarm for 45 minutes and then take a short break away from the books. Keep repeating to make sure you are taking frequent breaks during your revision session.

    Review and summarise your notes. Pick out the key points and write them down again. One of the best ways ways to memorise information is by making notes over and over again.

    Revision cards – get a pack of blank postcards and write down the main points for each topic. You can take them where you go to test yourself

    Revise with your friends – If friends are taking the same exams then arrange to get together to do some occasional group revision – as long as they will not distract you! You will be able to review notes and test each other. Talking to your mates, who understand what you’re going through, will make you feel less stressed. 

    Do plenty of past papers to familiarise yourself with the exam style and the type of wording used for the questions. If you get these checked by a teacher, you will learn how they are marked too.

    Eat well and drink lots of water. Keeping blood sugars level will help your concentration and motivation.

    Keep testing yourself. Once you have completed a topic, don’t just put it to one side. Keep going back and reviewing it again as repetition will improve your memory.

    Get plenty of sleep. Make sure you are well-rested because being tired will not help you perform at your best.

    Allow time to exercise. Keeping active is important and will provide a good break away from your revision. Even if you just go for a quick walk – the fresh air will clear your head and perk you up.

    Find ways to relax. When you are planning your revision schedule, leave some time for your hobbies or seeing your friends because this will help you to switch off your brain for a bit.

    And finally, stay positive. If you go into to it expecting to fail and letting yourself get stressed, you are going to find the whole experience thoroughly miserable. Put it all into perspective, you can only do your best and as long as you do that everyone will be proud of you, no matter what actually happens on results day.


    GUIDE TO BEATING EXAM DAY NERVES


    Get a good night’s sleep –  don’t stay up late cramming as it will impact on your performance in the exam.

    Have a good breakfast – Don’t try to do an exam on an empty stomach.

    Arrive on time – Aim to get there at least 10-15 minutes before the start of your exam to give you some breathing space before you begin.

    Focus on you – don’t get distracted by what others are doing, you can’t judge how well you are doing by how other people are behaving.

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Volunteer your time to help others and yourself

    Volunteering and helping others is not just hugely satisfying, it can also help you make friends and learn new skills.

    As well as benefitting the wider community and making a difference to the organisation, it should also make you feel pretty good about yourself.

    It can also teach you skills that are invaluable to potential employers and let’s be honest it will also look good on your CV.

    There is a wide range of charities and groups that are always on the lookout for extra pairs of hands, of all ages, even if you can only spare a couple of hours a week.

    When considering where to volunteer, think about what you feel most strongly about and then research the different charities and groups in that area in the community. 

    Depending on the organisation you choose, you could volunteer in the evenings, at weekends or in the holidays.

    If you go to college or university, you may be able to fit time for volunteering around your studies or job.

    Opportunities can include activities such as befriending, helping at events, fundraising, conservation activities, providing support to children and older people.

    You can make a difference to the lives of others, help the environment, or help others less fortunate or without a voice.

    As well as volunteering close to home, you could also consider lending a hand overseas.

    There are many charities on the lookout for extra help with projects abroad such as building schools for disadvantaged people.

    Volunteering can help you gain confidence by giving you the opportunity to try something new and build a real sense of achievement.

    It can help you feel part of something outside of your friends and family and you will meet lots of different people. 

    It will make you feel valued and part of a team.

    By volunteering, you are doing what you can in order to improve the environment around you.

    Through volunteering you can develop skills for the workplace from organisational and time management to communication and the ability to work with different age groups. 

    There may also give you a route to earn qualifications.

    A lot of non-profit organisations will offer training to volunteers, which often leads to accreditation too.

    It can also be a great way to get work experience in your chosen career field and get an insight into the profession.

    Employers will be impressed that you’ve shown initiative by getting some hands-on experience.

    As well as looking good on your UCAS personal statement, if you are considering going to university, it will help your CV to stand out too because it proves you can think independently and that you’ve shown commitment by getting unpaid work.

    NCVO, which champions the voluntary sector and volunteering, says:

    “Volunteering can make a real difference to your own life and the lives of those around you.

    “People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. 

    For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them.

    “For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.

    “Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it both challenging and rewarding.”

    For more information about volunteering people can visit the website www.ncvo.org.uk

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Keep yourself safe and secure at University

    You’re away from home for the first time with the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

    But it also means that now you alone are responsible for your own safety and welfare.

    It’s also on you to ensure that all of your belongings are secure and not at any risk.

    There is so much going on at university and it can be easy to forget about staying safe – especially during those first hectic weeks where you’re focused on settling into a new chapter of your life.

    But simple precautions don’t cost much time or money and can help prevent your new-found freedom from being ruined.

    Firstly, whenever you leave your room, even if it’s just for a few minutes, always lock your room door.

    You don’t want your belongings tempting an opportunist thief and it’s better to be safe than sorry so insurance is a good investment. 

    You can make one payment a year to ensure everything in your room is covered.

    When out and about, keep valuables, such as phones, purses and wallets, in an inside coat or bag pocket where they can be secured. 

    Take advantage of on-campus lockers when using leisure and sports facilities.

    Be careful at cash machines, check for signs of interference before using it and never accept a stranger’s help.

    If you ever feel threatened while out and about set off a personal alarm – these are normally readily available at universities for either no or little cost. 

    Then scream and shout before getting away as quickly as possible.

    Once you’re in a safe place, always call the police immediately.

    When out jogging, try to go in pairs and in the daylight hours. 

    It’s advisable to pick a route that is familiar to you, and stick to main roads with well-lit pavements.

    On a night out, keep an eye on how much you are drinking.

    The more you drink, the less aware you are going to be about what’s going on around you. 

    It will also become harder to react properly to situations that become risky or dangerous.

    Eating before you go out and drinking plenty of water will also help you not to get too drunk. 

    There is absolutely no need to feel embarrassed about ordering a soft drink or water when you’re in a pub. 

    Keep your wits about you and don’t fall victim to peer pressure. 

    Make sure to watch your drink at all times, never leave it unattended when you go to the toilet or to dance.

    If you suspect you’ve had your drink spiked tell a bouncer or the bar staff so you can get help.

    Always plan how you’re going to get to and from the bar or club.

    Do not get in the first cab you see – use the taxi services that are recommended to you by the university or Students’ Union because you know they will be licensed and safe.

    When the taxi arrives, check it is the one you called. 

    Many universities will offer free shuttle buses back from popular venues after hours.

    Don’t let anyone walk home by themselves if you can help it, always stick together – the saying ‘there’s safety in numbers’ is isn't a myth.

    Going out in a group reduces the risk of any personal attack.

    If an incident does happen, report it to the police straight away and also let your university security team and welfare officers know as they are there to help.

    Above everything, trust your instincts because they will usually be accurate.

    If something doesn’t feel right, then walk away.


    TOP TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE

    Take responsibility for yourself – don’t rely on others to look out for your best interests.

    Watch how much you drink – keep track of what and how much you’re drinking an never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger.

    Don’t walk home alone after a night out–where possible, try to get a taxi but if you have to, walk with a group of friends.

    Keep your home secure – ensure access doors locked even when you’re in and when you go out close all the windows and lock all the doors.

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Advice for making new friends at uni

    One of the biggest concerns for many new university students is making friends.

    Moving away from home and from the pals you’ve probably known for probably most of your life can be daunting.

    But the most important thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat, and that means everyone is looking for a new friendship group.

    If you are in university accommodation, leave your door open while moving in.

    This will make it easier for people to approach you and will also mean you can see when everybody else arrives and be able to introduce yourself.

    These are the fellow students you will see every day, and while it’s not guaranteed they will automatically become firm friends, being friendly and approachable will make a big difference.

    Making everyone in your flat a cuppa or having some biscuits or chocolates to offer around can be a great way to break the ice.

    Whatever you do don’t just sit in your room by yourself, make sure you are giving yourself plenty of opportunities to make friends by attending activities around the campus.

    Whether it’s the kitchen or lounge, spend time in the common rooms in your accommodation.

    Having a communal meal is a great way to get everyone out of their bedrooms and having fun together.

    There will be plenty of chances to meet other people through any clubs or societies you join and your club. 

    Joining clubs and societies at the start of university means you will have lots of chances to meet other like-minded people.

    Make sure to attend the Freshers’ Fair where all of the groups will be on hand to give you information about their activities.

    You can either continue with interests you already have, try something new or maybe even both.

    When you go to your first lecture make sure to say hello and introduce yourself to the people sat around you.

    Come up with some general questions to get people talking, such as what course are you doing or where do you come from?

    It may be difficult to take the plunge and start a conversation but the person next to you will no doubt be feeling just as nervous.

    Rather than sitting in silence, be brave and be the one to make the first move. 

    If it doesn’t work out, then sit somewhere different next time and try again.

    But don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t met your next best friend by the end of the first week, there is no set rule that says you have to make friends straight away.

    While a lot of people say that university friends are friends for life, this doesn’t mean they all met them during those first days.

    Give yourself time and friendships will slowly and naturally form.

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Get ready to start your new life away from home

    Now you’ve been accepted to university, it’s time to start making preparations to start your new life.

    From registering with a doctor to getting a jump start on your studies– some planning in advance, rather than leaving everything to the last minute, can help the move run as smoothly as possible.

    If, like most students, you are likely to spend more weeks of the year at your university address than your family’s address, you need to register with a GP near your new home as soon as possible.

    Many universities will have a health centre on campus and that is likely to be the most convenient. 

    The doctors working there will be experienced in the health needs of students.

    Students are normally encouraged to register with the GP during Freshers’ Week.

    It’s advised that you get yourself kitted out before arriving at university but it’ll be easy enough to sort a few bits and pieces once you’re there.

    After arriving at your accommodation for the first time and meeting you flat or housemates, then it’s recommended that you get yourself unpacked early.

    Once university life is in full swing you will no doubt be too busy.

    You will want to make your new home as comfortable as possible from the get-go. 

    This will also help with any homesickness.

    Buy some chocolate, biscuits or sweets when you arrive and share them with your new flatmates as a good way to start talking to people on your first day.

    Getting to know your surroundings should be next on the list.

    Check where the nearest shops are, wander around the student’s union, find out where all of your lecturers and seminars are taking place.

    You could team up with a flat mate which will help you bond as you explore your new town or city.

    There will probably be guided tours of your campus so take advantage of these - even if you don’t think you will need it, you will be grateful the day a lecture gets moved at the last minute to a building you’ve never been to before.

    Another way to get ahead is to check the reading list for your course which universities tend to put online before the term begins or they will send you the details via email.

    This will give you an idea of what to expect from your workload, and making a start on reading will help build your confidence for lectures.

    You don’t need to own every book on the list – identify the core texts and buy these.

    Any others you need will be available to borrow from your university library or to buy from former students for a fraction of their original retail price.

    Another thing to consider is transport.

    It’s not always necessary to take a car to university and parking is often limited and costly.

    If everything is within walking distance or accessible by public transport then you may be better leaving the car at home.

    A 16-25 railcard, taking a third off the price of all train fares, could save you some serious cash.

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    What to pack for fist year University

    Packing for university – especially if it’s your first year – can be both fun and challenging.

    Deciding what to take is never easy as a lot of it will be down to personal choice and what items you can’t live without.

    But there are essentials that everybody will need and ways to ensure you don’t forget anything important.

    Although, remember, it’s not the end of the world if you do leave something behind as you’re not moving to the middle of out where, you should be able to get everything you need on your doorstep.

    Or you can also collect it when you visit home.

    When it comes to packing, it’s recommended that you find out what’s provided at your accommodation to avoid making unnecessary purchases.

    It might be better to wait until you arrive before purchasing smaller electrical items such as kettles and toasters – or you could find that there are six kettles in the flat but no iron.

    Also, check how much storage you’ll have – there’s no point taking things you don’t have the space to keep.

    Firstly draw up a list of items you will need on a daily basis as well as things for entertainment but don’t forget you want to be out enjoying yourself so you don’t need your complete video game collection.

    It can be nice to have some photographs or posters to make your room your own. 

    Also, having familiar items around you can make you feel less homesick.

    Next, consider items for the bathroom such as toiletries and towels and for the kitchen such as crockery and cutlery.

    You will be doing your own washing so along with washing detergent you will need items to help you such as an airer to dry your clothes on and an iron if one isn’t provided.

    Think about what you might need for your studies, including computer equipment, books and stationery.

    But don’t worry, many of these items will be available when you get there and you might have a better idea of what you need once your course gets under way.

    Whatever you do, don’t leave your packing to the last minute because it end up becoming a stressful process and increase the chances of you forgetting something important to you.


    DON’T FORGET TO PACK THESE ESSENTIALS

    All the clothes and shoes you need for daytime and going out – think about wet and winter weather as well as what you might need for the gym or swimming pool

    Bedding–duvet and cover, pillows cases and sheets.

    Towels – for your bathroom and kitchen if needed.

    Toiletries – you will obviously be able to buy supplies when you’re there but it’s worth having a stock to begin with so you don’t have to go shopping straight away.

    First aid kit – accidents happen so it’s a good idea to be prepared. Small kits can be easily bought with items replaced as and when needed

    Food and drink – basics such as bread, milk and cereal to get you started.

    Computer or laptop if you need one.

    Books and stationary

    Coat-hangers – it can be easy to pack your clothes and forget you will need to hang them up 

    Desk lamp if one is not provided in your room

    Alarm clock – you don’t want to be late for lectures!

    Cleaning products for your room, kitchen and bathroom

    Laundry items– washing powder, fabric softener and basket for your clothes

    Door stop – keeping your door open will help you make friends when you start. Don’t forget to remove it whenever you are going out.

    Keyring

    Small rubbish bin

    Weekend bag for visits home

    Torch–always useful!

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  • 29/06/2018 0 Comments
    Spend wisely to help make your money last

    When you’re a student you need to make that loan stretch as far as it can and take advantage of the array of discounts on offer.

    Firstly, a NUS extra card is a gateway to lots of money-off deals.

    They are available for both students and apprentices.

    It provides access to more than 200 UK student discounts and for one year you will also have an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) for free, unlocking over 42,000 international discounts.

    You can choose from a one-year card for £12, a two-year card for £22 or a three-year card for £32.

    Discounts are available for top brands such as 10 per cent off at the Co-op, 10 per cent off ASOS, 10 per cent off at Forever 21, up to 40 per cent off at Pizza Express and 25 per cent off Odeon student priced tickets.

    If you like going for meals out then you might want to consider getting the Gourmet Society Bolt-on.

    This will enable you to enjoy two-for-one meals or up to 50 per cent off meals at around 7,000 top restaurants including big name chains like La Tasca, Bella Italia, Strada, Café Rouge, and Walkabout plus thousands of local favourites by showing your NUS extra Gourmet Society card.

    It costs £7 for a 12-month membership, £12 for a two-year membership or £15 for a three-year membership. 

    There are many other ways to save cash and keep on top of your finances.

    It may not sound like the most fun job but careful budgeting will help you to ensure your loan lasts the whole term.

    Divide your loan by the number of weeks you will need it to last and set yourself a weekly spending limit.

    When supermarket shopping, there are lots of good deals to be had.

    Take advantage of ‘value’ brands as these normally don’t taste much different from well-known brands. 

    It’s usually cheaper to buy multi-packs such as a four-can pack of baked beans or 12 toilet rolls. 

    You could always team up with your flatmates and divide the cost between you.

    Another tip from the NUS is to go to the supermarket at the end of the day.

    Often they reduce the price on products that are due to go out of date, including bread, which you can take home and freeze.

    It can be a good way to enjoy food such as fresh fish which you might not normally be able to afford.

    Planning your meals for the week can also help you save money and ensure you’re not tempted to go for a takeaway because you can’t think of what to cook that night.

    Textbooks can be a big expense so think carefully before splashing out for new ones. 

    It might be tempting to buy all the books on your reading list but you might want to wait and see which are essential.

    Those that you don’t need every day, you can get in the library. 

    Most universities also have secondhand books available. 

    Of course, used textbooks are much cheaper and you’ll probably be able to sell them on again once you’ve used them.

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  • 28/06/2018 0 Comments
    Learn to cook and you will never go hungry

    Moving away from homes means you will need to learn to cook for yourself because you will not be able afford to live on takeaways or restaurant meals.

    And not only is making your own meals a lot cheaper than eating out, it’s also healthier for you in the long-run.

    To help you do this, make sure to stock up on basics such as pasta, rice, chopped tomatoes, tuna, flour and sugar.

    Knowing you have these in the cupboard will make rustling something up each evening much easier and make a takeaway less tempting.

    Don’t be afraid to go for value brands as these can be just as good and all they might need is extra seasoning.

    It’s worth working out which sorts of spices and herbs you actually like as well as you can add this to add flavour to your dish.

    To start with, get the hang of a few basic meals and leave the complicated stuff until you’ve gained more confidence.

    There are many websites and cookery books out there specifically aimed at students learning to cook for the first time.

    Even top chefs like Jamie Oliver have tailor-made recipes for school-leavers.

    Ask your parents for the recipes to some of your favourite family meals – you can even have a go at making these before you leave home.

    They will also be happy to teach you some basic skills from how to boil an egg and cook rice to how make an omelette.

    Learn how to make a basic tomato sauce which you can then turn into a number of different dishes such as chilli con carne and chicken stew.

    You can simply add whatever meat and vegetables you fancy to the sauce and serve it up with pasta, rice, potatoes or couscous depending on what you’re in the mood for.

    One-pot meals are also good because they tend to be cheaper, can be frozen and don’t involve a lot of washing up.

    You can cook together meat and your favourite vegetables or just the veggies and make a great-tasting dish.

    Cooking with friends and flatmates is a really good way to improve your skills in the kitchen. 

    You can share your own family recipes or adapt them depending on each other’s different tastes.

    When planning meals, make sure you check sell-by dates and don’t buy more than you can use when it comes to foods with a limited shelf life.

    And remember the more you cook the better you’ll be at it.

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  • 28/06/2018 0 Comments
    Get extra money in your pocket while you study

    Many students get a part-time job to help them live more comfortably – and also earn some extra cash for having fun.

    It’s estimated that around eight out of 10 students will also work to help fund their studies, whether it’s during term time, in the holidays or both.

    While it’s great to have more money in your bank account to top up your student loan there are many other benefits to having a part-time job.

    Working to earn your own cash can teach you about money management and budgeting – the theory being that you will find it more difficult to part with your hard-earned money so will be less likely to waste it.

    A part-time job is another way to make friends while living away from home so can open up other social opportunities too.

    It can also provide you with vital work experience and it may be that you can find a job connected with your chosen career field.

    But even if you don’t, whatever role you pick will undoubtedly teach you transferable skills such as communication and using your own initiative.

    Also you’ll likely have to work as part of a team, equipping you with the skills needed to work with lots of different personalities.

    Thanks to your job you may also be exposed to working in a commercial environment – something employers may well be looking for so it can help your CV stand out.

    Balancing your studies and a part-time job can be challenging but many students find a way to do it.

    Organisation is key so you can keep track of your shifts and commitments at university as well as important social events.

    Firms employing students are often flexible about hours because they know you are balancing your time.

    Be honest about what you can work and don’t put yourself under too much pressure by accepting shifts that could potentially clash with important lectures or seminars.

    Remember there are only 24 hours in a day, and seven days in a week, so don’t over-schedule yourself. 

    Make sure you have time to relax and spend time with friends as well.

    Once you’ve decided a part-time job will fit in with your studies, visit the university jobshop, most Students’ Unions will have one of these offering a whole host of employment both on and off campus.

    Many will let you register online to receive updates on new vacancies from bar and cafe work to shop assistants and tutoring.

    The run-up to Christmas can be a good time to find work as companies, especially those in the retail sector, will be taking on extra staff at this busy time of year.

    Holidays are also a great time to make a bit of extra cash but don’t forget to leave yourself time to re-charge your batteries too.

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  • 28/06/2018 0 Comments
    Money Matters: Funding your life at University

    One of the biggest worries for students heading off to university is money. 

    You need to finance your education and also ensure you have enough money to live on.

    Currently, universities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can charge up to £9,250 a year for tuition to a student living in England.

    A new awards scheme has been launched by the Government to monitor and assess the quality of teaching in England’s universities.

    They have to meet certain criteria to receive a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) award and those that do are able to increase their fees in line with inflation.

    Tuition fee loans are available as well as maintenance loans to help with living costs. 

    Tuition fee loans are paid directly to the university.

    Interest is charged on the loan from the day you take it out.

    Maintenance loans can be applied for at the same time, lending you money at the start of each term and are re-paid in the same way as tuition fee loans.

    How much you receive depends on your household income and other factors such as where you study, how long for and where you are going to be living.

    When you are studying, the interest on your loan is the UK Retail Price Index (RPI) plus three per cent.

    After you graduate, the rate depends on how much you earn.

    You will not have to start paying your loans back until you are earning above £25,000.

    The Student Loans Company uses your National Insurance number to keep track of your income.

    They will instruct HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to notify your employer when you start working, and payments will be deducted from your taxable earnings.

    If your income falls below the starting threshold within a certain month, there won’t be a repayment deduction made for that month.

    Once the loan is paid off in full, HMRC notifies your employer and the repayments stop.

    The student finance application process normally opens in February so it’s recommended that you apply for funding in plenty of time to ensure your money is in place for the start of term.

    You don’t have to have a confirmed place at university before you apply and it’s advised that you should aim to apply for your loan by May 31 if your course starts between August 1 and December 31.

    The final deadline for funding is nine months after the start of the academic year for your course.

    Additional financial support is available for students on a low income, students with children or dependent adults, disabled students, medical, social work and teacher training students and students studying abroad.

    As soon as you have an offer for a place through UCAS you can talk to the banks about opening an account.

    The advantage of this is that student bank accounts normally have an interest free overdraft facility which is useful if you accidentally overspend.

    This will usually be activated once your first instalment of loan goes in.

    There are websites that will allow you to compare the different student bank accounts on offer as there are often other perks such as railcards offered.

    Make sure to take one or two forms of photo ID such as a passport or driver’s licence along to the bank along with proof of address, such as a bank statement, and your UCAS offer letter.

    CHOOSE A BANK ACCOUNT

    Banks compete with each other to get your attention, so don’t just choose the one with the best free gift.

    Check what services and support they offer as well as how they will treat you in various financial situations.

    Make sure there is an interest-free overdraft.

    Check there is a branch of the bank nearby your campus or accommodation.

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  • 28/06/2018 0 Comments
    Don't miss out on the fun of freshers' week

    Freshers’ Week is an exciting time for all students as it’s a chance to settle into the university way of life before courses begin.

    It will be filled with a mix of social events and ice-breakers, fairs and important administrative tasks to complete.

    It is also a great opportunity to get to know your university and make new friends without the pressure of lectures and deadlines.

    The week is bound to include Freshers’ Fairs offering the chance for clubs and societies to promote themselves to first-year students.

    Don’t be afraid to try out a variety of activities even if you’re not sure it’s something you might like.

    Many groups will offer taster sessions for potential new recruits during the first few weeks of term. 

    And you never know, something you never thought you would enjoy could end up being a life-long hobby.

    The fairs can also be a good place to pick up freebies ranging from pens and sweets to useful money-off vouchers for shops and restaurants – every little bit helps your student budget go further.

    Freshers’ Week can also be a good time to sample the local nightlife. Students’ Unions often organise special events aimed at helping first-years get to know each other.

    Many bars and clubs will also offer special promotions so it can be the cheapest time for a night out and also a way to bond with your flatmates.

    Make the most of this time before your lectures start fully and don’t hide away in your room all the time because you’ll be missing out on an important start to your days at university.

    At the same time don’t push yourself to attend absolutely every social event – the main thing is that you finish the week feeling comfortable with your new environment. 

    You will no doubt meet lots of people during Freshers’ Week, many of whom you’ll never speak to again, but some may become friends for life.

    If you are shy or worried about meeting new people, pick events where there’s actually something to do whether it’s table tennis or rock climbing. 

    Focusing on an activity will help you to relax.

    Remember everybody is in the same boat so just start chatting with people, share interests and what you’re studying and see what happens. Freshers’ Week is also when you will likely need to take care of official things such as introductions to your course, tours of the campus to help you get your bearings and meeting your lecturers.

    It’s also the best time to register at the university health centre which is important to do, even if the queue is a bit off-putting, because you never know when you might need to see a doctor.

    If you are hoping to get a job to help fund your studies, then Freshers’ Week is often the time when job fairs are held to showcase the vacancies available on campus and in the surrounding area.

    While some students sail through Freshers’ Week without any problems, others will find adjusting to university life more difficult. 

    Don’t worry you won’t be the only one experiencing homesickness or feeling anxious.

    There will always be someone you can talk to so don’t suffer in silence.

    Universities usually have staff or older students on hand to talk to first-years in need of a chat.

    Also it’s also worth remembering that it is only one week and there is no rule that says you have to make new friends or join clubs straight away. 

    There is plenty of time to do all of this in the weeks and months ahead.

    SOME TOP TIPS FOR FRESHERS’ WEEK

    Save in advance – with so much going on, your budget for the week is likely to go out of the window so having some extra cash will help ensure you don’t miss out on anything.

    Be yourself – you might think it’s the ideal time to reinvent yourself, but people will see straight through and it will be tiring trying to keep up an act.

    Sign up to clubs and societies – most universities will likely have hundreds of clubs so you’re bound to find something that interests you and don’t be afraid to try something new.

    Fight the homesickness – it might be easier said than done but refrain from talking to people back home as it will make you feel worse. It’s always going to be a shock at first but remember it will get better.

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  • 28/06/2018 0 Comments
    Explore the benefits of the higher national diploma route

    If you’ve decided that university isn’t the right choice for you but you’re still keen to continue in education then there are other options available.

    Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) prepare students for careers in a specific industry.

    While they can lead directly to the workplace, many students use the qualification as a stepping stone to an honours degree.

    These courses tend to focus on ‘learning by doing’ and are designed to meet the needs of employers.

    Both qualifications are provided by further and higher education colleges.

    HNCs take about one year to complete full-time and two years part-time. 

    It is equivalent to the first year of a degree.

    HNDs take two years full-time and can also be taken part-time, which takes longer.

    This is the equivalent to two years of a degree. Both HNCs and HNDs can be very practical qualifications, so they do not just involve theory.

    There is also a financial advantage because due to their shorter length the tuition fees are generally lower than degree courses.

    They also enable you to keep your options open as they allow you to start your degree at college, and then if you decide you like it, carry on to university.

    HNCs and HNDs tend to be assessed through assignments, projects and practical tasks that you complete throughout the course.

    Both HNCs and HNDs can be ‘topped up’ with extra studies at a later date in order to convert them to a full bachelor’s degree.

    Some of the most popular HND courses available include accounting, business and finance, business management, civil engineering, construction, electrical engineering, graphic design, management, nursing, mechanical engineering and photography.

    According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 17 per cent of recent HND graduates studied business studies, while nine per cent studied computer science and eight per cent electrical and electronic engineering.

    Hospitality, leisure, sport, tourism and transport and general engineering were also popular choices.

    Students often have many opportunities to impress potential future employers and increase their chances of getting a job.

    Due to the vocational nature of an HND, you may find opportunities will arise during your time in the workplace. 

    If you’re carrying out work experience alongside your studies, not only will you develop and hone the skills employers are looking for, but you’ll build contacts that could be useful in your job hunt.

    HND graduates have the advantage of gaining a wealth of practical, specialised experience. 

    There are also foundation degrees which area qualification in their own right but can be ‘topped up’ to a full degree.

    They are great for students who are unsure if a degree is for them.

    They can be a good stepping stone for people unsure of university and may suit people who want to study part-time while working.

    They are equivalent to the first two years of an honours degree.

    Most are created with the help of employers to ensure they are teaching the relevant skills for the local area and are normally designed with and validated by a specific university.

    While the course will still involve academic study, there will also be practical work-related learning.

    Students can then complete the final year of the degree at the partner university.

    THE SUBJECTS YOU CAN STUDY

    HNCs and HNDs are available in a wide range of subject areas, including agriculture; computing and IT; construction and civil engineering; engineering; health and social care; business and management; sport and exercise sciences; performing arts; photography; retail and distribution and hospitality management.

    Most HND courses require one A-level or an equal qualification.

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  • 28/06/2018 0 Comments
    Apprenticeships offer real life work experience

    From engineering to nursing and from law to design – thousands of apprenticeships are available every year in a vast range of industries and careers.

    They are available and realistic alternative to university offering students the chance to gain hands-on experience and learn skills that employers want, helping to shape their future career.

    Apprentices earn a competitive salary in a real job while all their training is paid for and they can continue their education up to degree level.

    Pay is dependent on the industry, location and type of apprenticeship – for example, some higher apprenticeships can pay as much as £500 per week.

    Apprenticeships are often a popular option for people who don’t want to have the worry of student debt hanging over them in the future.

    Higher apprenticeships range between Level 4, which is the equivalent of one year of higher education study, to Level 6, which is the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree.

    They cover around 75 industries and more than 100 different job roles, ranging from legal services to banking and engineering.

    Higher and degree apprentices typically split their time between college or university and the workplace.

    An apprenticeship can lead to a long-term job after the initial contract is completed.

    You can also pick up life-long skills that will be useful and adaptable to any industry.

    The whole time you will be making a good name for yourself and building professional contacts which will benefit you greatly in the future As with other apprenticeships, students are employed throughout and the cost of the fees are shared between Government and their employer.

    Many employers choose to pay substantially more than the apprenticeship minimum wage, which is £3.70 per hour for those under 19.

    As well as having many benefits for apprentices, the scheme is also popular with employers. Many see it as an investment because they can guide and train their recruits to have the specific skills required for the industry and ensure they are reliable members of the workforce.

    Employers want an apprentice who is polite, punctual and reliable. 

    They also want a quick learner who can follow instructions and advice and someone who can think on their feet to fix any problems that crop up.

    Firms will be looking for a team player, who will fit into the existing workforce well.

    Their apprentice will need to have good people skills, especially if the role involves dealing with customers or the public.

    For more information and support on applying for an apprenticeship go online to getingofar.gov.uk

    Keith Smith, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, which coordinates apprenticeships in England, dispels five common myths surrounding apprenticeships

    1. Apprenticeships are for people who don’t do well at school 

    Apprenticeships are an alternative route into skilled employment and offer people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to progress in work and life. They’re a great way to earn while you learn, gain vital work
    experience and set yourself on a fast track to a successful career.

    2. Apprenticeships are only available in manual industries

    Apprenticeships are now available in hundreds of occupations in many industries, ranging from nuclear to fashion, and from banking to defence. And employer-led Government reforms are creating even better apprenticeships in more sectors, covering more roles, to help meet employer needs.

    3. Apprenticeships are low quality

    Quality is at the heart of apprenticeships which is why last year the government has launched the Institute for Apprenticeships, putting employers at the heart of decision making processes and ensuring all apprenticeships deliver the same high-quality training.

    4. Apprenticeships don’t lead to good qualifications

    Apprenticeships offer a great career pathway. Learners can progress from intermediate (Level 2) apprenticeships right up to Higher and even Degree Apprenticeships with top universities. Over four in five apprentices say an apprenticeship has improved their career prospects with 85 per cent going into work or further training.

    5. Apprentices will never earn very much

    Apprentices will receive at least the national minimum wage – currently £3.70 per hour for 16 to 18-year-olds and those aged 1 plus in the First year of their apprenticeship – and most employers will pay more than this. Apprenticeships boost earnings potential in the longer term too: individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications.


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  • 28/06/2018 0 Comments
    Get the most out of your UCAS application

    All applications to universities in the UK are made through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admission Service.

    Although it might seem confusing at first, the system has been designed to be straight-forward and ensure you can keep track of your application, choices and offers.

    How to begin:

    Firstly, register for your Apply account at www.ucas.com/apply where you will need to enter your personal details, get a username, create a password, and set your security questions. Your school or college will also
    give you a buzzword which you will also be asked to enter.

    Next you will be able to choose your courses – you select up to five but don’t worry they will not be able to see where else you’ve applied and there’s no preference order. For medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or veterinary science, you can only apply to a maximum of four courses in any one of these subjects. And you can only apply to one course at either the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.

    The next step is entering all your qualifications, whether you have the result or you’re still awaiting exams and results.

    You then need to add in details of any paid jobs – full-time or part-time – and include company names, addresses, job descriptions, and start and finish dates.

    Next you will have to write a personal statement – this is your chance to show universities or colleges why you want to study the course and why you would make a great student.

    Make sure to check your application carefully before marking it as complete.

    Get a reference – this is a written recommendation normally from a teacher, adviser, or professional who knows you academically. Everyone needs a reference.

    After you’ve sent your application to UCAS – it will be processed and you will be sent a welcome email confirming the application has been sent. This email will also contain your Personal ID, which will enable you to track its progress.

    Key terms:

    Extra is a free service and allows students to apply to one course at a time between February 25 and July 4. To be eligible, you need to have had no offers, then you can use Extra.

    If you’ve done better than expected in your A levels, Adjustment allows you to see what other courses are available.

    If you’ve had no offers or your exams don’t go to plan, there’s always Clearing. It’s how universities and colleges fill any places they still have. You will need to contact the course providers directly if you see a course that interests you.

    KEY DATES FOR YOUR DIARY FOR UNDERGRADUATE APPLICATIONS

    October 15, 2018: Deadline for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and for most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry

    January 15, 2019: Deadline for the majority of undergraduate courses

    February 25, 2019: Extra opens

    May 1, 2019: If you receive all decisions by March 31, reply by May 1

    May 2, 2019: University/college decisions due on applications submitted by January 15

    June 6, 2019: If you receive all decisions by May 2, reply by June 6

    June 20, 2019: If you receive all decisions by June 6, reply by June 20

    June 30, 2019: Entry applications received after June 30 are entered into Clearing

    July 4, 2019: Last date to apply in Extra for 2019 entry

    July 5, 2019: 2019 entry Clearing opens

    July 11, 2019: University/college decisions due on applications submitted by June 30

    July 18, 2019: If you receive all decisions by July 11, reply by July 18

    August 15, 2019: A-level results day; Adjustment opens

    August 31, 2019: Remaining offer conditions must be met, and Adjustment ends

    September 20, 2019: Final deadline for 2019 entry applications

    October 22, 2019: Last date to add 2019 entry Clearing choices and for universities/colleges to make decisions

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  • 05/06/2018 0 Comments
    Hall of residence or a house? Choosing your accommodation

    So you’ve chosen your university and course, now the next most important decision is where to live.

    Having somewhere comfortable and safe to call home during your studies will impact on your happiness and enjoyment so it’s crucial to spend time finding the right place.

    From on-campus university halls to private houses, there are plenty of options to consider.

    The cost nearly always comes into it but it is false economy to cut corners when it comes to choosing your first accommodation.

    Leaving home is a big move so you need to find somewhere you know you’re going to be happy.

    While sharing a flat or house with others may be a little scary, all first-year students are in the same boat.

    So you shouldn’t let this put you off, most who leave university do so in those first few months simply because they are lonely and feel isolated.

    Sharing with others is a great way to make new friends and if it’s university owned accommodation then support and guidance, should you need it, is always close to hand.

    The types of accommodation on offer will vary depending on the location of your university but most will provide provide places for first-year students in their own halls of residence.

    These are usually furnished flats that you will share with other students, they might be mixed or single sex.

    You will more than likely have your own bedroom which may be ensuite as well as a shared kitchen and lounge area. 

    Some halls are catered but many are self-catering leaving it up to the studentsto provide their own meals.

    Halls of residence are great places to make friends and be part of the social scene.

    Some towns and cities will also have privately-owned halls which tend to be more more luxurious with ensuite flats and great views.

    They are often located close to all of the town or city amenities and university buildings. 

    Often handy perks such as Wi-Fi can be part of the package.

    A cheaper option can be a renting a room in a private house which also gives you more independence.

    It also enables you to decide exactly where you live and also who you live with. 

    Your university should have an approved list of landlords so ask them for this before you start your search.

    Always take someone with you to view accommodation and do not rush to sign on the dotted line for the first one you see.

    Make sure with any of these options that you know when the rent needs to be paid so you can keep on top of bills.

    If your chosen university is within commuting distance then it might make more sense to stay living at home.

    This can be significantly cheaper but make sure to take into consideration how much travelling to and from university will cost when comparing options.

    One downside to this can be that you’re away from many aspects of student life so it will require more effort to meet people.

    The UCAS website has other tips for choosing the right accommodation for you.

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  • 05/06/2018 0 Comments
    The key to keeping a clear head on your results day

    Results day is an infamously nerve-racking time for all students.

    For many it will be a great experience as they receive confirmation that all of their hard work has been worth it and they’ve secured the grades required for their first choice university.

    But for others it can bring disappointment.

    If you don’t get the results you were expecting it can feel like the end of the world – but don’t panic because whatever your marks there will still be options open to you.

    Although it is easier said than done keeping calm really is key. You need to stay focused with a clear head to be able to consider your next steps properly and you may need to make quick decisions if you are offered alternative university places.

    Remember that you are not alone, thousands of other students up and down the country are likely to be going through the same experience.

    Being prepared can help so when you go to collect your results, make sure you have your paperwork and UCAS reference numbers to hand in case you need to make some calls.

    Firstly, if you’ve just missed getting the grades you need for your first choice of university or college course then it’s definitely worth contacting them directly and asking if they will still accept you.

    Some will make exceptions and will accept students with lower marks. If they can’t give you a place on the course you originally applied for, they may offer you a different one.

    Check the situation with your insurance choice – if you’ve got the grades you needed then you will have a place and if you haven’t then they may still make you an offer. 

    Always keep an eye on Track – the name of UCAS’ online tracking system – where you can see how your application is progressing.

    If you haven’t got a place at your firm or insurance choice and you still want to go to university – you can use Clearing which is available through the UCAS website from results day. 

    This is how universities and colleges fill any places they still have.

    Clearing vacancies are updated regularly by universities and colleges and if you don’t find the course you’re looking for straight away, it’s worth trying again later. 

    It may be that you can find the same course available somewhere else with lower entry grades or you might want to consider a different subject.

    If you are flexible with the location, then that is likely to increase the choices available. 

    You don’t have to stick with your original idea, so speak to an adviser at school about what else you could do or contact the university to find out more about a different course that you may have discounted before.

    Once you’ve found a suitable one, you can then contact the university or college directly to see if they will accept you.

    If you still want to go to university but you can’t find a course or your heart is still set on your first choice, then look into whether you can re-sit your exams and re-apply for next year.

    University is not the only option so think about other paths you may not have considered before.

    Vocational training may be a quicker route to your chosen career and provide valuable on-the-job experience.

    If you are still unsure what to do then consider a gap year to buy yourself some thinking time. 

    You may find your priorities change.

    This can also be a good chance to get some work experience or learn new skills.

    Finally put it all into perspective, you could only do your best and as long as you did that everyone will be proud of you, no matter what happened on results day.

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  • 05/06/2018 0 Comments
    Choosing the best course and University to suit you

    We’re not going to lie, choosing a university isn’t easy.

    But all the time and effort you invest in finding the right place and course for you will be well worth it in the end.

    When starting to look at the different options, it’s better to consider the course you want to study first before looking at where it’s offered.

    There is one thing that you should try to remember when choosing a subject – it should be something you enjoy and that you would be happy to study in-depth for the next few years.

    Consider the subjects you enjoy the most at school and then research similar courses that you can study at university If you really don’t have a clue then start by discounting the subjects you have absolutely no interest in to narrow down the search field.

    You also need to think about whether you want a course offering a clear career path or does your interest lie in one of the more traditional academic subjects?

    It may be that you have a dream job in mind making your choice obvious, for example if you want to be a vet, then a veterinary medicine/science degree course is a must.

    Be aware that the same title of course will not be taught in the same way or cover the same material at every university offering it.

    Make sure you pay attention to the detail because even the way in which courses are assessed can differ.

    Another consideration, if you go for a more vocational course, is whether it is approved by a professional body, because this can give you a head start when you apply for a job in your chosen industry.

    The next step is to think about the location – there are more than 395 providers of undergraduate courses in the UK. Take time to consider carefully whether you want to move away from home or study nearby.
    Do you want a university in the middle of a city or town or a single-site campus?

    Look at the facilities provided by the university and what will be on the doorstep for leisure and nightlife activities. 

    Once you have narrowed your options down then attend an open day as this is one of the best ways to find out if it’s the right fit for you.

    A glossy prospectus can sometimes be deceiving showing only the best bits, and when you get there you could find the reality is rather different.

    Open days are also an opportunity to learn more about your chosen course by talking to staff while some will include sample lectures.

    But remember it’s not the end of the world if, after all of your careful research, you end up beginning your studies and realising you’ve made a mistake.

    Universities have guidance staff on hand to help first-year students who discover their course wasn’t what they were expecting and there will still be plenty of options available to you.

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  • 05/06/2018 0 Comments
    Choosing the right path for your future

    It’s the beginning of a whole new chapter of your life – you’re deciding what to do after you leave school or college.

    It might feel like it’s still a long way off but it will be here before you know it, so it now is the time to give some serious thought.

    You could apply to university, find an apprenticeship, go on a gap year, take on an apprenticeship or start your working career.

    The world really is your oyster.

    For some of you, the decision might be easy because perhaps you’ve always known that you want to be a doctor, plumber or architect.

    For the rest of you it might seem more than a little mind-boggling deciding what it is you want to do with the rest of your lives.

    But there are ways to make it seem less daunting which start with approaching it positively and with an open mind.

    Considering what you are good at and what you are interested in can be a good place to start.

    Always aim to do something you will love because there is no point wasting time and money on something you will not be passionate about.

    Higher education continues to be a popular choice for school-leavers whether it’s university or more vocational courses such as Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).

    If you opt to work towards a degree, you can go down the academic route or pick a course more closely connected to your dream job.

    There is evidence that graduates go on to have higher earning potential and have a greater choice of jobs.

    University also helps you to develop life-long skills.

    For some careers, higher education is a must so don’t discount it without looking into what qualifications are expected for your chosen industry. Vocational courses can give you more hands-on experience and can be a quicker route into work. 

    If you feel ready for the workplace, then an apprenticeship may be the best fit. These are becoming more and more popular with an increasing number of opportunities available every year – so don’t discard these either without giving them serious consideration.

    They give you the chance to be paid while you are trained on the job and are working towards industry-specific qualifications so they might be a more direct route to the career you want.

    Employers are keen to recruit apprentices who they can train to develop the necessary skills for their industry and in certain industries they are in high demand due to ageing workforces.

    Higher and degree apprenticeships are available for more than 100 different job roles across around 75 industries.

    But some of you may not yet feel ready to start higher education or work and may opt to take a break from your studies. 

    You might fancy the chance to take on a different challenge, and if so then a gap year is a worthwhile consideration.

    This can be an opportunity to travel, learn new skills or earn valuable work experience that can really benefit you later in life.

    So, there are many paths to consider when you are deciding what next

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