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Amy Steer

on 26 March 2013

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6. What happens after your
application? 5. Finance 2. Choosing
a Course Picking a course that you
are interested in 3. Choosing your universities
and open days Qualifications that universities
accept 4. Personal Statement Entry requirements Medicine, Dentistry and Oxbridge DEADLINES Use course search on
the UCAS website View university website Visit open days from a selection of universities Order and read prospectuses of possible universities Campus or city Accommodation (types and cost) Study abroad Employment statistics Extra YR 13 Results Day Confirmation to Universities Clearing How to make a good impression How to structure your
personal statement Subject interest Employment and work
experience Loans Student finance Paying back loans Scholarships 6. Alternative options Gap years Deferred entry Work placements
and volunteering Sandwich course Apprenticeships Straight into work Choosing your course is an expensive and life changing decision, you need to get it right first time.

Think about what you enjoy, will you get up early for a lecture you don't really want to do?

Get detailed information of the universities that appeal to you most and check requirements against your predicted grades. The Guardian university guide ranks courses at every institution in the UK and the university profiles give you a good idea of what it is actually like to go there.

Think about career prospects When choosing your course, you should ask yourself the following questions:

What subjects interest me?
What are my talents?
What job would I like after university?
What academic skills would I like to improve? If you are looking to study medicine, dentistry or going to Oxbridge the deadline for your application is 15th October.

Be prepared, you are more likely to have to sit an admissions test before you are offered an interview.

Expect to be interviewed, you are unlikely to get an offer without one of two interviews. Main deadline: 15th JANUARY

Medicine, Dentistry and Oxbridge: 15th OCTOBER A levels or GCE Advanced Level : These are qualifications that are studied over a two year period and the most recognisable way for students to go to university and these qualifications are studied by students in sixth form.

BTEC: These are vocational qualifications that are work-related, suitable for a wide range of learners, built to accommodate employers and allow progression to university. They are more practical, and allow a real-world approach to learning.

Scottish Highers: they are one of the national school-leaving certificate exams and university entrance qualifications of the Scottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC) offered. There are over 50,000 different courses on the UCAS website to choose from.

You either search by course subject or institutions. A website allows you to see the exact course details (modules, coursework and exams).

Lets you see what facilities they have.

It gives you general information on the university location. University open days give you a great opportunity to view the university as if you were there, it gives you an insight to the university

They allow you to see current students and lecturers and talk to them about student life and their course. Prospectuses give you a great breakdown of the course and other similar courses the university offers.

Provides entry requirements for your chosen course.

Gives all kinds of details that is provided on the website but in one precise booklet. City universities tend to be closer to the city center and nightlife, whereas campus universities are often more cut off or on the outskirts.

As a result, city universities tend to feel more integrated with the rest of society, whereas campus universities can leave you feeling like you're in more of a student bubble. The type and cost of accommodation will vary based on location and prestige of university.

Universities may offer different levels and facilities in their accommodation, influencing on the prices.

Universities may offer all first years accommodation but years two and three may be expected to find their own. Some universities offer the opportunity to study abroad, most of these 'partner' universities teach in English.

Travelling to another country can be beneficial to their cultural skills, develop your knowledge and expertise, improve your job prospects and improve your independence. It is useful to research the likelihood of getting a job when out of university.

All universities provide statistics of employment for each course from the previous year.

Students with a degree are more likely to get a higher paid job than those without. Universities have a general entrance requirement, a basic minimum set of qualifications that all students have to have.

The university may include an English Language requirement, criminal record or fitness checks. This depends on the course and institution

Entry requirements can be specific exam grades/ tariff points, or be non-academic for instance, having a health check.

The entry requirements for each course will be different depending on the institution and will be found in the course profile. What does it stand for?

Universities & Colleges Admissions Service UCAS is a service used by people 16 years old and over to apply for university and college.

They manage approximately 2 million applications for under-graduate courses every year. Students that wish to go through UCAS have to pay a small fee of £23 in order to apply for university courses.

This service was formed in the year 1993, via a merge with UCCA (Universities Central Council on Admissions), PCAS (Polytechnics Central Admissions System) and SCUE (Standing Conference on University Entrance) 1. Introduction to
UCAS Register on UCAS website Open days give you the opportunity to visit the facilities and all in all to find out what it would be like to be a student at that specific university.

Open days allow undergraduates to see what a university is like and the variety of things they would experience if they were to go to university. The value of gap year activities is widely accepted, and most universities and colleges will allow you to apply for deferred entry, but make sure you check with them before applying.

When you apply, include details of your proposed gap year in your personal statement to support your application. UCAS receive your exam grades a few days before results day. They then send to your universities or colleges you have accepted offers for.

Then they update Track on results day to show the universities' and colleges' decisions. If no decision is listed, then it may be because the university hasn't had your results yet. This depends on your exam results in august. If you meet all the conditions of your offer, you will be accepted by your chosen university.

Even if you have not quite met the requirements, the university may lower its offer and still accept you. Check Track to see their decisions Research your course and show them your interest and passion for the subject and that you would make a good student.

Be enthusiastic about the course and the subject. You need to explain why you have chosen the course you are applying for, even if it follows directly from one of your A levels you should explain why you want to spend three more years on that subject.

If it's an area you haven't studied before you need to show you know what's involved.

The course profiles will give you an idea of the qualities and skills the admissions tutors are looking for. Paragraph 1: Why you want to study this course

Show that you have a genuine interest for the subject
Is there a specific topic in the specification that interests you?
Show that you have an understanding of the topic, is there any research you have done? Public lectures? Summer school? These all show you are enthusiastic and have a passion for the topic. Paragraph 2: What skills do you have that will enable you to complete the course successfully?

What skills have you gained from your academic studying that will help you at university?
For example, are you a good team worker? Can you meet strict deadlines? Paragraph 3: Work experience and Voluntary work

Include details of any part-time jobs, work experience (paid or un-paid) or volunteer work.
Any skills that you have gained from this and how this will help you at university and studying the course
Voluntary work is a great way of showing your motivation and commitment
If your part time work is not relevant to your course focus on the skills you have gained which can assist you with your degree. Paragraph 4: Other qualifications and extra curricular activities

Qualifications you have done outside of school i.e. First aid certificate/ Duke of Edinburgh awards/ Music exams and Grades etc.
Clubs and societies: are you a team captain at school, committee member?
Hobbies: what do you do in your spare time? Paragraph 5: Conclusion

Tell the university why they should choose you
Future plans: what you hope to achieve by doing this course, how you want to use the skills and knowledge gained, what you hope to achieve after completing your degree.
Finish it on a positive statement, highlight your interest in the course. Remember this is your last chance to impress. If your part-time work is not relevant to your chosen course then try and link any skills you have gained from it to how you can use them in the course and at university in general. Personal Statement Dos: Do create a list of possible ideas before starting to write it
Do produce several drafts before sending it off
Do get feedback from different people
Do look at the universities criteria as they may have certain qualities they are keen on and want their students to demonstrate.
Do check for spellings and use proper English, no slang
Do be enthusiastic, show your interest in the course. Personal Statement Donts: Don't try too hard to impress, it may lose focus from your writing
Don't talk about anything that is not relevant
Don't LIE, if you exaggerate you may get caught out if you have an interview
Don't rely on spellchecker, proof read it several times
Don't leave it to the last minute
Don't write it in front of the TV or whilst using the internet, you will not concentrate properly. The student finance package includes:

Tuition fee loan
Maintenance loan
Maintenance grant Tuition fee loans pay for your course directly to the university.

Maintenance loans and grants help with the living costs.

Loans need to be paid back, grants don't. Your repayments are linked to your income. You only make repayments when you are earning over £21,000 per year. If your income drops below this amount repayments stop.

Part-time students sometimes start repayments while they’re still studying.

Each month you pay back 9% of any income over £21,000. Tuition Fee Loan:

You can apply for a tuition fee loan if you are UK or EU full time or part time student. Full time students get up to £9000 per year

Part time students get up to £6750 per year Maintenance loans for living costs You must be a full-time UK student. Part-time students, EU students and students aged 60 and over can’t apply.

You may have to give details of your household income: Maintenance grants for
living costs You must be a full-time UK student. Part-time and EU students can’t apply.

You have to give details about your household income and your course start date. A scholarship is a grant or payment made to support your education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement. The maintenance grant is paid into your bank account at the start of every term.

You don’t have to pay the grant back, but any grant you get will reduce the Maintenance Loan you can get. If a student decides to take a year out, but wants to secure their place at university first, they can defer their entry into university.

Deferred entry means students apply to university the same as normal, take exams and confirm a place at the institution of their choice - but then instead of starting when their friends do they go the following year. This is really great for students who don't want to worry about what they will be doing or where they will be going after their year out of education.

However, it does mean that students will apply to university not knowing what their A level grades will be. This may mean their choices are limited because they achieve better grades than expected - or they don't get the grades that they hoped for.
Gain valuable experience and confidence.

Time to think about what you really want to achieve.

Learn new languages or developing those you already have.

Saving money if you're working.

Learning more about different cultures.
Employers might think you do not have a clear direction for your career path.

It can be hard to go back to 'normality' once you've had some time out.

Getting the best gap year experience can be very costly!
Work in the UK - often to earn money to fund study at university or travelling.

Work abroad - gives you the experience of being in a foreign country whilst still earning money. Why take a gap year? Disadvantages of a Gap Year Advantages of a Gap Year A sandwich degree is a four-year undergraduate course in which students take part in a placement year or internship in industry, normally after the second year at university. Benefits of a sandwich year Sandwich degrees help students to obtain skills in a professional working environment during their degree, as opposed to after, like most students taking a standard 3 year degree.

Sandwich degrees usually strengthen students skills in business and this therefore makes them more employable. Volunteering can improve your employability ; it can provide you with career experience; can help you learn and develop new skills; and university tutors will look at you life outside of schools and study as well, this helps to show your motivation and dedication.

Work Experience gives you experience in the 'real world' and helps you to establish a possible career path. It will help you gain skills that will help you get into paid work; it also allows you to make contacts for when you finish your degree. If you apply for your 5 places and don't receive any offers you will be able apply through extra for another course before results day.

Extra allows you to apply for any other courses with vacancies. To be eligible for Extra you need to:

Have made 5 offers to universities
Have replies from all your chosen universities
Either, not received any offers or declined all offers. If you are eligible for Extra then a button will appear on your track page which you will use to find courses with vacancies.

If the course has any vacancies there will be an 'X' next to it.

Check to see if there is an Entry Profile for the course as they will tell you what the university looks for in students. They may also have case studies from students that have done the course. How to use extra What Happens after? You can only apply for one course at a time through Extra.

If you apply through Extra and receive an offer, you choose whether you want to accept it or not.

If you accept a course through Extra you cannot apply for any other courses, you are committed to that specific course and university. If you decline your offer or get rejected by the university then the course search button will be reactivated and you can apply for another course.

You can also apply for another extra course after 21 days if your other extra course have not responded. You can use clearing if you:

Have no confirmed any university places.
Have not made the grades required for the conditions of your offer.
Have no offers as they have been declined or unaccepted. Clearing is not just about offering places to students who did not get the points or grades they needed or were expecting, but also allows for alternative options for students who may achieve higher than they were expecting.

Students are allowed to apply through Clearing for Universities that have places available for courses they offer. A University may not completely fill all the places that they have to offer. This may be because of reduced applications or the non-achievement of grades. For this reason Universities make these left over places available through clearing. The clearing process is managed by UCAS, who automatically sends forms to eligible students.

You will receive a Clearing Form from UCAS, complete this form. (you will also receive a booklet of information)

You then find out which institutions have available places. When you apply through Clearing you can change your subject choice.

Then contact your chosen university which has available courses you would consider. The university then may ask you to send them your Clearing form. This generally means that they will make you an offer.

Ensure that if you are offered your first option, then make sure that it is right for you. If you have any questions then contact the university.

Review the course profile like when you were first looking at courses.

Confirm with UCAS your accepted course and they will then confirm this in writing to you. Volunteer - there are lots of schemes in the UK and abroad teaching, working for the environment and in conservation where you can work on a project.

Often food and accommodation is paid for but you don't get paid while you're working.
Study abroad - this can give you valuable language skills Travel - many people just want to see more of the world. You may need to save to do this. It's important to be clear where you want to go and plan every step of your journey. It's vital that you stay safe when you travel. Lots of people go in groups or on organised tours of a country Russell Group "The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector." The Russell Group Universities include:

University of Birmingham
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge
Cardiff University
Durham University
University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter
University of Glasgow
Imperial College London
King's College London
University of Leeds
University of Liverpool
London School of Economics & Political Science
University of Manchester Newcastle University
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen's University Belfast
University of Sheffield
University of Southampton
University College London
University of Warwick
University of York 8. Useful Tips Fill in your application and send it off as soon as possible!

Don't wait around, get it sent as early as possible.

Show your commitment!

If you are committed to your course subject you are more likely to work hard and make a success of the course.

Use your Personal Statement to make your case.

Don't be afraid to ask questions, an informed choice is a better one.

If you have an interview, dress smartly.

Do not turn up in shorts and a top, this will not make a good first impression.

Meet all the deadlines, if you miss the final deadline of 15th January your application will not be submitted! It will save you a lot of money.

However, you will gain 3 or more years of work experience and establish valuable contacts in your chosen industry and preferred area of work.

You may not need a degree for some industries, work experience may be more valuable. University of Florida You will need to confirm whether you want to go to your Firm or Insurance University.

If you accepted an Unconditional offer then that is the only one you can accept. GOOD LUCK! Oxford University An apprenticeship is a real job with training so you can earn while you learn. As well as this, you gain recognised qualifications as you go. If you live in England, are over 16 and not in full time education you can apply.

They take between one and four years to complete and cover 1,400 job roles in a wide range of industries, from things like engineering to financial advice, veterinary nursing to accountancy.

Apprenticeships are available at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher levels. Higher Apprenticeships are designed to meet employers’ needs at level 4 and above.
You can start a Higher Apprenticeship when you have finished your A Levels. A level 4 Apprenticeship is the equivalent of a foundation degree and a level 5 is an undergraduate degree level. University of California 5. Finance You can apply for a tuition fee loan if you are a UK or EU full time or part time student. 7. What happens next? Loughborough University open day Keele University Campus We asked a number of Year 12's what they already knew about UCAS, here is what one of them said. For more information on apprenticeships and to apply visit this website:

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