Why do you want to study?
Some students study for the love of a subject or for a career. Check that your course will meet your needs and that you have checked other routes such as School Leaver Schemes, Gap Years and the wide range of Apprenticeships! (See www.cxk.org/resources)
Do your research and attend Open Days, Events, Exhibitions, Open Public Lectures and Performances throughout Year 12 to research what courses and certain careers are actually like!
Use websites like www.YouTube.com to find “virtual” university tours as well as tasters of lectures! These links will help with your research…
- https://yearoutgroup.org & https://www.seasonworkers.com
TOP TIP! Many courses require work experience as well as grades so, organise this early in the academic year. For many schemes you apply in the October of Year 12 for your July placement!
Step by Step (Analogue Approach)
- Search all of http://search.ucas.com using a variety of keywords.
- Be creative in the word strings. E.g. “Drama” & “Contemporary Performance” will bring different results.
- Print off all your results and use a marker pen to cross off all those you dislike the look of.
Search Engines, Chat Bots and Filtering Tools
Use the search tool(s) of your choice and filter to narrow down the search!
- www.push.co.uk , https://www.theuniguide.co.uk & https://www.theuniguide.co.uk/a-level-explorer
- http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/courses/search , https://www.whatuni.com/degrees/courses
Research your initial courses in more depth. Find out how the courses are taught and how well the courses are rated for things like graduate job prospects, drop-out rate, quality of teaching and support. Various league tables compile this data in different ways so, use more than one!
TOP TIP: It is highly recommended you use lots of different sources of information to find out what courses are like (called triangulation)… talk to teachers, employers, friends & family (online or in person). Look at a wide range of data, attend “virtual” tours and open events. Be mindful of bias from any source!
These links will get you started…
- https://discoveruni.gov.uk & https://discoveruni.gov.uk/about-our-data/#data_sources
- https://universitycompare.com/rankings & https://universitycompare.com/guides/city
Keep an eye on application deadlines and entry criteria carefully (including any entrance tests) as these vary from course to course. Consider applying for a range of courses so, if you don’t quite get the grades you need for your first choice, you have enough for your insurance (second) choice.
Write your personal statement with these top tips: https://www.parentalguidance.org.uk/higher-education/how-to-write-an-effective-ucas-personal-statement
You can now apply for your top five courses (don’t worry if you only have a top three, you can leave a couple of spaces to fill later with late applications if needed).
- For all applications – double check deadlines and details on UCAS!
- Some courses like Law & Medicine have entrance tests that you will need to sit – check when these are and prepare! – https://www.theuniguide.co.uk/advice/ucas-application/which-admissions-tests-do-i-need-to-take
- Check whether work experience, portfolios or auditions are a requirement and ensure you have a plan in place to put these in place.
- Apply for student finance as soon as you can and make sure you understand the myths! http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-loans-tuition-fees-changes