Wednesday, 3 April 2013

First Step - Key Decisions

So, being a third year student and coming to the end of my studies I have come to realise that despite resources of information available- pamphlets websites etc... I was still hugely unprepared for university life. It was a completely and utterly new experience; moving from a small town I have known all my life to a vast one where I had no inclination as to anything, its history, culture, the high street ... nothing, and once my parents had settled me in were off journeying back to the comforts of home leaving me behind. Though nerve wracking and exciting at the same time, it has developed into one of the greatest decisions that will never be forgotten. 

Decisions, Decisions

The first step is to decide if university is the right decision for YOU! No pushy parents, grandparents, friends or partners can decide for you. It is YOUR choice to make and one that must be considered in depth. If you already have aspirations discover what qualifications you need for that position before applying, and if you can only obtain this through attending university discover what universities offer courses relevant to that degree you wish to obtain. 
When I applied I had no inclination as to what I wanted to achieve and in what subject so, instead of focusing on what I failed to enjoy (subject wise in secondary school) I narrowed the options down by eliminating the subjects i disliked, leaving me with one or two subjects (if you are daring and prepared for the combination of two subjects.) - Another consideration, are you more inclined to a single or joint degree? Deciding which course - or if university - is right for you is tricky, but what if you get there and after a few weeks of living at uni/home (See: Home or Away) you discover the course is unsatisfying? Well, most universities allow students to relinquish their studies altogether if unsatisfied and they have the option of changing courses if desired. Just remember to check with the Students Information team on how to go about this properly. (Just remember to update Student finance!!)

Decision Made ... What Next?

Most schools ensure students sign onto UCAS regardless of their intention of furthering their studies.  Do not feel pressured by this, many sixth former's in my year signed onto UCAS without any intention of studying, it is a precautionary method as some may change their decision. UCAS ensures students have the information needed to choose the correct university and course and providing information as to what each university expects from their candidate. It is a successful method in order to contact the universities and to give students an idea of expected grades.  

If for any reason you are left without a university (try to pick at least 4 -5) apply for clearing, it will provide you with universities that have spare places to offer candidates, and will give you a second chance at gaining a place in university, the only down side is that the choice of university is out of your hands; what is available is what you get.

Once decided on - and accepted into - a university, take time to venture there and explore the campus, find out where the library is, which building your lectures will take place, see if you can arrange to meet with your potential lecturers to discus the topics studied; giving you the potential to read ahead so you actually know what to expect in lectures.