What should I be doing this month?
What to think about this month - May 2015
In this month's newsletter: revision, exams and moola...
We hope you're not too stressed out with the sudden onslaught of
exams. They'll be over before you know it, if it weren't for them, your
dream university will stay just that – a dream.
But don't completely forget about the next steps. If you're in
Year 13, the deadline for Student Finance applications is fast
And if you're in Year 12, it's
worth researching universities and courses long before you start the
UCAS process next academic year. Time spent planning will mean a better
choice and no panic in a few months’ time. It can be like window
shopping: all fantasy and no decisions necessary yet.
If you're in year 12
If you're in year 13
In the news
If you're in Year 12
Exam season is here, not that we need to tell you. If you missed any of our revision tips in last month’s newsletter, catch up here.
In between revising and crying, it’s worth thinking about what
you're going to do during that time after you’ve finished your exams but
before the start of the summer break.
Many schools and colleges pack out a programme of activities for
their students, or maybe you’re planning a little well-earned chill
time. Either way, it’s a good idea to schedule some uni visits among
your post-exam recovery to check out what they’re really like, beyond
the photoshopped blue skies in their prospectus or what your brother’s
Unis usually hold several official open days a year, but you don’t have to wait —
most are happy for you to come any time. If you let them know you’re
coming, they may be able to help you make the most of your trip.
Besides, it's only polite. You'll definitely need to book appointments
if you want to chat to any of your potential lecturers – something that
would be well worth doing if you can. A great way of finding out about the course and you'll mark yourself down as a serious candidate.
But don't let them only show you what they're most proud of. What
will be important to you? How does what's on offer suit you? Could it be
a place you'd call home? You're going to be spending three or more
years of your life in this place, and you're going to be paying quite a
bit of money to do so. If you're not happy with it after an hour,
imagine how you'll feel after a year. You can use your visit to answer
some of the other questions about university life — you'll find some here.
Of course, you can’t visit all 140-odd universities during this
time. In fact, getting to even 4 or 5 will be a pinch. How do you decide
which ones are worth the train fare? Luckily, our Uni Chooser can help you narrow down your choices and help you produce a shortlist of unis that will be worth the shoe leather.
If you're in Year 13
The deadline for students in England to apply for student finance is 31st May.
So if you haven’t completed your application, do it very soon.
You can still apply after this deadline, but there’s a chance that
you'll get to uni before the money does. You might find yourself
starting uni with only a jar full of pennies and Euro cents left over
from your holidays.
There are two flavours of loan
you can apply for:
This covers the cost of the course
itself. It goes straight from the Student Loans Company to your
university, so there's no temptation to squander it on a jet ski on
This goes towards everything
you need to live, such as rent, bills, food, travel, textbooks, nights
out, ice creams on a sunny day, that top you just love etc, etc. How
much you get will depend on what money you or your family earns
and where you're studying. If it's not enough, you or your parents are
expected to make up the rest.
The maintenance loan will be split into three chunks, and given to
you over the course of each year. Each chunk can look like a lot of
money to get all at once, but it disappears faster than curry at a stag
night. That's why it's important to put together a budget. You can find
more help on the financial side of university, here
If you need an extra bit of help, you should also now be applying for grants
. Grants are Government cash that help you out on top of your maintenance loan but
don't have to pay any of the money back! Sound too good to be true?
Well it just might be... not everyone will qualify for a grant.
While you’re thinking about how much uni might cost, it’s also
worth considering how much you might earn after you’ve got a degree. You
can do that by taking a look at BestCourse4Me
There are often loads of other bits of
funding (such as scholarships or bursaries) that you can apply for from
your uni. They'll all have different criteria and deadlines, but check
with your chosen unis what they've got and what you need to do to get
it. A good place to start looking is The Scholarship Hub, which allows
you to search unis for details or scholarships and bursaries. You can
find more about them, here
UCAS to the rescue?
Perhaps all this talk of revision and exams and
results and blah… blah… bleugh got you just a tad stressed? Maybe
you’re starting to weigh up your options should Plan A not, erm, go to
plan. Good idea. If things don't quite work out, knowing the steps to
take will get you ahead.
This year UCAS is relaunching its clearing service with
a new feature. In the past, if you didn't get a place you wanted, it
was all up to you to look for unis with spaces and see if they'd offer
you a place through clearing. Now, if you sign up to clearing,
the unis can chase you as well and send you messages about vacancies
you might want to consider. It might take the hassle out of the process
or it may end up as a spammers' charter. In any case, don’t let the
flattery convince you to say yes to a uni that isn’t the right choice
Revise your revision technique
We’re sure that, at this stage, you will be up to your eyeballs with revision… To avoid it all getting too much to cope with, schedule some well-earned down time.
That's according to none other than the Association of School and
College Leaders (headteachers. in other words). The deputy general
secretary of ASCL said “It’s very difficult for young people to keep
going during the exam period. It’s like running a race: you have to pace
yourself so that you don’t run out of steam when it comes to
examination time.” Sound advice.
Secure your place at uni
Our sincerest apologies for the punning headline. A recent study has revealed the safest places to study.
Worth a look, possibly for your parents too, especially if you’re the
first of your brothers and sisters to fly the nest. Safe unis are dotted
all around the country, claims the report, but the safest of all is
Royal Holloway in Egham. With 57 crimes per 1,000 residents, Egham pales
in comparison to the average of 99 crimes per 1,000. Who knows, Royal Holloway might even be a perfect fit for you.
Spot the misteak
A recent survey carried out amongst business leaders has revealed the four things employers find most annoying when reading your CV.
Any guesses for what came top with 87% of those asked saying they found
it a real no-no? You got it, spelling and grammar mistakes. So ask a
friend, teacher or parent to read your CV or UCAS statement to make sure
you haven’t missed anything. It’s bound to happen. The three other most
annoying CV-no-nos were incorrect information, missing contact details
(eh, how are they meant to get in touch?) and it all being too long.
You've been warned.
Last updated on: 18 May 2015