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What to think about this month - March 2015

In this month's newsletter we discuss Open days and what students get up to outside the classroom...

It's open day season at unis this month and Push has the skinny on making the most of spending a day on campus. We’re also looking at the extracurricular parts of university and what students really get up to when they're not studying…

If you're in year 12

If you're in year 13

In the news

If you're in Year 12

People sometimes forget that going to uni is about more than just getting a degree. Even if you spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week studying (above average by many standards), then that means you’ll spend more than two thirds of your time at uni not studying. What on earth are you going to do with all that free time? Sure, some of it will be sleeping (a bit), eating (enough) and washing (probably not enough). But there's got to be more to student life than that.
There are three things you can do with your non-studying time:
• Sit in a dark room twiddling your thumbs, only stopping to sleep, eat and wash.
• Do the things you already do.
• Do stuff you haven't done before.
Getting involved with activities and sharing interests means you get to meet new people and has the added bonus of stopping friction burns on your thumbs from too much twiddling. You also get to try new things. If you're doing a degree in maths, for example, but fancy journalism, then a uni with a well-established student newspaper might give you an opportunity to dip your toes in the media pool. 
There’s a list of opportunities as long as Mr Tickle's arm on offer at unis. They range from student politics to forming a band, from gigs to student theatre, from student media to faith groups, from work experience to volunteering, from heavy metal appreciation societies to film watching and film making societies, from sports teams such as football, rugby and curling to extreme ironing… the list is almost endless.
Whatever floats your boat, whatever your fetish is (we don’t want to know), whatever you enjoy doing, there'll be people you can do it with and a uni where you can do it. But you won’t be able to do it at every uni.
It’s important to think about what you want to do and how and whether your uni will help you do it.

If you're in Year 13

By now, you've probably heard from most – if not all – the unis you applied to. If not, don’t worry, they're supposed to let you know by 31 March, but if you just can’t wait until then, it won't hurt to give them a call. It’s not a good idea to make your decisions without having visited your unis first. Maybe you didn’t have time to zip around the country to visit them all before you applied. That’s perfectly understandable. But use now as your chance to see the rest. It's what open days are for.
Even if you've already been, before you spend 3 years there, surely it's worth another look? You get a different perspective on a return visit and it can help cement your choice, especially if you’re juggling offers and trying to decide. 
Unis usually hold several official open days a year, but you don’t have to wait for one to visit – most unis are happy for you to visit at any time of year. Some will ask that you let them know you’re coming and it's only polite. Besides, they may be able to make sure you're getting the most out of your visit and looking at the things that are important to you. 
Open days usually involve a bunch of talks and presentations by lecturers and other staff. And there are campus tours, usually by current students. It's good to get an overview, but, it's also worth breaking away to have a bit of a nose around yourself. Don't just think about what they're most proud to show you. Ask yourself how you'll make use of what's here and what you'll need to make it feel like home.

To make sure you don’t miss a single one, take a look at Push’s list of open days. Updated at the start of each month.

What's New?

Uni not for you? How about employment?

If university isn’t necessarily the route for you, you might be interested in YEUK’s website. YEUK are all about tackling youth unemployment, and they’re pretty good at it. They do it by supporting not only young people searching for jobs, but employers too. That’s their mission. They share employment hints, tips and advice online and use their Youth Ambassador program to give you an opportunity to get involved. Sign up today to be kept up to date with free events online and gain access to YEUK’s Youth Friendly employers. You also will have the chance to get involved with their competitions, surveys and polls. (By the way, they haven't paid us to say any of this. We're happy to recommend them just 'cause they're worth it.).

In the news

U gotta be CASing me??

140,000 UCAS forms were submitted in the final week leading up to January 15th and 15% of those were submitted in the final 48 hours. Since most unis start handing out offers from the moment they get the first application, some of these deadline surfers are letting other people get the places that might have deserved more. “If a competition had a closing date of 15th January, you wouldn't expect any of the winners to be picked beforehand. But that's exactly what happens with university applications,” said a first year student at Liverpool John Moores. And one admissions officer argued that universities wouldn’t be able to deal with all of the applications after the January deadline.

Where-o esta el beach-o

The number of students studying languages at university has hit an all-time low according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The fall in figures is thought to be because now learning a language at GCSE level isn't compulsory. While the figures for language students have fallen, the number of applicants to maths, biology and business studies is on the up. If you've got a fine tongue for languages, it’s not to be sniffed at. Many employers love a cunning linguist and, since they're becoming rarer, you could end up with the last laugh.

My degree lies over the ocean

With courses in Holland, Sweden and other European countries increasingly popular, UK universities are starting to get a bit hot and bothered. And it’s all about to get a bit worse for UK institutions as UCAS have announced they are going to include European universities on their uni list. Why unis outside of the UK, you may ask. With a large number of courses abroad being taught in English these days, fees at a fraction of the cost of UK courses, and better weather almost guaranteed, it’s hard to see the downside. Of course, one of the downsides is the heightened cost and added difficulty of moving all of your clothes and belongings to uni and then back again. More importantly, it's a big life change to study abroad and you need to check foreign qualifications will be worth as much in whatever you want to do. By the way, you can compare unis around the world at U-Multirank (which Push helped create).

Last updated on: 25 March 2015

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