Does the number of people going to uni these days devalue having a degree?

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What to think about this month - January 2016

In this month's newsletter: Back with a bang...

Ah, how the holidays fly by and reality bites again! But even as the New Year’s resolutions fade into the chocolate stash of desire, Push is here to make everything better again by giving you some things you can do right now to shape your future for the better. Without getting too sweaty, bored or hungry— and they won’t cost you a penny.

If you're in Year 12

UCAS already?

You may have nearly a year until your uni application deadline for 2017, but if you're clever (and we’re sure you are), you'll want to be as on-the-ball as Cinderella’s godmother and get your application right at the front of the queue. That means getting it submitted by around half term in the Autumn. 
Still think you've got ages? Just think about all the lessons, summer exams, Saturday jobs, parties, holidays and procrastination that you've got to fit in. Blink and the year will be gone. In all seriousness, my next academic year, you’ll want to know what and where you want to study, so you can focus on getting what you want. The Summer is a bad time for deciding anything what with exams and everyone going away. So between now and April, you’ve got time to work out what you want – that’ll involve visiting some unis maybe and exploring which offers what.  
Researching all these uni options can be confusing, but the Push Uni Chooser is here to clear the clouds. Just enter the subjects you might like to study, then follow the step-by-step process to find out which unis might be best for you. Whether you're making a serious short-list or just playing around, it’s time well spent. It’s designed to help you focus your mind as much as tell you where right for you.
If you're still mulling over whether to study Polish, French or French Polishing, then take a look at bestCourse4me. It'll tell you what courses are needed for what careers. Or you could do it in reverse and see where your favourite subjects could lead you career-wise. The earlier you do your research, the easier it'll be when it comes to crunch time.

If you're in Year 13


The UCAS deadline has now passed. Hopefully you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing yours was submitted ages ago. If that's the case, here are the four possible responses you could be receiving in the next few months:
Unconditional: This means they'll take you no matter what. You can do no wrong. Being realistic - with the exception of a few unis - this is pretty unlikely, unless you've already got your grades, although some unis use unconditional offers as a tactic to encourage you to make them your first choice. If it’s the uni you want, then fair enough. 
Conditional: This means they'll take you if you meet their 'conditions'. Which usually means getting certain grades in your A Levels/Highers or IB. They might say what grade you need in what subject and there might be other conditions such as language tests.
Unsuccessful: They don’t want you. Don’t take it personally – we think you’re great.
Maybe, but first... They might want to invite you for an interview or some kind of assessment. This isn't that common and it tends to be only the more traditional universities or certain courses where they have auditions or really need to see the cut of your jib (assuming anyone actually knows what a 'jib’ is and how they should be cut).
For more information on everything offers-related, take a look at our guide, here.
If you missed the deadline for any reason and still want to apply, you can. However, it means your application will be marked as late, so universities don't have to look at it if they don’t want to or need to. It's worth letting them know why it’s late in your personal statement if you have a valid reason. Or, you could just wait till next year and get your application in early then.

What's New?

Get UCAS news quicker and easier

Getting all UCAS and education-related news just got easier. The new app called UCAS News which is available for free on all iPhone and Android devices. It allows you to keep on top of application news as it breaks. Imagine that, between the app and our newsletter, you'll be more up-to-date that next week’s lottery numbers.

In the news

Moans and groans over grants and loans

In a move that’s proved unpopular with students and opposition politicians, the Conservative Government last week axed 'maintenance grants’, the money that poorer students would receive to help them meet living costs while studying. The grants were already generally considered not to be enough to get by on by themselves and the students are also entitled to Government-backed loans to top up the grants and pay their fees. 
From next academic year, instead of being granted the money (ie. given it), the students will be entitled to borrow more as a student loan and pay it back once they’ve left uni and got a job paying £21,000 or more. Student representatives and Labour MPs were particularly angry because the Government made this change without allowing a vote on it in the House of Commons. These rules only apply to students from England: in the other parts of the UK, there are different funding systems in place for students.

Overseas the key to uni on the cheap?

Norway, Russia and Luxembourg have been named as the three cheapest places in the world to study according to travel money company Farifx. The company recently carried out a study into the cheapest places to study encompassing both tuition fees and living costs amongst all universities ranked in the Times Higher Education league table. 
Norway turned out cheapest, costing just £2,188 per year to live and study, with Russia costing students £4,450 and Luxembourg £4,739 per year to get by. The study noted that options further afield might be attractive to students from England who face tuition fees alone of up to £9,000. Counting living costs as well, that amounts to an average yearly cost of a whopping £21,000 (although you should remember that most students get a loan for most of these costs. You might not get the same deal choosing to study elsewhere).
But before you start booking your flights, make sure you’re up to speed on overseas curriculums and general teaching practice. In South Africa, for example, which placed fifth on the table, students are expected to ‘earn’ their place at university having to pass a heavily attended foundation year to gain entry on to the course.

"My students have paid £9,000 and now they think they own me"

An anonymous university teacher has given a pretty scathing yet revealing insight into the mindset of students disgruntled over the fact they now have to pay £9,000 a year tuition fees. The article, titled “My students have paid £9,000 and now think they own me” tells the story of an academic who is fed up with students’ attitudes that have shifted learning "from an achievement to a commodity”. The lecturer is not the first to complain that raising the fees has raised how demanding students are without necessarily raising their own expectations of what they also need to put in to their education for themselves. Push itself has said in the past that "a degree is not something you get, but something you do”. 

Is my lecturer calling me ugly!?

A recent study carried out by the Metropolitan State University of Denver has suggested that the more attractive a female student is, the better grades they receive.
The study divided student ID photos into groups of less attractive, average and more attractive (charming) and compared student attractiveness to grades achieved. The study found that those in the 'less attractive' group scored, on average, 0.067 points below those in the ‘average' category, whilst females in the “more attractive” group scored 0.024 points higher than the ‘average'. 
The study suggested the reason behind these better scores was a combination of lecturers paying more attention to ‘attractive’ students and rewarding appearance with higher grades regardless of the gender of the lecturer. Males showed no difference across those who were considered more attractive — lucky for some.

Last updated on: 25 January 2016

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