This third and final part starts with the end: my concluding message to young people: listen to others openly and impartially about their varying experiences after school - of higher education routes and non-higher education routes. Understand you have a choice, more than you realise, and that all anyone else can do is offer you advice and never tell you which choice is 'best', because best is something only you can decide...because no one is inside your own head and feels the way you feel when placed in different environments with different people doing different activities (place and people will affect your choices more than you know).
So, you want to go to uni next year? Great, exams are out of the way and there’s nothing more you can do on that front.
And sure, you should be out enjoying your last summer of pure, unadulterated freedom. But now you’ve got a prime opportunity to give yourself a head-start by prepping for the year ahead.
Maybe think about thinking about creating a budget. It doesn’t matter if you have no idea what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter if you’d rather have your teeth pulled than check your bank statement. The important thing is to know where you stand so that you can plan ahead.
And that means no nasty surprises, you savvy, forward-thinker, you.
Wherever you are, school’s pretty much out for Summer now. You might have another week or so, but no one really does anything with that time anyway. You’re on the home stretch.
So, how are you going to max out your time off?
First thing’s first: relax. Yeah, you heard us. You won’t get many more opportunities in life to bliss out quite like this. Sure, there are some big decisions looming, and maybe some important exams in the not so distant future, but that’s tomorrow’s problem. Today’s for chilling.
Tomorrow though… it might be a good time to start looking for some part-time work to keep yourself busy.
You’ve got the next six weeks of freedom ahead of you – use it wisely! Whether you’re thinking of going away to uni, taking an apprenticeship or just getting your own place sometime soon, learning to cook is an incredible life skill.
Trust us, the instant noodles get old real quick. (And we’re not talking expiry dates. Monosodium Glutamate will outlast us all.)
So now that you’ve got the time, why not learn something new? This summer is a great opportunity to help out in the kitchen, learn some recipes and techniques, and test drive a few dishes.
Nothing is safe in the digital age, and recruitment is no exception. Gone are the days where employers rely solely on face-to-face traditional interviews.
Now you’ve got phone interviews, conference calls, Skype interviews, online or virtual aptitude tests and cognitive tasks.
So, how do you prepare?
Getting a job, apprenticeship or a place at your dream uni might seem like pretty terrifying concepts right now, but they don’t have to be.
You might think you have no skills and a dire CV or personal statement, but you’re completely wrong.
Everyone’s got something that will wow employers and admissions tutors, whether it’s dedication, time management and people skills earned from a weekend shop job or paper round, or sacrifice, compassion and maturity from being a carer to younger siblings or family members.
The sun’s (sort of) shining, but September is going to roll around quicker than you think. So if you’re moving away from home, start to consider who you might want to live with in the next academic year.
Going to uni for the first time?
If you’re moving into halls as a fresher, no need to worry about picking a roommate. That’s all done for you.
Granted, they may not be your dream roomie – most unis try to at least do some sort of compatibility matching when they lump people in together, but it’s rudimentary at best and no one expects everyone in a flat or hall to be besties.
Here at Push, we’re real advocates for mental health awareness and support. Just check out our website for bundles of content on everything from looking after yourself at uni to understanding the science behind mental wellness, and the benefits of taking the reins and knowing what you want from life.
We’re even here to help when it comes to what you should look for at uni, college, or work in terms of inclusive environments and mental health support.
Might sound like we’re banging on a bit, but this stuff really does matter.
I was always passionate about scuba diving and even considered joining the Royal Navy (my dad and granddad used to do a lot of UK scallop diving in Dorset), but this idea was talked down quickly in my school not by words, but through a lack of them: if I mentioned them, no one really knew how to respond to it so just politely smiled and nodded. It was the same when I had the idea of applying to drama school. I ended up choosing from a choice that wasn't mine: filling out my UCAS form and narrowing the choices down to Nottingham University and Queen Mary University of London. I at least chose London because of the wider pull of the city.
More on that in part 3. Coming up next month..
So exams are pretty much done and dusted if you’re in Year 13. Good job, pats on the back all round. If uni’s not immediately (or ever) on the cards for you, then now’s a great time to think about how to invest in yourself over the next year of sweet, sweet freedom.
The idea of a gap year might have been bounced around, but what is it really like? Who can do it? Is it a good idea? Thankfully, Push is here to help with a few good old FAQs.
90% of apprentices in England stayed on in employment after completing their qualification; 71% with the same employer (so says the Government). That's great news, but if you're considering degree-level apprenticeships at a college or a university (yes really), you'll need to know the realities of them. In short, they are just like level 3 (advanced) apprenticeships: quality of skills on offer, healthy balance between course/work, wage paid and no guarantee of a full-time job at the end of the course.
There's 3 other factors that are huge, which the company funding the apprenticeship will rarely mention, particularly for apprenticeships at degree level: the brutal level of competition, the ease of access from you geographically, and most importantly of all: your genuine level of passion for what they offer (a mix of your curiosity, attitude, what you want from life, and your motivation).
It’s come out from an OECD report into cyber related bullying that out of all the highly developed countries investigated, England has the highest rate of cyber bullying and social media misuse in its schools. Which is a pretty nasty stat.
The study looked at ‘the experiences of more than 250,000 teachers in 48 industrialised countries and regions’ and found a serious problem with the UK.
Uni, uni, uni. Might seem like that’s all we (or anyone around you for that matter) are talking about right now is going to uni. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right answer.
There’s no one post-18 path to rule them all. Think apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships, work and jetsetting, for starters.
We’re not saying you can blow the next three months on Netflix binges and house parties though. Put your hands in the air and step away from the aux.
If you're heading to uni, in just about three months’ time you'll be packing up your life to continue it somewhere else for the next three plus years. The weeks between getting your results and starting term scoot by and unis start allocating their housing the moment the grades are out.
There are four basic housing choices for students – living at home, living in, living out or private halls.
With this year's coursework and exams pretty much behind you, you'll be pleased to know that uni isn't all about books, lectures and exams.
We all know students get up to other stuff, right? And this other stuff is important when it comes to getting the most out of the whole university experience.
Different people have different ideas of fun, though - so when you're picking a uni take a look at what the local area offers.
The first thing I was told in my sixth form wasn't "do you want to go to university?" it was "ok everyone, here's the date when we'll be prepping your UCAS forms." At the time, this all felt completely normal, because you don't question what you don't know. And for most of the less-brave of us, from figures of authority. No one on the Taylor side of my family had ever undertaken an education course past the age of 18, which didn't help when being told "here's the university application form. Let's fill it out".
Sometimes it might feel (rightly so, often) that our favourite tech is holding us back when it comes to coursework productivity or exam periods.
Go on, try to tell us you’ve never thought “I could work on Algebra, or I could check Insta stories…” or “I should really do this Physics past paper as exam prep, but after just one more episode of Game of Thrones…”
Chances are, at some point, you’re going to have to head out into the wonderful world of work. Cash in your pocket, and a rewarding career you enjoy. Win-win. But you have to earn that dream job, and the biggest hurdle is the interview.
The “I” word is enough to fill anyone with dread, but don’t panic. To start, try to forget everything you think you know about interviews, and instead flip it on it’s head – sure, you want to impress, but you’re interviewing them to make sure the job is perfect for you.
Never heard of the Access to HE Diploma? It’s a Level 4 HND qualification specifically designed to help students who don’t have traditional qualifications like A Levels or Scottish Highers to get into university or other higher education.
Easter’s way behind us, which means only one thing – Summer’s on the horizon. The pressure’s not off yet, but end of exams, coursework, revision, studying is nigh.
If you fancy a break from all the work, work, work, have a think about what you’re going to do with all that sweet free time once you’re finished. Whether you’re planning on taking a year out or just having one hell of a Summer, travelling on a budget is high up the student priority list.
But it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, trust us. Making a few hundred quid stretch you for three months in the Bahama’s is easier said than done. But not impossible, with a bit of planning.
Yep, another one. We know, it’s rubbish, but…
Deadline alert. If you’re planning to go to uni this Autumn, aren’t a secret millionaire, and you want to be able to pay your fee/have money to live on:
Remember to apply for your student loan by the end of May. This is the cut off for guaranteed loans by the time your course starts in the Autumn, so jump on it.
You don’t need a confirmed place at university or college to apply, just use your preferred choice and update it online if it changes.
If you miss the deadline you might find yourself starting uni with only the change from down the back of the sofa so here's your reminder now.
Are you heading down the uni highway?
This month you can officially start applying to uni for 2020 entry. UCAS opens its website for people to register on 21st May.
Don’t worry, the deadline is still a while away, but the dogs are now off the leash.
Hopefully, if uni’s for you, then your ideas on what you might want to study have been gradually solidifying. If you’re not quite there yet, have a look at our Which Course? section for some help on working out what’s right for you.
If you’ve heard from all your unis, have made your decision and told them about it, then you’re done with application process for now.
Congrats. Breathe a tiny sigh of relief.
But don't take your foot off the pedal just yet. Now you need to get your grades or meet any other ‘ifs’ and ‘buts' your chosen unis may have asked for. You may not be in Year 12, but take a look at the revision tips above.
Choosing your uni is one thing, but getting in is a whole other ballgame. And until universities develop a Harry-Potter-style Sorting Hat, they’re stuck with a combo of personal statements and grades to tell them who deserves a place at the Gryffindor table.
So this summer, whether it’s A Levels, Highers or mocks, you’re likely to have exams. And what do exams mean? Sigh. Revision.
This year though, don’t just work hard — work smart. Figure out what’s best for you personally: that depends on what style of learner you are. Are you a seer, a hearer or a doer?
A paid contribution by our friends over at Stitch the creative clothing company offering innovative clothing for the made-to-order, retail and b2b markets. We think this is a useful and interesting article for all our readers and are happy to publish.
After completing my studies at university this year, I sat down to tackle what every new graduate dreads - applying for my first ‘real’ job and dusting off my CV.
I began with the qualifications and previous work experience which I thought was the most relevant, and then moved onto extracurricular activities that demonstrated organisation and initiative - something all companies look for in an employee. This proved to be initially daunting, as the job in mind was for an account manager role at Stitch, a company that creates custom clothing. This role was new territory for me as my past work experience was predominantly practical creative work, and I feared I lacked too much in office practise to successfully apply for an administrative position.
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