Happy New Year! 2021, maybe a time to finish that UCAS if you haven’t already and hopefully start receiving some offers. If you haven’t received any, don’t worry, there’s some tips for that later on in the blog. I’ll also talk a bit about the very recent situation, which has caused quite a bit of confusion, the cancellation of GCSEs and A-Levels.
The likelihood is that your uni application is done and dusted. In which case… well done! The UCAS process is hard work, let alone doing it during a global pandemic. Put on top of that all the frustrations caused by multiple lockdowns and you’ve definitely got something to be proud of.
I’m sure you get told time and time again, but it has been a mentally and emotionally challenging time so being proud of what you have achieved so far, however small, is the least you can do for yourself. Yes, Shakespeare wrote an entire play during his lockdown in the plague, but, unfortunately, we can’t all be a world famous playwright… so writing a personal statement and sending it off to universities is a perfectly good achievement.
Is it time to start thinking about which university you might want to go to?
Well fear no more!
Over the past few months we’ve had a go at making a handy map for you that outlines as many universities in the UK that we could throw our hat at.
Click here to have a look at the list of universities on offer with links to their location, websites and a little of our honest Push info too.
If you’re part of a university or college that isn’t on the map and would like to be included. Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get it added to the map.
Exams are cancelled because of the global pandemic.
That we know.
So what's happening with your grades? I'm sure you're eager to get a bit more clarity about your future. Well we've started to get some assurances from OFQUAL (Which is the abbreviation for the mouthful that is - Office of Qualifications and Exam Regulations). Their Chief Regulator Sally Collier has now issued a letter outlining how grades will be calculated and reassuring students these will be 'exactly the same as in previous years'.
So this year we've had a shakeup in the way that things are going to happen.
Exams are cancelled, you're getting assigned your grades from your predicted grades (it seems at the minute) and the government and all schools, colleges and universities are working out the best way to do this fairly. It's all a bit up in the air at the minute while the world has gone a bit bonkers.
And what does no exams mean? Well it certainly doesn't mean you have nothing to do right now. School is still in session, so make sure you're keeping on top of the work you do have!
Worried about all the fake news and conflicting information when it comes to Covid-19? (Yes, we always sing it to the tune of Come On Eileen, too.) Us lot at Push are no doctors or virology experts, but we can remind you of a few fundamental things…
Now the boring obligatory bit’s done with, what about the rest? Are school closures likely? What do they mean?
If you’re looking to move out anytime soon, chances are you’re going to be moving in with others. And that can be brilliant. Living with your best mates, having people around to keep you company and help you out, and splitting the bills is always nice.
But what if things go a little awry, and it’s not quite the perfect Friends-esque flatmate dream?
The Guardian have written a great cheat sheet to help you with some of the most common problems that can arise in shared accommodation and how to tackle them. Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest sources of tension when living with other people is…
Problems you might encounter as a tenant in shared accommodation...
If you’ve finished with college and are out navigating the world by yourself for the first time, whether that’s moving away to uni or taking on an apprenticeship scheme or a full-time job, we know that cash flow issues can always be a bit of a downer.
Depending on your circumstances, we’ve got loads of tips on making the most of your cash, and any financial support available to you.
According to erasmusprogramme.com, ‘Erasmus students are those that take advantage of the Erasmus exchange program, a well supported and organised scheme that has been in operation since the late 1980's. It allows students to study at universities in the EU member states for set periods of time.
Erasmus students study a wide variety of subjects but most use the program for advancing their language skills with a view to working in the international sphere.’
Throughout its active years, the Erasmus scheme has supported internationally-minded, travel savvy students on their trans-national studies and lives.
Being a member of the scheme entitles you to Erasmus’ support (both financial and educational) if you’re looking to spend some study time at an institution in neighbouring European countries.
And with over sixteen thousand Brits having taken up the scheme’s offerings in 2017 alone, you’ve no doubt heard weird and wonderful stories of friends and family studying abroad.
Here at Push we’re always banging on about how great part-time work can be. And not just for the extra cash, but that’s a bonus all in itself. Bring on that wonga.
And there’s loads of other benefits, too.
Moving to a new area to study? You’ll meet loads of new people, make some new friends and being around locals is the best place to pick up insider info on all the best shopping and nightlife spots, best restaurants, top rated take aways, places to hit up and places to avoid. Pretty handy.
Spending a semester abroad to study is an incredible opportunity that can change your life. It’s important to be aware of certain mistakes people make so that you can avoid them and make sure that your time abroad is as rewarding and exciting as it can be.
Here at Push, we can’t celebrate our differences enough. It’s what makes us all so interesting, able to see the world in new, abstract ways to solve all sorts of problems, and to come together as strong, diverse teams.
A world full of identical people with identical thoughts is, well, not worth thinking about.
Want us to put our money where our mouth is? Head to our YouTube channel for a quick-fire rundown from Ben, one of our presenters—he talks about making the most of your individuality and quirks, and discusses how he turned his dyslexia into an award-winning strength.
But we get it. Sometimes, the world isn’t always geared up to help and support differences.
So the weather might not still be living up to the full promise of Summer, but the freedom must still be tasting sweet.
We’re not suggesting you bog yourself down worrying about the waning August days and the darkening evenings, but it’s a good idea to start getting serious about what year 13 holds for you.
It might still seem far off, but if you’re planning on going to uni in 2020, things are going to start moving at light speed. We’re talking open days and summer schools, personal statements, UCAS applications, student finance, interviews, offers, accommodation…
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.
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.
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..
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).
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…”
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.
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?
So it seems like everyone and their mums are talking about uni, but what if that’s not for you?
Apprenticeships are a great route for those who prefer a little more flexibility and practical learning, but there are some common myths around them that might be putting people off.
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