It’s June, which is a horrifying thought – the longest day of the year is less than a week away! But other than existential angst, June also means that Universities are opening for applications. And they want applications. Your application.
There’s over 150 Higher Education Institutes in the UK and they offer around 100,000 courses. The choice is absolutely staggering and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed when choosing a uni.
The resources that exist to help you choose are often just as bad – league tables with dozens of categories; you might in interested in knowing a university’s research quality but what does a research quality of 3.34 mean?
The 18th May is when you’re able to register and start your application to begin your undergraduate degree in 2022 ready to submit it from September 2021.
Now while the actual date you’d be starting seems like a lifetime away - If you could call 16 months a lifetime (and a quick internet search tells me that only some rodents can). It is never too early to start taking a look at two things.
What you want to study and where you want to study it.
The two things are equally as important in your decision-making process so let’s take a look at each and what kind of questions you should be asking yourself as you begin to put together your UCAS application for next year.
University admissions are something that the majority of us would agree should be a straightforward and fair process but it isn’t always clear (and is a topic up for debate) on how fair that process is currently.
What should be considered in a university application? Well the most obvious is the grades of the applicant, a clear indication of academic ability, but is that all admissions should be judged on? After all, everyone has their own barriers to face in life. At Push we love talking about building resilience from your setbacks and using these as a positive element to your self development. The argument is that these barriers are something that should be considered by universities during admissions.
A report by the Nuffield foundation found that, selective universities are increasingly taking into account socioeconomic and educational contexts in which applicants achieved their grades but Vikki Boliver of Durham university argues that universities must be even bolder in their admissions process to ensure that students from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds are able to access higher education.
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.
A recent BBC study found that the least likely group to go to university is currently white males from low-income families. Only 26% of students from low-income backgrounds have gone on to higher education this year, only half of them were white British males.
October 15th is the deadline for applications to Oxford, Cambridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses. This is not a seriously-ill-line or near-death-line, it is a deadline.
If you miss it, you'll have to wait a year to apply again. If you’re thinking about applying to these courses I’m sure you’re already done most of the legwork for your application. If you're not ready yet, then switch off your phone, dust off your laptop and let your mum know she’s on coffee duty for the next 24 hours solid
You'd be forgiven for thinking that with around a year to go until your first application deadline looms, you've got time to perfect your Beyonce dance routine. While this is a perfectly legitimate leisure activity and will look fierce when you whip it out at parties, choosing a uni is much easier if you take the time to do it right
If you’re thinking of going to uni in September 2021 but you haven’t thought about which unis you're going to apply to yet: You’d better level up and get going.
You’ve got until mid-January to complete your application for most courses, but Oxbridge, medicine and veterinary courses have deadlines that are less than a month away (October 15th).
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.
Work experience: cancelled. Taster days: cancelled. University open days, you guessed it... cancelled.
Sinking into the sofa, many have felt like the whole of higher education is getting cancelled. Six months into lockdown, however, you start to realise that the world is actually at the tip of your fingers.
We are the generation of technology. The generation of endless screening. Even though work experience for many is cancelled, when a global pandemic forces us indoors, we’ve never felt more at home.
"The standard of the delivery (online) was excellent...pass on my regards and thanks to @AronTennant @mojtaylor. It was definitely useful and I think it will have hit on a number of different levels from being informative of what opportunities they have around them to a more personal level of who they are and can be. It was a pleasure to be part of." - Mike, Bedlington School
Are you thinking of doing a degree? Well the summer is a great time begin researching courses and universities.
Push has been flexing our broadband muscles (it's either that or real running) with a host of interactive online sessions for students, over summer term - to 1,000s of young people across the UK. If you missed out, then chill (we mean it, it's baking out there). We've selected some of the most interesting (and useful) questions we've been asked by year 11-13s, on applying for a degree...
Finally, it’s time to relax. Have a couple of weeks off from the hard work you’ve been doing this year in unexpected circumstances. You've all done brilliantly everything considered!
But you don’t want to sit and let your summer pass you by without being productive..
So what can you really do now to maximise your summer? Be that if you're thinking about university, an apprenticeship or a job.
If you could sum up the lockdown so far in one word, what would it be? Sleep? Anxiety? Exams?
Furlough? I mean, who honestly knew that word before 21st March 2020? That'll make your Scrabble options a little easier from now on.
For students, schools, unis and employers, we'd choose the word 'adaptation'. We've all had to do it right? Whether it be our revision schedule, our internet data bill (don't even...) or our tears over the lack of Premier League football...there's been a coin flip on what we deem 'normal', and it will be a while before we get things back to what they were pre-lockdown.
The deadlines have passed for your decisions on your university offers so I hope you managed to get your research sorted and were confident and comfortable in your final decision.
Of course, this particular year, the decision was even bigger than usual. The pandemic has meant that we aren’t completely sure what form university will take in September and so it may feel like there’s a bigger risk of committing to an undergraduate degree.
This summer is looking to be quite different to what we’re used to. Some lockdown restrictions are beginning to be lifted as we head back towards a bit of normality but things aren’t, and likely won’t be, the same as they were before.
Nonetheless there’s ways you can be using the summer to improve your skillset.
We know how tempting it might be given the current situation, to accept any unconditional offers you might be receiving from your university choices. The Government did actually put a temporary ban on universities offering unconditional offers (although this has now been lifted) to try and ensure these weren’t getting given out en-mass when exams were cancelled and floods of panicking students would then be accepting choices that may not be right for them.
And at Push that’s our mission. To make sure the decision you’re making is the right one for you. Not anybody else.
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'.
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...
The government is proposing to create an Ofsted-style system that ranks universities on the amount their graduates earn according to the Guardian.
There has been some resistance to this idea from the education industry and rightly so. It creates a number of problems that could cause damage to particular courses (Arts and Humanities especially) that are in areas outside of London.
So what are the issues of this and in fact, would an earnings ranking actually be that helpful for students looking to go to university?
By now, you're probably hearing from most – if not all – of the unis you applied to. If not, don’t worry, they're supposed to let you know by 31st March, but if you if you just can’t wait until then, it won't hurt to give them a call. You have to make sure you've responded by the 5th May if you have heard back from them all by the end of March so keep that in mind.
Now while we’re sure that you made an effort to go and see all 5 of your choices before applying, we also understand that sometimes life and viruses can get in the way and you might not have had time to go and see them all (err... or any of them).
We understand, these things happen.
Location, location, location
Now is as good a time as any to start contemplating the path you are going to take come September 2020. Assuming you have already taken some time to weigh up your options and decided on uni, we hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s the easy bit over. If you, like many others, are considering university it can be a pretty daunting task figuring out which uni to go to.
A good way to start is figuring out your preferred location and what better time to start doing so if we're all self isolating. Although probably hold off on going to see the place for a few weeks...
The ball is finally in your court
This month you’ll probably be getting some offers from universities. You may have some already. It can be exciting — like getting several Valentine cards all at once. It can also be unnerving: frantically hitting refresh on the UCAS website for hours on end and feeling like the only Valentine you’ll get might be from your mum. It doesn’t have to be stressful.
If you haven’t heard back yet, from your uni OR your valentine then calm down. Unis are supposed to let you know by March 31st, though they may take a little bit longer in some cases. Delay is not necessarily a bad sign. Especially with the response to your valentine message you sent on Friday.
You don’t have to tell UCAS what you want to do until May 5th, so if you've got offers, don’t rush.
What course is the course for you?
You go to uni to do a degree. But which one? There’s over 17,000 different subjects you can study and more than 70,000 individual courses.
You can start with what you want to do as a career. To be a doctor, you have to study medicine, for instance — which most people would agree is better than having people doing surgery just because they studied needlework.
Wherever you are on your journey, whether you’re in Year 11 and starting to think about what lies ahead or in Year 13 with big decisions knocking at your door, it can be difficult to know what’s the right path for you.
Especially when there are so many options. We’re talking work, apprenticeships, uni, degree apprenticeships, diplomas, gap year and travel, volunteering, internships…
The list seems pretty endless, but that shouldn’t be a bad thing. There are so many different pathways out there that it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll find something perfect for you.
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.
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