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.
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.
As we barrel towards the end of the year, you might start hearing the ‘I’ word thrown around quite a bit. If you’ve applied for uni and your top choices are interested in taking your application further, you’ll probably have admissions interviews coming up sooner than you’d like.
Or maybe you’ve been applying for apprenticeship schemes or are starting to think about full time work. In which case interviews are pretty much a given.
But that’s okay. We know, not many of us can hand-on-heart say we enjoy being interviewed. Lots of people might go as far as to say they dread them. But with some solid prep work up your sleeve and the knowledge that interviews are a two-way street, you’ll quickly realise that they’re nowhere near as bad as the reputation they’ve gained.
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.
You might have heard over the last month the stat that more than 50% of all young people are now heading off to uni, proving it’s as popular a future pathway choice as ever. No real surprise there.
And in lots of ways, that’s a great thing. It finally meets the government target set nearly 20 years ago. More young people are coming out of education with higher level qualifications like HNC/Ds and foundation, undergrad and postgrad degrees.
And like we’ve said before, stats show that graduates earn on average £10k a year more than their non-graduate counterparts. Also they’re less likely to face unemployment, too. So it’s looking pretty good. But it doesn’t mean there’s no downside to this steady increase in HE sign ups.
Most people have some assumptions when it comes to uni, whether they have friends or family who have been before or not. And a lot of those will inevitably revolve around drinking.
Bargain basement uni bars, student clubbing nights with shots for £1, boozy society initiations, house/halls parties galore. It might seem like that’s all there is to the whole degree-earning business.
Turns out, a whopping 79% of students are under the impression that ‘getting drunk is part of university culture’. Seems pretty inescapable.
And although that’s not really true, and it’s perfectly doable to get through your uni years teetotal if that’s what floats your boat, the tide really does seem to be changing on the booze culture.
If you’re thinking of going to uni in September 2020 and you haven’t thought about which unis you're going to apply to yet, you’d better level up and get a move on.
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).
Even if you’re not planning on applying for those courses, all unis have already started accepting applications. Leaving it until the January deadline is like joining a long queue for a small cake.
We know that making real-life decisions and the whole UCAS commotion is basically a year away, but before you know it these choices will be getting all up in your face and demanding attention.
Then there's all the exams, revision, coursework, birthdays/bar mitzvahs/weddings and the highly repostable memes... so it's never too soon to get focused.
Besides, what's sixth form all about anyway? If you can work out where it's heading, it gives the next two years more purpose, more focus — maybe even more fun and success.
What we're saying is that, however early it seems, now's a great time to be thinking about two of the big questions; what do you want to do and where do you want to do it?
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.
You’ve done it. You made it through two years of intensive studies, coursework, endless revision, and one hell of an exam period. Go you!
This week, it’s finally time to reap the rewards.
If everything goes to plan, you’ll wind up with the grades you were hoping for and everything will be hunky dory. Party time. On with the plan, whether that be heading to uni, taking an apprenticeship, heading out on a gap year or going into work.
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…
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.
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