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?
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
Whether you’re writing your very first CV and cover letter, or working from an old one that’s full of ‘hobbies’ you’ve only ever done once, or questionable ‘work experience’, you’re now at an age where having a strong CV and cover letter is extremely important.
After all, who doesn’t want to earn some extra cash or, most importantly, get experience that’s going to impress companies when you leave school or graduate.
Nearly all employers require a CV and cover letter as part of the application process. So, it’s important that you understand the basics of drafting them. To help you out, we’ve pulled together our advice on how to write a CV and cover letter.
So, you're settled into the swing of sixth form. In the future is Christmas and your next proper break. Sadly, that’s not all it holds: the future’s creeping up on you like a scary clown. The difference is your future's not a goofy fourteen-year-old in a mask.
Good student finance is difficult. It’s not like riding a bike. And if it was it would be the worst bike in the world, with pins sticking out of the seat and no pedals.
A typical student will be living away from home for the first time. There’ll probably be no financial safety net as you booze your way around town racking up debt.
There’s a simple answer to this problem - start as you mean to go on. Embrace student life, but make sure your head is screwed on before you take the plunge.
Our guide teaches you 5 habit-forming tips that will work wonders for your meagre budget, freeing you up to focus on study, and of course having fun…
It might be shocking to know, but 4 out of 5 people between the ages of 18 and 21 know someone who has experienced a mental health problem. A quarter of all people in the same age group are worried about the mental health of someone their age.
And, according to the NUS, among students, it’s an even more critical issue. 63% of university counselling services have reported an increase in psychological distress among students.
If you’ve just started uni, chances are the fresher events are still coming at you thick and fast. Your student union will make sure that the fun events keep coming throughout the year, but make the most of this exciting time, when your studies aren’t proving too stressful and there’s lots to do.
With over a year to go before you apply, the whole uni decision may seem to be approaching more slowly than a slug on a Sunday. But before you know it, that gross silver slug slime could be all over you. What with all the coursework, revisions, exams, holidays, birthdays/bar mitzvahs/weddings, nights out, time spent on social media and so on, it's never too soon to get focused.
Now is a great time to be thinking about two of the big questions: what do you want to study and where do you want to study it?
Wherever you are, whether that’s applying for post-18 options or just starting to think about them, we want you to remember that it’s all about what’s right for you.
Maybe you like the idea of getting in some more learning on a subject area that interests you, but the academic life really just doesn’t float your boat. No problem, after all, everyone learns in different ways.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your future. That may seem like a scary idea, but think of it in baby steps.
Summer is well underway – we’ve broken into August now. You’ve had a heatwave (or six), you’ve had a long time to relax with the long academic year behind you now. Now’s the time to wipe the Mr. Whippy from your mouth and get yourself back into gear.
With not much more than a month left before schools and colleges start up again, you’re running out of time to make the most of your remaining freedom.
Take it from us: if you’re thinking of heading to uni, the best investment of your time is to visit as many as you can in the upcoming weeks. These can be local unis if that’s the area you want to stay in, or they can be further afield.
Once results are in on Thursday, you have four options — two if you got the grades you wanted, and two if you didn't:
If you got the grades you wanted:
Thumbs up, round of applause, pat on the back, etc. Your two options are:
We speak to hundreds, if not thousands of young people every year who start off thinking they have nothing exciting to write about themselves. No excitement factor that might make them stand out from the crowd in a CV for a job, or a uni personal statement.
How wrong they are.
Even if you’re not an Olympic medallist, a young Einstein, or the world-record holder for number of bubbles blown with a tarantula in your mouth, you can paint your years of experience in a way to make sure anyone hearing about them is left wanting more.
A great place to start? A part-time job.
You might have heard in the news lately that lots of people are talking about a thing called “unconditional offers”. In terms of UCAS applications, this means a university you have applied for has read your application and decided they like you enough to offer you a place right away, no matter the grades you get at the end of the year.
Beware though, the word “unconditional” might be misleading.
In this sense, an unconditional offer might be (ironically) on the condition that you make the university in question your firm choice, essentially ditching all of your other options. If you’re the type to like a sure-bet, who maybe doesn’t perform their best under exam stress and who would really be happier all-round to know they have a guaranteed university place waiting for them, this could be a really great thing.
But it is absolutely not the best option for everyone. Listen to us when we say: do not feel pressured into making a university your firm choice. By anyone.
Do you know your bops from your balls? Or your CATS from your CUKAS?
Heading into the world of higher education can be like learning a new language – there's more jargon than you can shake a soc at. That's why we've created this handy glossary of all the weird and wonderful terms academics like to use. Let Push be your guide.
You'll need us. Honestly, it's a jungle out there.
If your plans don't involve uni visits and UCAS forms, there's still loads to do over the Summer to make yourself more employable.
If you don't have any work experience, it can be tough to get your first permanent job. But summer jobs, well, they're easier to get and then, ta-da, you've banked some experience and some cash for later.
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