This summer we all have a little more time to fill.
Covid-19 has meant that a lot of the usual events we enjoy doing aren't able to go ahead. Mass gathering? Not happening I'm afraid.
So you've got a whole lot of time that's opened up. So how are you going to fill it?
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.
Right about now, you should be thinking about your student finance for next year. So if you haven’t completed your application, do it very soon. Although right now there is, of course, some changes to the process in light of the Covid-19 situation.
These are the most important changes to know if you're applying for Student Finance in the middle of a pandemic.
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.
Whilst basing your grades on the work you’d done up until 20th March might not seem fair as you didn't get Easter to hand in any great work based on past papers (naturally people improve the closer to the exams it gets), getting your teachers to take responsibility for your final grade does take away the potential pitfall of the exam itself…and we mustn't forget how many students' nerves get the better of them on the day.
A "winner takes all" approach doesn't work for every student. I’d say it doesn’t work for most and isn’t a healthy way to grade long-term effort and progress, and it certainly isn’t reflective of the working environment most people will find themselves in, where every single day, the realities of the job (and keeping it) is the grade
One thing we can all agree on as we go into another week of lockdown is that it isn't always easy. No matter who you're with and where you are, there are days when it might just seem a little harder, and that's fine.
The same is happening to you, me, your guardian, your best friend, your favourite celebrity. Everyone. So don't worry about it. It's normal.
So how do we make sure we're looking after ourselves in these unexpected circumstances and make sure that we aren't going stir crazy all cooped up inside like battery hens (Remember to buy free range folks!)
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!
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...
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...
It might seem that sometimes everyone is talking about going to University, but it isn't for everyone.
If you think university might not be for you there's alternative routes. One of the most popular is Apprenticeships and right now there's more providers than ever!
However Paul Joyce, Ofsted's Deputy Director for Further education and Skills, has spoken in a report about how Brexit may have an effect on Apprenticeships and Skill gaps and he found in his research that while the number of providers of Apprenticeships has gone up since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 (This means companies had to pay into the levy to support Apprenticeships in their business) the number of people actually doing apprenticeships has continued to fall.
So why is this the case?
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.
You might have heard the Prince’s Trust’s name thrown about before, but who are they and what do they do?
According to their website, the Prince’s Trust is a charity set up by Prince Charles over 40 years ago with the mission ‘to help young people transform their lives by developing the confidence and skills to live, learn and earn.’.
The charity helps school leavers and young people to develop their soft skills, get additional training and provides tips and resources on getting a job. For the budding entrepreneurs among us, they also offer training, mentoring and funding to help you start your own business.
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.
New analysis has found that in the last five years, two thirds of colleges and universities have seen an increase in their dropout rates.
One of the reasons stated could be the drive to widen applicants to universities with institutions said to be admitting students who ‘aren’t able to cope’.
While Push doesn’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea to allow as many people to get to University and follow their ambitions if they want to, we certainly think you should do your research before you decide if it’s the route for you.
You may have nearly a year until your uni application deadline for 2021, but if you're clever (and we’re sure you are), you’ll want to be as on-the-ball as Cinderella’s godmother and get your application right at the front of the queue.
That means getting it submitted by around half term in the Autumn.
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.
When you’re deciding what would be the perfect career for you. Who do you turn to? There’s so many options available to us now that it seems so easy to hunt down what interests you and how you might go around turning that into a career.
While the options available to us all to find that perfect job are more than ever, new research by the OECD International economics think tank could show that we’re starting to already limit ourselves by the age of seven.
As ever, there’s loads going on in the public sphere about climate change and what we can do to have a positive impact.
Recycling and taking the bus is old news by this point. By now, we all know that reducing our meat consumption can make the biggest difference to our carbon footprints, and the world is now paying attention to the rise of environmental influencers in the likes of Greta Thunberg, Earthling Ed and Immy Lucas.
But who would have thought the latest veg warrior to join the climate crusade would be Bake Off’s very own Prue Leith?
So, you're settled into the swing of sixth form. In the not so distant future is Christmas and your next proper break. Sadly, that’s not all the future 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 Joker face paint.
No your future is very real but it doesn't have to be scary. As long as you start to think about exactly what it is YOU WANT from your future, you can start planning now on how you can achieve that.
The deadline for applications to Oxbridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses is October 15th, so, get a shift on if you’ve not got your application in already! If Oxbridge isn’t your bag you can check other upcoming deadlines or application requirements click here to click here to go to the UCAS website.
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.
Sport of some kind is almost always in the news, but it’s been a media frenzy this month. We’re talking Rugby World Cup, World Athletics Championships, World Gymnastics Championships, with names like Dina Asher Smith, Simone Biles and Katarina Johnson-Thompson sweeping the headlines.
So it’s no surprise that sport initiatives in schools are getting some serious attention.
Sport England have announced that children should be taught ‘physical literacy’ in the same way they’re taught to read and write to promote higher activity levels and increased fitness throughout life.
And if that works, young people’s engagement with exercise and sport shouldn’t end the second they’re no longer forced into PE lessons. It should become a part of life.
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