Your mates in the year above might be able to breathe a sigh of relief having submitted their final UCAS and apprenticeship applications, and rightly so. But for you, the process is quickly becoming a reality. So now is a good time to splash some cold water in your face, puff your chest out and start an exciting research project called: what I’m going to do at 18.
If you've already got an idea of what subject you want to commit a few years of your life to (don’t just follow your best grade: make sure you’re passionate about the thing), then kudos to you. Go to our Uni section for our top tips on where to start when working out which university experience might be the right one for that gloriously unique thing called you.
Whether it’s the price of rent, how many UCAS points you’ll need, what weird societies they have or simply where they are in the world, now’s the time to start making your own shortlist. Start by getting it down to 25, then 15, then 10…then the magic 4-5. Remember, of the 160 unis, the best one for you is the one that matches your needs – inside and outside the lecture hall.
If you know you want to choose a higher education course, but you haven’t the foggiest what you want to study, or what experiences studying for a degree can give you…we can help you there too.
Our No Idea page is a great place to start, and the UCAS course finder is another fab resource – it can show you where a certain degree might take you or what jobs require what degrees. We’d also recommend our friends over at BestCourse4me, and Which?Uni. All great resources at your fingertips. Remember: information is useless unless you know what you want. Over the festive break, make a list of the top 10 things you want and need from a degree experience…and the feelings you need each day to feel good within your skin (respect, risk, creativity, diversity, challenge). You will be surprised how much easier it is to find something that is right for you, when you’ve based your search around one simple thing: you.
Basically, it takes a lot of the hard work out of planning your next steps. A few minutes every day this Christmas exploring all these resources (ideally with a warm hot chocolate to hand) will save a lot of worry, panic and last-minute decisions next September.
…and if you’re not thinking about a higher education path, then that’s fine too. You’re a unique individual with specific needs in life…and sometimes the degree experience just won’t cut it in your search for happiness. Be brave enough to keep exploring what you are most curious about…and then try and work out how to get proof that you’re skilled at it (a qualification). That might mean an apprenticeship, a degree apprenticeship, a gap year organization, working your way up the ladder in a part time job or volunteering activity, public-funded training…or it might even turn out to be a degree after all (there are 100,000 courses to choose from)..
LUCY HARDING is the Editorial manager for Push. She is an English Literature grad and an MA Publishing student at UCL. She is passionate about international relations and cultural diversity, having worked closely with her university’s Erasmus society to support European students. She also spent a year abroad studying at California State University: Long Beach.
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