Guide to applying to Higher Education 2015 Entry
This booklet is designed as a guide to help you make a successful and appropriate application to Higher Education. It is not meant to provide detailed information but rather to encourage you to do the necessary research for your university application.
WHAT TO DO IN YEAR 12:
Seek advice from a College Careers Adviser and/or your subject teachers and Progress Tutor.
Start planning and researching early – use the Careers Website.
Make sure you have planned any work experience which is vital for some courses (e.g. nursing, primary teaching).
A end Open Days (some are in June/ July) to research courses and universi es fully including looking at accommoda on.
Start working on your personal statement early in the summer term ( you will get help with this).
Work hard for your AS exams and BTEC qualifica ons.
SHOULD I APPLY TO UNIVERSITY? Either you have definitely decided to apply to Higher Educa on as opposed to a job, or you want to keep your op ons open, as you have not made a final decision. In both these cases you should apply to Higher Educa on.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT COURSE Firstly, you need to decide what kind of degree course would be best for you. Your future career plans may dictate what degree you take. For example if you want to be a vet, den st, nurse or physiotherapist, you would have to study a course leading to a qualifica on in these areas. There are courses such as in Business Studies and Management which are more broadly voca onal and lead to areas of work rather than specific careers. Other degrees involve the indepth study of more tradi onal academic subjects such as History.
Once you have decided what you want to study, you will need to think about the kind of course: A single subject degree e.g. Chemistry A joint degree e.g. English and History A combined degree e.g. Interna onal Business with Languages A sandwich degree course with a year in industry An HND or Founda on Degree You will also need to consider the following: Is the course taught and assessed in a way that suits you? What are the likely job prospects? Does the course lead to any professional qualifica ons? Is it accredited by a professional body e.g. BPS for Psychology? What is the length of the course? Does it involve a year abroad or a year in industry?
WHERE TO STUDY When choosing your universi es, you need to take other factors into account apart from course content. You need to like the loca on of the university. Problems with accommoda on can also lead to students becoming unse led and even dropping out. Check accommoda on facili es and cost very carefully. Think about the following: Do you want to be near home? Do you prefer to be near a large city or do you like the idea of a university which is some distance from a large town e.g. Lancaster? What is the social life like? How easy is it to travel to? What are the university fees? Other points you may wish to consider: Where is the university in the league tables? Check the Key Informa on Sets for sta s cs on factors such as student sa sfac on, employment outcomes h p://unistats.direct.gov.uk/?
WHERE TO GET INFORMATION You can access detailed informa on on all universi es and higher educa on ins tu ons from prospectuses and via the NEW College careers website (www.ncpontefract.ac.uk/careers-home). You can access this from home as well as in College. Most university websites will provide more detailed informa on than you will find in a prospectus. Other sources of informa on are the UCAS Big Guide and the HEAP Degree Course Oﬀers. These books are kept in the LRC with the university prospectuses. If you are unsure about what to study, you may find the Higher Ideas or UCAS Course Finder programmes useful star ng points. These can be found in the Higher Educa on sec on of the NEW College careers website. It is recommended that you seek advice from a College Careers Adviser at an early stage.
VISITING UNIVERSITIES Try and visit all the universi es which you are seriously considering. This is the best way to gather informa on about the loca on, courses and accommoda on. Most Universi es have Open Days in the summer and autumn terms. You will need to check on university websites for specific dates. You may need to pre-book a place early as some universi es are very popular. Informa on about visits the College is organising will be available around Easter.
HOW TO APPLY This should be done online via UCAS APPLY. You will be given a separate guide in Year 13 with more informa on about this. Applica ons to the Music Conservatoires are done via CUKAS. Links to both can be found on the careers website.
WHEN TO APPLY Applica ons should be made between 1 September and 15 January as a general rule. (The CUKAS deadline is 1 October for “on me” applica ons and 31 May for “late” applica ons. Applica ons can be made from 1 July.) However, please note: Oxbridge, Veterinary Science, Den stry and Medicine applicants must apply before 15 October. (NB You can only apply to Oxford or Cambridge, not both.) If you wish to be considered for the more compe ve courses e.g. English, Law and Psychology at the more pres gious universi es, you are strongly advised to apply as early as possible. Compe on for Primary Teaching and Nursing and Midwifery increases each year so again, early applica on is advisable. An early, well thought out applica on sends out a posi ve message about your commitment to the course for which you are applying.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS – SOME BASIC INFORMATION You can apply for up to 5 courses (except for Medicine, Den stry and Veterinary Science where the maximum is four). If you cannot decide on five choices at first, you can add more choices a er you have submi ed your form to UCAS. However, universi es are not obliged to consider choices made a er 15 January. It is important to ensure that you are prepared to go to any of your choices, there is no point pu ng something down just for the sake of filling up the form. It is also important to thoroughly research not only the course content but also to find out what the typical oﬀer is for the course. This needs to be matched to your predicted A2 grades. There is probably no point applying for a course which requires BBB, if your predicted grades are CDD. Equally, it is just as important not to undersell yourself. If your final result is BBB, would you be willing to go to a university which requires CDD? In a nutshell, be realis c.
As part of your applica on, you need to write a Personal Statement. In your statement you need to demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm for your chosen courses. This requires some real thought and eﬀort. A good personal statement should take at least 4 or 5 hours work and will usually need to be dra ed and altered a couple of mes. It is vital you do not plagiarise – universi es can easily pick up on this. You can get help with your personal statement from your Progress Tutor and from the Careers Team. You have a maximum of 47 lines or 4000 characters including spaces.
PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS WITH UNIVERSITIES NEW College Students applying to Leeds University (who sa sfy certain criteria) can apply for the Access to Leeds scheme at the same me as they submit their UCAS form. This can result in oﬀers a grade below the standard entry requirements. NEW College students applying to Newcastle University (who sa sfy certain criteria) will be eligible either for a guaranteed oﬀer or an oﬀer via the Partners Supported Entry Route. NEW College students gaining a place at Sheﬃeld Hallam University will be en tled to the Hallam Access Bursary of £300 for each taught year of study. Further informa on is available from Careers staﬀ.
ENTRANCE TESTS FOR LAW, MEDICINE, VETERINARY SCIENCE AND DENTISTRY The UKCAT (UK Clinical Ap tude Test) is an admissions test which is required by a number of universi es for their Medicine and Den stry courses. Tes ng usually begins on 1 July. The final date to register is likely to be 19 September with a final tes ng date of 3 October. (Dates not yet finalised.) Early registra on is recommended. This test is computer based and has to be taken at specific centres throughout the UK. (NEW College is not one of them.) Students are strongly recommended to see a Careers Adviser to discuss and prepare for the UKCAT. Veterinary Science and Medicine applicants to some universi es are required to take the BMAT test. Please note that the deadline for entry to the BMAT test is usually 1 October and the test is usually held on the morning of the first Wednesday in November. (Dates not yet finalised) NEW College is a registered examina on centre for this. Results are usually released late November. Law applicants to certain universi es are required to take the LNAT test. The LNAT test is taken at specific centres throughout the UK (NEW College is not one of them), and is computer based. Registra on for this test usually begins in August. (Entry deadlines not yet set.) Applying to Oxford or Cambridge. If you are applying to these universi es, you may have to sit an extra entrance test or exam.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What criteria do Admissions Tutors use to make a selec on? The usual criteria are:
GCSE results AS results BTEC Results (this can include individual unit grades) Predicted A2/BTEC grades BMAT/LNAT/UKCAT results (in some cases) Personal Statement – needs to demonstrate suitability/mo va on Reference Interview (In truth the majority of courses no longer interview, which therefore makes the personal statement more important)
How important are examina on results? Examina on results are rarely the sole basis for selec on. However, good results are obviously an important part of the overall picture. How does the UCAS Points System work? You will receive points based on your A level or BTEC grades: A*= 140 points A = 120 points B = 100 points C = 80 points D = 60 points E = 40 points Please see www.ucas.co.uk for full tariﬀ table including the BTEC tariﬀ. If your oﬀer is for 300 points, for example, this could come from 3 B Grades or from an A, B and a C. Some universi es will count points from AS levels when calcula ng your total tariﬀ point score. AS level grades carry half the score of a full A level, so an A at AS is worth 60 points. Some universi es will award up to 70 UCAS points for COPE.
WHAT ABOUT FINANCE? Universi es are currently able to charge up to £ 9,000 per year for tui on fees. A fee loan is available to cover this cost. In addi on, students need to budget for living costs (including rent, food etc). Maintenance loans and/or maintenance grants are available to cover these expenses. You will not have to pay any fees prior to star ng, or while you are on your course. Loans to cover the fees (separate from your maintenance loan) are paid direct to your university or college. You will start to repay loans once you have le university and earning over £21,000 per year. You are strongly advised to check out student financial informa on at www.direct.gov.uk/studen inance
BURSARIES AND SCHOLARSHIPS It is important to be aware that universi es will be oﬀering non-repayable bursaries/scholarships mainly to students from lower income backgrounds. Please be aware that the amount of bursaries and eligibility criteria can vary significantly from university to university. Some universi es will also be oﬀering academic scholarships. These are not means tested but are based on academic achievement. The eligibility will vary from course to course within a university. Informa on is available on individual university websites. Also from h p://bursarymap.direct.gov.uk
NHS BURSARIES The Department of Health will provide means tested bursaries for:- Nursing and midwifery degrees Degree courses leading to professions allied to medicine e.g. physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupa onal therapy, radiography etc. Medical and Dental students a er their 4th year. Some health related courses have fees paid by NHS/other agencies.
I’M PLANNING A GAP YEAR – SHOULD I APPLY NOW OR LATER? As a general rule, we would advise you to apply whilst s ll in College. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, a number of students change their minds later in the year and secondly, you can either opt to defer entry for a year at a later stage or even withdraw your applica on completely.
WHAT IS AN ART FOUNDATION COURSE? The Diploma in Founda on Studies is a one year, post-A level course. This is a diagnos c course during which art students explore many diﬀerent aspects of the subject, to enable them to choose the best degree course for them and to put together a strong por olio. This course is classified as further educa on not higher educa on and students should apply to individual colleges not via UCAS.
HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE A CAREERS ADVISER? Appointments for careers interviews can be made by signing your name in an appropriate space on the metable posted outside our oﬃce. We also have “drop in” sessions for quick queries and these are indicated on our metables. Graham Crossley
Careers Adviser/Progress Tutor
Karen Smi en
Senior Progress Tutor (Careers/Oxbridge)
SCHEDULE OF TALKS IN THE SPRING TERM— FOR YEAR 12 STUDENTS All talks will be at lunch me 12.10 - Venues- John Godber Theatre or PA 15 Thursday 16 Jan Thursday 23 Jan Friday 24 Jan Tuesday 28 Jan Friday 31 Jan Thursday 6 Feb Thursday 27 Feb Thursday 6 March Thursday 13 March Thursday 20 March
York University, John Godber Theatre Sheﬃeld University, PA 15 Voluntary work with Age Concern, PA 15 Leeds University, John Godber Theatre Studying at university abroad, John Godber Theatre Huddersfield University, PA 15 York St John University, PA 15 Leeds Trinity University, PA 15 Sheﬃeld Hallam University, PA 15 Leeds Met University, PA 15
Thursday 27 March Thursday 3 April
Hull University, PA 15 Lincoln University, PA 15
On Thursday 12 June we will be holding our annual Careers and Higher Educa on Progression Day. On this day we have approximately 80 visi ng speakers from a range of diﬀerent universi es and career professionals. We will also be holding our Annual Higher Educa on Evening for parents in September. Provisional date 16 September 2014.
GLOSSARY BA Bachelor of Arts degree. BSc Bachelor of Science degree. Campus This usually refers to the buildings and surroundings of a university or college. Degree A qualifica on awarded by a higher educa on ins tu on a er the sa sfactory comple on of the equivalent of three years of full- me study at university level. Founda on degrees may be awarded a er two years of study. Faculty A faculty is a group of academic departments – Faculty of Science, Faculty of Law and so on. Some mes they are called schools, such as School of Health Studies. Graduate A graduate is a person who has been awarded a degree from a higher educa on ins tu on. Whilst studying for a degree or other higher educa on qualifica on you are known as an undergraduate. Hardship funds Most universi es have a fund to support students who experience par cular financial diﬃcul es which may prevent them from accessing or staying in higher educa on. They are available once you are at university or college. HNC/HND Higher Na onal Cer ficate/Higher Na onal Diploma. Lecture A teaching class led by a lecturer where you take notes and ask ques ons. Modular courses Some courses are divided into modules and you have to pass a number of compulsory and op onal modules to complete a degree programme.
Postgraduate courses Courses at a higher level, usually only available if you already have a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree. Russell Group Universi es The Russell Group is an associa on of 24 major research-intensive universi es of the United Kingdom including Leeds, Sheﬃeld, Manchester and No ngham. Not all elite universi es are in the Russell Group. St Andrews, Bath, Loughborough, Lancaster and Leicester are not in the RG. Sandwich course Any course that includes a year in industry or abroad. Semester Some universi es or colleges divide the student year into three term, some divide it into two semesters. A semester is half a study year. Seminar A group of students meet to discuss a subject with a tutor. Someone (or a group) may prepare a paper for discussion and share the research they have done and their opinions on the subject. Seminars are more interac ve than a lecture and are o en student-led. Student grant Means-tested non-repayable financial support. Student loan A loan to help you pay for fees, accommoda on, food, travel etc. This is repayable, but only when you earn more than £21,000 a year and the amount you repay is dependent on your earnings. Tutorial A one-to-one or small group session to discuss work or course issues with your tutor. UCAS Universi es and Colleges Admissions Service. All students applying for full- me courses apply through UCAS. Informa on in this booklet is correct as 16/01/14