The idea of University can be exciting for some, others might think that this can be daunting. I am currently 6 months away from going to University and feeling very nervous about what’s to come in future months. However, I am ready for it and looking forward to leaving college.
Whether you are applying, thinking about it or anxious about university, here are my top 7 tips for preparing for University…
Visit Universities during Open Days
I think out of all of the 10 tips that this is the most important. The worst thing you could do is go to a University which makes you feel uncomfortable. This is why it’s important to visit and experience the University before applying for UCAS. Go to the places, talk and experience the day as if you are a real University Student. I visited the University I aspire to go to twice. I asked many questions to subject leaders about the subject I wanted to apply for and everyone was really helpful and was able to tell me everything I wanted to know.
Know exactly what career path you want after University before sending your UCAS application
Sometimes you might think you know what you want to study before actually looking in more detail of what qualifications you need to get into your dream role. This situation happened to me. I was determined I wanted to do Media Production but wanted to go into Digital Marketing after University. I found out the course I needed to do wasn’t what I thought I wanted to do. However, after contacting the University I wanted to go to, I was informed that this happens to a lot of people so I wasn’t too worried and tried to stay calm.
You have two options if this happens to you:
You wait until you’ve heard back from all of your options on UCAS Track or Withdraw them and change your options through UCAS Extra (This allows you to change your options for universities)
You contact the University you want to study at directly and change it through contacting their admissions teams. They will be able to do this within a week or so.
You can even change your mind at the last minute. A lot of Universities allow you to change your options within your first two weeks of studying there. I was offered this when I spoke to someone over the phone.
3) Make sure you chose the right Student Accommodation.
During your time at university, you want to live somewhere safe, comfortable and welcoming. This can be assessed by visiting student accommodation through the Open Days or arranging a time with your University. Contact them if you have any queries. I was emailed and offered student accommodation but I didn’t want it.
4) Making Sure You Choose The Right Firm and Insurance Choice on UCAS
I feel many colleges help with the application process for UCAS and then drop you once it's sent. They don’t actually tell you in my opinion what exactly happens when all your choices come back on UCAS Track. For me, this was a hard choice applying for so many exciting courses.
So this is what happens:
On UCAS Track, a button appears which states “Make firm choices” or “Reply to your choices”. Once pressed, you can choose out of your 5 options your firm and insurance choice.
Your firm choice is the choice you will get if you get your UCAS points required (whether Conditional or Unconditional offer).
Your insurance choice is the one you will get if you don’t get your UCAS points for the first option. The entry points for this choice have to be the same or lower. They can also be higher, it just isn’t recommended.
If you're stuck in terms of choosing your options, my advice is just to weigh out the odds and hopefully, this should help you chose. This can be through making a list, speaking to people and going to the university again. I am always here if you would like some help too.
5) Apply for Student Finance
Applying for Student Finance is compulsory. This allows you to take out a tuition loan for your University course for the 3/4 years you are there for. I recommend doing this as early as possible. I started mine two weeks ago and it’s nearly completed. It takes two hours to apply for including any extra Loans or Bursaries you need to apply for.
This may throw people but you don’t have to pay back your Student Finance until you're in full-time work earning £25,000 a year. There are no upfront fees.
6) Check if you are entitled to extra Financial support and Bursaries
This could help massively in terms of fees you may need to get through University. You can apply for a whole range of different Bursaries and Loans (Check requirements on the Gov.Uk website).
The two most important ones I think are as follows:
Disabled Student Allowance Loan
This can help you get through university and support your special needs if you require counselling, technology or enough money to go on trips. This money you don’t have to pay back. I applied for this and actually been accepted. This money will be able to help me buy a new laptop for University which is great and will help my slower processing. The application process isn’t that bad for this either.
2) Maintenance Loan
This can help financial support whether you have hardly any income coming in at home or whether you are living in student halls. This, therefore, could be an amazing help. You will have to pay this one back as well as tuition fees. I haven’t had to apply for this but it’s definitely something I am wanting to get in my next two years because this will help with travel costs and much more.
AND most of all,
7) Have fun and Enjoy it!
Make the most of your time at University. They say that it’s the best 3/4 years of your student life. Work hard, socialise, study hard and Make friends!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to message me. I can help. ☺
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.