I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, it's finally looking a bit like summer here in Essex!
I have a spare couple of hours so I thought I'd start my new University series, these posts will vary as and when things happen but I thought I'd write a quick little post on my experience with the application process which will be part one, and I will do another post in the future on writing a personal statement because that's a whole other story haha! Hopefully those of you who will be applying withing the next couple of years will find this helpful, I am by no means an expert but I found other peoples experiences and advice so useful so I thought I'd share mine with you!
1. Do I actually want to go to University?
So this is the obvious first question! University has always been something that I wanted to do since I was a young girl, I've always been fairly academic so the choice was fairly easy for me, however, I know that some of my friends have struggled with making the same decision. Tuition fees for a lot of Uni's have now risen to £9000 per year, and my year group is the first in the UK to have to pay the risen fees which can seem really off-putting! However, when you look more deeply into it you won't start paying anything back until you are earning £21,000 a year I believe, and your tuition fees are payed for automatically from your student loan. I won't go into too much depth with student finance because that would end up being a whole different post altogether!! What I am trying to say is that university is affordable for almost everyone so don't let tuition fees scare you!
Another factor to take into account is whether or not you want to go. Please do not let anyone whether it be pushy teachers, friends or your parents make this decision for you, but at the same time do not let nerves or fears stop you from going. As long as you are willing to spend three or more years in education, studying a subject you love then I'd say go for it! But if you do not want to, maybe take a gap year or look for some other form of employment or apprenticeship :)
2. Which subject should I take?
As some of you may know I am going to be doing a joint honors degree in Sociology and Social Science with Applied Criminology (It's a bit of a mouthful haha!) When deciding which subject to take I thought about my A Levels and which subject I enjoyed the most - which in my case was Sociology, a subject that I love and I am fairly good at, I also studied crime and deviance as one of my units and found that really interesting too which helped me to come to my decision. The other for universities I applied to, I chose Sociology and Criminology, but the university I liked best offered the degree above which is a bit more varied, offering elements of psychology etc.
So my best advice for you guys is to pick a subject you already or know you will enjoy and are interested in, as well as picking a subject you are good at. If you are really good at something but hate doing it, then you won't want to spend three years purely studying that subject! If like me you like a little variety, then a joint honors degree might be for you!
3. Which universities should I apply to?
There's three main ways to cut the hundreds of universities down in my opinion :)
- Will you be moving out or staying at home? - If you would like to stay at home while studying at university, then you will obviously have to focus on researching universities that you can realistically get to, this will help to cut down your choices :)
- How far away am I willing to move? - If you are (like me) going to move out, you need to decide how far away from home you are willing to be away from home, and also where you would like to live. I have decided on a university that is about a 2 hour drive away! You need to not only choose a university you feel comfortable in, but also a town / city that you will be happy living in!
- What are my predicted grades? - One way to pick is by looking at universities entry requirements, and comparing that to your predicted grades to see whether you would realistically get in. The advice often given is that you should pick 2/3 uni's that meet your predicted grades 1 with lower requirements and one with higher.
Another piece of advice I would give is to visit universities!!!! It is honestly the best way to decide where to go, you will automatically get a feel for the place and will be able to see whether you will feel comfortable going there! I thought I'd love some places, but when I actually visited them I wasn't so keen!
I hope some of you found this helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions and would like to see more of these posts :)