Thursday, 22 December 2016

How to look after your finances as a postgraduate

Taking on a postgraduate course is a big commitment, for both your time and your bank balance. But being smart with your money can make life much easier.

How much will it cost?
Not all postgrad courses cost the same, but the average is between £16,000 and £23,000 a year. How much it costs depends on:
which course you choose
where you study
whether your course is full time or part time
how much you spend on rent, bills, and entertainment

Postgraduate certificates and diplomas tend to be the cheapest, while master’s degrees and PhDs are the most expensive. Think about your reasons for studying and try to pick a route that won't leave you out of pocket.

Decide how you're going to study
If you dream about a care free student life, where you go out every night and wake up at midday, then think again. Be prepared to work hard and save.

You can normally choose between studying full-time, part-time or distance learning. A full-time course could be cheaper, but limits how much free time you have.

A part-time course lets you mix your home life with your studies, and you can continue earning by working while you study. However, you'll miss out on uni life and may end up paying more because your course will last longer.

Pick your course wisely
Postgrad courses can cost anything from £4,999 to £30,000 a year, so make sure you know what you're signing up for. Check tuition fees before you apply for courses and make sure they're within your budget.

Check to see if your old uni offers discounts for former students wanting to come back to study. Also, look for universities near home, as this could cut down on your living costs.

Avoid choosing a uni-based on its reputation without researching it properly first. Lots of leader boards are only based on undergrad studies, and may not offer what you want from a postgrad course.

What help can you get?
There’s a new government backed postgraduate loan that offers up to £10,000 to help students cover their tuition fees and living costs. They’re available to most students starting their course after August 2016.

This new loan gets paid straight into your bank account and you can use it for anything, not just your tuition fees. This gives you more flexibility, but make sure you spend it wisely. Most universities ask you to pay fees up front, so having the cash in your account could save you from having to put it on a credit card.

Part-time and distance learners can get the loan, but only if your course is less than four years, and you'll only get paid for the first two.

Some universities also offer scholarships, so check if you're eligible when you apply. Charities and trusts also offer grants and funding, so research what you can get and apply if you're eligible.

Set a budget
You'll need to start saving as soon as you've decided you want to do a postgrad course, especially if you're going to study full-time. You might get the government loan, but it's unlikely to cover everything you need.

If you're studying full-time, use this ultimate student budget planner to work out your budget for the year. Once you get your timetable, see if you'll have time to get a part-time job. Having a regular income will come in handy when funds start to run low.

If you study part-time, you may be able to continue your career although you might need to cut your hours. Start saving before you begin your course, so you have some money to fall back on if you can't work full-time.

Make sure you've got your money sorted
Full-time students can often get the same student current accounts as undergrads. They come with a range of benefits, like fee free overdrafts and other perks.

If you’re a part-time student, you’ll probably have to make do with a normal current account. Compare accounts and try to find one with an interest free overdraft, if you think staying out of the red will be an issue.

Avoid relying on credit cards if possible, but shop around to find one that's right for you if you need one as a safety net. If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay at least the minimum monthly repayments, don’t get one.

Things to check:

Interest rates
Added extras
Credit limits
Fees
Top money saving tips for postgrads

Spend wisely – books can be expensive, so buy second hand where you can. Get a student rail card or coach card, to save on the cost of travelling. And cook at home rather than going out for food.

Save on your food shop – shop in the evenings or early hours of the morning, and get food that's been reduced for a quick sale. Bulk buying with your housemates can also be cheaper than buying for one, and you'll probably waste less food.

Shop around for utilities – don't just go with the provider that your landlord is using when you move in. Compare broadband and energy deals, to make sure you save money.

Check for student savings – you can get discounts on everything from your council tax to your weekly shop. Get an NUS card and you can save money on eating out, TV subscriptions, gym memberships and in loads of high street stores.

source: money.co.uk

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Get to know the university you could be studying at

Now you’ve accepted a conditional offer, it’s a good idea to get to know your prospective university better, and see where you could be studying in the not-too-distant future. Getting to know the place now will help you to feel more at home if you start studying there, as you’ll already be familiar with the place and the people.

Now’s the perfect time to head to an open day at the uni you could be studying at, even if you have already been to one. Open days are a great way to explore the facilities, see where you could be living, and talk to current staff and students.

Can’t get to an open day? Take a look at our list of virtual tours to see what the university is like from the comfort of your own home.

Get to know your chosen university or college by following them on social media – keep up-to-date with what’s happening on campus, ask questions, and see what uni life is like!

If you’ve got any questions about your application, check out our info on www.ucas.com or get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.

Making the most of your time now you’ve accepted an offer

The wait to find out if you’ve met the conditions of your offer can seem like it goes on forever. To take your mind off it, here are three things you can be doing right now.

1. Check your status in Track – find out what it means and what you should do next. It may change over the coming months, so make sure you know what each status means and what you need to do.

2. Familiarise yourself with Clearing and Adjustment – if you’re waiting for results, they may be better than expected, or they might not be quite what you were hoping for. Clearing and Adjustment are our services to help you find another place in either circumstance – understanding how they work now will make the process much smoother if you need it on results day.

3. Sort out finance – you’ll need somewhere to live and money to pay for it! We don’t arrange student finance, but we do explain the process and point you in the right direction to apply for student loans.

If you’ve got any questions about your application, check out our info on www.ucas.com or get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.

Christmas opening hours

Everyone needs a break now and again, so we’ll be closed for a short time over the holiday period too. If you need to contact us over the festive period, take a look at our opening hours.


We’ve got plenty of advice on our website, so if you have a question while we’re closed check out our frequently asked questions, or all the advice we have on our video wall.


Merry Christmas from everyone at UCAS! 



Send us a question at any point over the festive period on Facebook or Twitter and our advisers will respond during the opening times shown above.

How to prepare for your UCAS Teacher Training interview

So you’ve sent your teacher training application, but what happens next? You’ll hear back from the training providers within 40 working days of submitting your application.

Before you can be offered a place on a programme, you’ll need to attend an interview. Although interviews may appear daunting, a bit of preparation can go a long way.

Check out our top tips to help you prepare.

Show off your qualities.

Training providers will be looking for a number of qualities to see if you’d make a good teacher, such as:

passion – show you care about teaching
confidence – and being respectful towards children
professionalism – in both your mindset and the way you conduct yourself
personality – this can easily be reflected in how you present yourself, so dress smartly
energy – enthusiasm is infectious
resilience – being a teacher can be tough, so you'll need to show you're up to the task
understanding the commitments involved in  teaching – even the most prepared interviewees can be nervous about some things. It'll be fine as long as you demonstrate how you can overcome this in order to succeed

Prepare for the types of questions you’ll be asked.

Interviewers will ask you a range of questions, such as:

asking you to demonstrate an understanding of what helps children to learn
why you’ve picked a school-based/university-based route
what you’ve learnt from your experience in schools
your understanding of the subject you’ll be teaching – take a look at the national curriculum before your interview

It’s a good idea to start thinking of answers to the above questions, and examples that demonstrate what would make you a great teacher.

Need some more inspiration? Check out this video on how to prepare for your teacher training interviews.

video


Good luck at your interview!
Please let the training providers know if you’re unable to attend an interview. They may be able to reschedule this to a more convenient time.

If you have any questions about your UCAS Teacher Training application, check out all the advice on ucas.com. You can also get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter who’ll be more than happy to help.