Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Some Extra advice...

If you’ve used all five choices and been unsuccessful with all of them, or you’ve had a change of heart about the unis you’ve applied to, you don’t need to wait for Clearing. You can apply though UCAS Extra!

But what is UCAS Extra? This blog post will answer all your questions about what it is, who it’s for and whether it’s the right choice for you!

What is Extra?
Extra begins on 25 February and is an opportunity for you to apply for another course if you’ve used all five choices and don’t hold any offers. You can add one choice at a time. If you’re unsuccessful, or you decline an offer you receive, then you can add another choice, until 4 July.

Is Extra for me?
Extra is available to anyone who has used all five choices and not accepted a place – it could be because you’ve unsuccessful with all five, or you’ve received offers but had a change of heart and decided the courses wasn’t right for you. Either way, Extra is another opportunity to find a place on a course.

It’s worth keeping in mind that you can’t change your personal statement or reference. So if you decide to apply for a completely different course, speak to the uni first to check if they’d like a different personal statement. If that’s the case, they’ll ask you to send it straight to them.

Where can I apply?
Not all universities will have places in Extra, so you need to do some research into what’s available in our search tool. If you select the option ‘Courses open to new applicants’ from the filter, your search results will show only courses with vacancies.

Once you’ve found a course you like, add it in Track by clicking on the ‘Add an Extra choice’ option on the ‘Your choices’ page.

When will I hear back from the unis?
If you’ve not heard back from the uni after 21 days of adding your choice, you can add another one, until 4 July. By doing this, you’ll cancel the one you originally applied for in Extra, so make sure it’s definitely what you want to do! If you want to wait to see if the uni will offer you a place (they have until 14 July to make a decision) you can do this – it never hurts to ring the uni if you want to check how long you’re likely to wait for its decision!

If you get an offer, you’ll need to reply by the date shown in Track. If you don’t, your place will be declined automatically – so pay close attention!

Have any further questions about Extra? Have a look at our website or get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.

Three reasons you should attend a UCAS Exhibition

Struggling to pick a uni to apply to? Not sure which course is right for you? Weighing up your career options? Book yourself on to a UCAS exhibition to find out the answer to these questions and more!

So why should you go?

They’re an opportunity for you to meet lots of different unis in one place – and a chance to get some face time with those in the know! You’ll get to
meet admissions staff, course leaders, current students, and job recruiters.

Ask questions! 

Always try and have some questions lined up. After all, this is your opportunity to find out more information about the uni and course! Here are five questions to get you started:

1. What grades or UCAS points do I need?
2. What modules can I choose from?
3. What is the local area like?
4. Are there halls and accommodation nearby?
5. How many students get jobs at the end of the course?

You’re going to be spending at least three years of your life there, so make sure you get all the information you need!

Pick up a prospectus (or ten!)

Each uni will usually have a few prospectuses around. Make sure you pick some up to go through at your leisure, either on your own or with your parents. These will offer you a detailed insight into the uni, courses and tons more info about what the uni offers!

So what are you waiting for? Book now! There are over 50 locations to search from and they’re all free!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Why pick an apprenticeship?

There are over 150,000 employers offering apprenticeships in over 170 industries in the UK – and this figure is increasing every year!

But why pick an apprenticeship? Check out our top four tips to why you should consider one.

1) Earn while you learn

We’ll start with quite a big draw – you’ll receive a wage and paid holiday. Depending on the employer, learning will either be on a one day a week basis, or in blocks of several days. They’re either offered in the workplace or at a local college.

2) Preparation for working

Each week you’ll be working alongside experienced staff while gaining job-specific skills and earning a wage! Due to the nature of your study it enables you to develop your knowledge and skills quickly. And your employer will provide you with practical experience so you can put your new skills to the test! What better way to prepare for full-time work?

All apprentices will work at least 30 hours a week.

3) You’ll receive a qualification

At the end of the apprenticeship you’ll receive a qualification such as NVQ, HNC, City & Guilds, BTEC, or City and Guilds award. All of these are national, recognised qualifications that will look great on the CV!

4)     You could go on to university

Once you complete your apprenticeship you may be able to go in to permanent work with your current employer, look at other jobs or, with your new qualification, go into higher education. There are different things to consider before going to university or college but we have lots of helpful advice on ucas.com to get you started.

Want to know what it’s like to be an apprentice? Read the journey of award-winning apprentice Lucy in this blog post.

Check out the UCAS Progress search tool to look for apprenticeships near you. If you have any questions about apprenticeships send us your questions on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

What happens next?

So now you’ve sent your application you’re probably wondering what happens next. Look no further as we’ve got it covered in this short blog post!

1) Uni decisions 

Wondering when the unis will reply? If you applied by 15 January you’ll have a decision from each uni by 5 May. Check other key dates.

Once a university has made a decision, you’ll see one of the following in Track:

conditional offer – you still need to meet some requirements – usually exam results
unconditional offer – you’ve already met the entry requirements and your place is confirmed. However, additional information such as a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check or proof of qualifications may need to be provided
invitation received – you’ve been invited to an interview. The date will usually be given in Track – if not, ring the uni for details
unsuccessful – you haven’t been accepted. The reason for this will sometimes be shown in Track, but you can contact the uni for feedback
withdrawn – the uni has withdrawn the choice. The reason will usually be in Track, but if not, give them a quick call if you need to

2) Replying to offers

If the uni offers you a place, you’ll need to reply to them once you have decisions from all the  unis you’ve applied to. Your reply by date will be listed in Track, but also check out our key dates to give you an idea of when you may need to reply. There are three types of replies you can make:

firm – this would be your first choice
insurance – this is your back-up choice if you don’t meet the conditions of your firm. You can only accept an insurance choice if your firm choice is a conditional offer
decline – you’d need to decline any other offers

3) Wait for exam results

Accepted a conditional offer? The next step is waiting for the unis to update your application based on your results. While you’re waiting, there are plenty of things to do to prepare for uni life. Why not get to know the universities better by attending open days, following them on social media, and getting the view from current students by checking out the UCAS bloggers.

Good luck with your application!

Got any further questions about your application? Then check out all our 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.

Monday, 11 January 2016

15 January FAQs

As the 15 January application deadline approaches, here are some of the top questions we’re answering at the moment.

Q. Why can’t I log into my application?
A. If you can’t log into your application, first of all make sure you’re trying to log into Apply and not Track by mistake. If you’ve forgotten your username or password, try our ‘Forgotten login?’ link to retrieve or reset your details. If you’re still having trouble then give us a call so one of our advisers can help.

Q. How do I add my qualifications?
A. Before you can add any qualifications you need to add the schools or colleges where you’ve taken them. This video explains everything you need to do.

Q. How should I write my personal statement? 
A. The personal statement may appear daunting at first but try not to panic, we’ve got lots of advice to help! Start by checking out the pointers on our website then take a few moments to watch our personal statement video.

Finally, read this blog post where university staff tell you what they’re looking for, which will give you a better idea on what you should include.

Q. How does the reference section work?
A. There are three ways to request a reference, and the one you’ll use will depend on how you’re applying. Watch our video for a step-by-step guide to what you’ve got to do.

Q. Why can’t I pay and send my application?
A. You can only pay for and send your application when every section of your application is marked with a red tick. If you’re applying through a school or college, they’ll be able to complete a reference and send us your application after you’ve paid for your application. If you’re applying independently then you can pay for and send us your application once your referee has finished your reference. Ross, one of our advisers explains all of this in this video.

Q. What time is the deadline on 15 January?
A. Applications for the majority of courses should arrive at UCAS by 18:00 UK time on 15 January (check your chosen course details in our search tool for the correct deadline). This is to ensure that it gets equal consideration by the unis and colleges you're applying to.

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