Thursday, 8 October 2015

Applying for the 15 October deadline? Make sure you avoid these last minute dramas

There’s not long until the application deadline for dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine and veterinary science courses, as well as all courses at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. If you’re planning on applying to any of these then you must submit your application by 18:00 (UK time) on 15 October to guarantee being considered by the university or colleges.

To make sure you don’t miss it, we have five top tips on getting your application complete before the deadline.

1) Know your login details for Apply

A simple one to begin with, to complete your application you must be able to log in. If you’ve forgotten your login details, recover them online.

2) Give yourself plenty of time to write your personal statement

Your personal statement is your opportunity to sell yourself to the unis or colleges you’re applying to. It’s important not to rush it and make sure you get all the valuable information in that you need. If you need some inspiration then check out this blog post, it has 10 places to get personal statement pointers.

3) Make sure you give your referees enough time to complete their reference

Your referee must complete a reference before your application can be sent. To check whether they’ve done this, log into your application and check the message on the welcome screen.

i) If you’re applying through your school or college

After you've sent your application to your school or college, you’ll see a message on the ‘Welcome page.’ It’ll either say your application has been sent to UCAS or that we are waiting for your centre to finish your reference or send your application.

Make sure you let your school or college know that you’re applying for courses with a 15 October deadline. As this is earlier than the deadline for most other courses, it’s important to check that they’re able to complete your reference and send your application in time.

ii)  If you’re applying independently

When you log into your application, does the reference box have a red tick against it? If so, then it’s been completed by your referee and you’ll be able to send us your application once you've completed all the other sections. If the reference box has three green dots then it means it’s still incomplete. Speak to your referee to make sure they’re happy to provide a reference for you before the deadline.

4) You need to pay before you can send your application

Before your application can be sent you need to arrange a payment. If you’re applying through your school or college then they may pay the fee for you, check with them if you’re not sure. If your school or college hasn’t arranged this or you’re applying independently, you’ll pay by credit or debit card once every section of your application that’s available to you has been marked with a red tick. This video talks you through the payment section.

5) Don’t leave it until the last minute

You never know what might happen on the day, whether it’s technical issues or internet problems. You don’t want to miss the deadline because of circumstances beyond your control.

Good luck with your application!

If you have any questions about your application, send us a message on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Explore jobs with UCAS Progress

It may seem years and years away before you start your career but soon you’ll be able to make choices about qualifications that could impact what route you take to where you eventually want to be.

Deciding what you need to do now can be tough – should you do A levels, Highers, BTEC diplomas or an apprenticeship? – there are literally hundreds of options.

To help you narrow it down we’ve created our explore jobs section. We’ve catalogued over 100 different jobs you could do, explaining what each job involves and how you can get into that career. Ever wondered how to become a hospital doctor, beekeeper or dancer? We’ve got the answers and links to more information.

We’ve listed the essential and desirable qualifications for all the jobs featured – we’ve also highlighted if there are different pathways into the career of your choice.

There are a couple of different ways to start your research:

if you know what you want to do, you can search for that job and go straight to the profile
you can filter roles by job family – so if you know you want to work in engineering and manufacturing you can look at the only jobs relevant to that job family
if you’re completely stuck for what to do, take the Buzz quiz – it takes just a few minutes and suggests different jobs and job families you may be interested in based on your personality

Soon you’ll also be able to filter jobs by the skills needed to do the job – like written communication, or related subjects – like maths and English.

Remember, there’s lots of different things you can do. For most jobs there are lots of different ways you can study or train!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Five tips to avoid deadline day drama

The deadline for conservatoire music courses is 1 October at 18:00 (UK time). By this date your entire application, including referee details and payment, must be completed and sent to us. Make sure you don’t miss this deadline by following these five tips.

1. Know your logins
We’ll start with the basics, it’s important you know your username and password so you can complete your application. You don’t want to be struggling to login while trying to meet the deadline. If you’ve forgotten your username or password, recover your details online.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the personal statement 
The personal statement may appear daunting but we’ve got plenty of advice to help you along the way. Also, check out our personal statement mind map as it has lots of guidance on how to start, all the way through to completing it.

3. Make sure you have a valid debit or credit card to make a payment
In order to send your application, you must complete the payment section. It may sound obvious but check that the account has enough money in it to cover your application and audition fees and is valid to make payments online.

4. Don’t leave it to the very last minute
You never know what might happen, whether you have last minute internet issues or other technical problems you don’t want to miss the deadline because of it.

5. Keep calm
Above all, it’s important to stay calm and not stress. If you have any questions about your application, check out our website or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.

Good luck with your application!

Get the views of conservatoire student Charlotte, who has been sharing her experience in her blog.

Four top tips to managing your money at uni

The thought of managing your money while at university may appear daunting, but with a bit of planning it doesn’t need to be. We’ve got plenty of finance information on our website but if you need a bit more advice, we spoke to Izabella, from the Money Advice Service, who shared her top tips on how to make your money go further.

Make sure you know what to expect
If you’re starting university this September, it may be your first taste of independence and looking after your money. Being aware of the costs of being a student from the start, and knowing where you can cut costs will mean your money will go further and you won’t blow your budget.

1. Average costs of being a student
Each university will charge an annual tuition fee, which could now be up to £9,000 a year.

On top of this, there are other costs you should consider. The below table is from the NUS (National Union of Students).

Cost type
Cost per year
Personal items
Travel to university
Other travel and holidays
Household essentials, including toiletries
Books and equipment
Total cost per year

2. Work out a budget
A budget is simply a record of your incomings and outgoings. As a student, you may not have many incomings, unless you get a part-time job, but include your loans, any grants, and any money you may get from your family in your budget.

Try to work out how much money you will have at the beginning of each week or month, and remember this budget needs to cover accommodation, food, and books as well as socialising! Seeing the figures in black and white will make it easier to not overspend.

The Money Advice Service’s blog on budgeting as a student will help.

3. Review your spending
Having more money going out than coming in is a common worry for students. The first step is to review your spending. Could you cut back anywhere?

You may also be able to get a part-time job to help boost your income. Are there any jobs going at your students’ union, for example?

You should try to avoid getting in high levels of debt or missing any important payments, such as your utility bills. This can impact your credit rating in later life.

Your credit rating is used to help lenders decide whether to lend you money, how much to let you borrow, and, in some cases, how much interest to charge you. Learn more about your credit rating with the Money Advice Service.

4. Save money where you can   
Making certain choices over others could also save you money. For example, many bank accounts are very competitive when it comes to students, so there are often freebies up for grabs. A popular one is a 16-25 railcard, which gives you money off when you’re travelling (however, the railcard isn’t available in Northern Ireland).

If you think you will need to use an overdraft facility, it may be worth finding a bank that gives you an authorised overdraft, as long as you remember this isn’t free money and you will need to start to repay it when you graduate. The Money Advice Service has a useful guide on student and graduate bank accounts.

You can also save money by shopping smarter – by shopping around, using vouchers, and using outlet stores, for example. The Money Advice Service has more tips on saving money when shopping.

If you have any further questions, you can contact the Money Advice Service for free, impartial advice on 0300 500 5000. They can also be contacted on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

How to make the most of an open day in four simple steps

Open days are a great opportunity for you to get to know a conservatoire better. You get to see the facilities and they give you the chance to meet current students and staff so you can ask any burning questions. Before you attend one, make the most of your visit by following these four simple steps:

1. Make a shortlist – visiting every conservatoire might be a bit ambitious, so choose the ones that offer the course you’re interested in. There are eight conservatoires and all open days are listed on their website:

Birmingham Conservatoire
Leeds College of Music
Royal Academy of Music
Royal College of Music
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Royal Northern College of Music
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

2. Know what to expect – each conservatoire will have a planned itinerary of tours, talks and chances to ask questions. This will vary from each conservatoire so make sure you check their website to find out what’s on the agenda for the day.

3. Plan ahead – think about what you’d like to find out more about, and which departments you'd like to look at.  Prepare some questions you’d like to ask current students and the academic staff. They’re the ones who know the place best so make sure you make the most of this opportunity!

4. Taster sessions – as well as attending an open day, you could see if they run taster sessions to give a flavour of the course you’re interested in.

If you have any questions about applying to a conservatoire put them to our helpful advisers on Facebook and Twitter.

Get the views of conservatoire student Charlotte, who has been sharing her experience in her blog.