Tuesday, 28 April 2015

FutureLearn Choices

Looking to bridge the gap between school and higher education? FutureLearn Choices provides a collection of free online courses designed to do just that – available to anyone around the world. These are delivered one step at a time and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop to fit around your life.

Want to know more? Neil Harvey, Head of Marketing for FutureLearn, has taken some time to share more information about how some of these courses can help you choose the right degree and get ready for university.

What are FutureLearn Choices?
Making your uni and subject choices can be one of the most important decisions you make. To help you with these decisions, we’ve put together a collection of free online courses designed to help with the transition between school and uni.

The courses are provided by top UK unis and can be taken anywhere, anytime on mobile, tablet or PC. They will run for three to eight weeks during June and July to help you make the most of post-exam term time and the start of your summer. You’ll then be prepared for the important decisions you’ll need to make in the new academic year.

Why would I need to take a course? 
Because it’s hard to know what university study will be like and to understand the wealth of different degree subjects available, many of which you won’t have experienced at school – the courses cover a broad range of areas.

Prepare for uni – get an insight into the skills you’ll need to study and work, like:

preparing for uni or developing a research project
numeracy skills required for many subjects
advanced maths that’s needed for science and engineering courses, like calculus or mechanics

Try out new subjects – get a taste of what studying will be like in:

archaeology
computer science
forensics 
robotics

Or find out what dentists, doctors, historians or environmental scientists really do all day.

How will the courses help with my UCAS application?
Many of our uni partners say that completing a FutureLearn course is evidence that students are interested in the subject and can learn successfully on their own. So, if you take a course through FutureLearn Choices, you can use it to show your enthusiasm for a subject in your personal statement. We also have two courses that will help you with your UCAS application and ace the interview process.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be running a series of posts with tips on how to get the most out of FutureLearn Choices – when you’re making decisions about uni, writing applications and attending interviews.

To view all of the FutureLearn Choices courses visit its website.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Advice for parents…

Applying to university can cause a fair amount of anxiety, but not just for your son or daughter – we know that as parents you want to do whatever you can to help them through this important stage of their lives. For some, the process can seem quite unfamiliar – but rest assured we’ve created useful resources especially for you, to help you give the best advice and support.

Monthly newsletters

Every month we send an email newsletter with timely information about what’ll be happening with your son or daughter’s application. These newsletters have valuable reminders of what your son or daughter needs to do throughout the year. Make sure you’re kept in the loop and sign up now.

Video guide for parents

Learn about the application process from start to finish with our video guide for parents. It explains how your son or daughter can search for courses, apply, and track their progress. It also gives advice on how you can help them along the way.

video

The UCAS website

There’s a whole section on our website dedicated to parents and guardians. It covers everything, from helping your son or daughter decide what they want to study, to the financial support available.

Parent guide

Download our PDF guide (it’s also available in Welsh) to help you navigate through the UCAS process. It has a glossary of all the terminology you’ll see on our website and also offers advice on preparing for results day and starting university.

Parent information tool

This interactive tool offers advice, hints and tips to guide you through the entire application process. It covers everything from starting the application, to confirming a place, as well as valuable information about other aspects of university life, like accommodation and student finance.

Parent bloggers

We have two parent bloggers who have been sharing their experiences as their daughters begin university. Have a read of Martin’s and Julie’s blog posts to get an inside view of what to expect from your own journey. Julie has offered some great advice on how to keep in touch with your son or daughter at university and Martin reflects on the benefits of a year out.

Social media channels
Finally, we regularly post useful advice and updates on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus pages, so get following!

If you have any further questions or concerns about your son or daughter’s application you can ask our social media team on these channels, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Moving in with strangers isn’t as scary as it sounds!

Once you’ve replied to your offers the next step is getting ready to start your studies. One of the key things you’ll need to do if you’re moving away from home is sort your accommodation. 
Living away from home with other students can be great experience and a way to make lifelong friends. 
 
There are no hard and fast ways for getting the move right – but it can help to hear from students who have been through themselves. Here, third year student, Lisa, from the University of Gloucestershire shares her tips…
 
University of Gloucestershire student, Lisa.
'I’m on my placement year whilst studying a Business Management degree at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham. I’m from London so it was a big deal to move two hours from home to a new town in my first year. I’m very settled now though.

'Everyone is in the same boat when you arrive for your first day at university. You get thrown into halls with a load of strangers which can be scary. But, just remember that everyone feels just as scared! After Freshers’ week, course inductions and a few nights out, you’ll quickly become great friends, knowing you’ve got a whole year together.

'In my second year, I moved into a student house with my best friends which was brilliant. Things weren’t always perfect but that’s just part of the experience. Want to see my student house first-hand? Earlier this year I invited the guys from Living at Uni to take a tour

'Here are my top tips for moving into student accommodation: 

Pick your flatmates wisely
'Let’s be honest, wherever you end up living, who you live with is just as important. In halls, you generally don’t pick who you are with, and it’s a big adventure. But when you head into your second year, you get a choice. Don’t forget your workload will increase, so you need more time to study. Although partying all the time is fun, it won’t get you your degree. Choose your housemates based on this, those you have a great time partying with may not always be the best ones to live with.

Visit the property first
'It sounds obvious but when houses become available to rent, there can be a mad rush and students commit to places before viewing them. Even if you trust the people you’re moving in with, you should always view the house for yourself to make sure you will be happy living there. And, ideally meet the landlord too so you can check they will sort out any problems quickly.

Read the small print 
'When you find the perfect house for you and your friends, you’ll have to sign a contract. Make sure you know if bills are included in your rent and if not, how much they are and that everyone is happy to split them equally. Your university may offer some admin support with tenancy contracts so get their opinion on your contract to make sure everything is fair. Be sure you understand what you’re getting into (literally) before you’re tied into a contract you don’t want to be in!

Set ground rules 
'You’ll have your own room, but there will be communal areas too – a living room, bathrooms and the kitchen. Make sure everyone is clear about the ground rules. Some houses made cleaning and cooking rotas to make sure everyone pulls their weight which makes life much easier!'
 
Get friendly tips and advice all year round from our team of first year student bloggers.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Apprenticeship experiences

This week is National Apprenticeship Week which celebrates apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy. There are over 100,000 employers who offer apprenticeships and so far, we’ve received over 8,500 applications through UCAS Progress. This figure is increasing every year!

To get a better understanding of the journey you go through on an apprenticeship, we asked Amanda Dorsett from Resource Productions and Sadie Hawkins from IBM to share their experiences.

Amanda Dorsett from Resource Productions 

“I started my journey as an 18 year old girl who had just completed her A levels but didn’t know what she wanted to do. At the time, I had two part-time jobs and had been studying IT and media. I found out about apprenticeships through school and looked further into them. I applied for tonnes of apprenticeships in IT as I thought this was the career path I wanted to take."  Read on...




Sadie Hawkins from IBM 

“Hello! My name's Sadie Hawkins and I'm an IBMer*.

A 21 year old apprentice on a mission – a mission to promote apprenticeships (and alternative career paths) and prove that apprentices really can 'get in and go far'!

With thanks to work experience back in 2010, I gained fantastic insight into IBM’s clients, culture, innovation and technology. From there, I was hooked!" Read on...



Are you thinking about an apprenticeship? Check out our website for all the facts you need to get started. You can search for apprenticeship opportunities using our search tool.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we’ll be sharing lots of facts and information on the UCAS Progress Facebook and Twitter pages, so keep your eyes peeled!

Sadie's apprenticeship experience

“Hello! My name's Sadie Hawkins and I'm an IBMer*.

A 21 year old apprentice on a mission – a mission to promote apprenticeships (and alternative career paths) and prove that apprentices really can 'get in and go far'!

With thanks to work experience back in 2010, I gained fantastic insight into IBM’s clients, culture, innovation and technology. From there, I was hooked! In August 2011 (at the grand old age of 18), I joined the IBM apprenticeship programme.

Since joining IBM, I've gained a broad range of experience in project, people and audit management, working with clients all across Europe. Currently, I'm a Project Manager working in Dublin. Day-to-day I manage complex technology projects as part of the merger of O2 and Three Ireland.

Over the past three and half years at IBM, I've had the most amazing opportunities from visits to Downing Street to hosting events at the BT Tower. To date, my biggest achievement was being named National Apprentice of the Year 2013.

*If you haven't seen the adverts, this line is wasted on you!”
Sadie will send us an update later in the year as she works towards her higher apprenticeship qualification. Good luck Sadie!