Thursday, 28 April 2016

UCAS Teacher Training: Requesting A Reference

Before you can apply for teacher training programmes in England and Wales, you need two references on your application. The process may seem a little daunting and confusing, but we’ve got it covered in this blog post!

Who can be my referee?

If you’re at uni or college, or finished within the last five years, we’d recommend that your first reference is from a tutor or lecturer who can comment on your academic achievements.

Your second referee can be someone who knows you well enough in a professional capacity – either from an academic or professional background.

Both your referees will be asked to comment on your suitability for teaching.

Your referee can’t be a family member or friend.

How do they provide a reference? 
First off, speak to your referees to make sure they’re happy to provide one for you, and give them a heads up on what to expect. If they’re willing to provide you with a reference, you need to send them a request on your application once you’ve completed the following sections:

  • personal details
  • additional information
  • education
  • personal statement 

Once these sections are marked as complete, and you’ve saved your referees details, you can send your reference requests by following this process.

It’s always worth asking your referees to add to their contacts list, so our automated emails don’t get blocked by their firewalls.

If your referees have not provided a reference within 14 days, we’ll issue a reminder email automatically. You can send one yourself within the reference section after the 14 days.

If you have any questions about the reference section, take a look at our website, or get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Get to know a uni better at an open day!

Open days are a great opportunity for you to check out a university, before you apply or accept a place. Not sure how to find them or how to prepare? We’ve got it covered in four simple steps!

1. Make a shortlist
There are hundreds of unis and colleges in the UK and there might be a fair few that offer the type of course you’re interested in. Put a shortlist together of the unis or colleges you’d like to visit, by searching for courses in our search tool. Once you’ve done that, search for open days to see if you there are any you can attend.

2. Plan ahead
So, you’ve found a uni you want to attend and arranged to head off to an open day? Get an idea of what you want out of the day. Whether it’s seeing specific departments, or meeting particular course tutors, make sure you have a plan in mind to get the most out of it! Also, think of some questions to ask while you’re there. You’ll meet the staff and current students who will know the uni and surrounding areas better than anyone – so this is your chance to get some valuable info from those in the know!

3. Check out their agenda
Each open day will have a set agenda. There will be a selection of tours, talks, meet and greet sessions, and much more. It’s worth checking the uni’s website before you attend, as they may have an in-depth agenda for the day.

4. Can’t attend an open day?
With so many unis and colleges around the UK, we understand you may not be able to attend all the ones you’d like to. If that’s the case, check out our virtual tours for an interactive look at a university from the comfort of your own home.

If you have any other questions about open days, check out the information on our website or get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.

Finding the right course

With thousands of courses available in our search tool, it can be quite tough to narrow your choices down to just five. But don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of suggestions on where you can do some research to find the right course for you.

Check out the different types of course
There are different course types to think about. We have lots of advice to help you get an idea of which one would be right for you. Also make sure you check out the entry requirements before you apply, to make sure they’re at an achievable level for you.


Sign up for our newsletters
Each month we send newsletters that cover a number of topics, such as helping you find that right place to study, advice on how to search for courses, and information about attending open days and events. Sign up now!

Attend an open day
Open days are the best way to learn more about a university. They offer you the chance to meet the staff and current students, who’ll be on hand to answer any questions you may have!

Check out our blog post on how you can make the most of your visit to an open day. (link to follow)

Download our app
Our app is full of info about the application process, including advice on student life, tips on finding the right course, details about any upcoming events, and much, much more! Download it now from the App Store or Google play.

If you’ve got any questions about applying, check out all the info on our website or get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What's it like at a music conservatoire?

If you’re thinking of studying at a conservatoire there are many things to consider before you apply. advice to get you started but in this blog post we get an inside look at applying to a conservatoire and of conservatoire life from Charlotte Stevenson, who studies at Leeds College of Music.
We’ve got lots of

What has been the most enriching part of studying at a conservatoire?

Being able to access resources that allowed me to open up my own knowledge has been one of the most enriching parts of studying at music college. Most of my hours are individual tuition based, so being able to teach myself has been a huge part of picking up skills such as proof reading and elements of music business – the resources such as the library and practice room were what allowed me to do this.

What made you decide to study at a conservatoire over a university?

Conservatoire education is more performance-based than a university and, although I admire the academic side to music, especially essay writing, I thought that the conservatoire path was better for me as a musician because it meant there was more balance between the types of classes I would have. The performance part of music is the most important element for me, so this was something I wanted to keep to as much as possible.

What are the key differences between a conservatoire and a university? 

As I previously mentioned, there is less performance time with a university. But this can be really useful for composers or future composers or music journalists as it means that there is more time to practice and cater for that sort of skill. This is the main difference, and branches off into other aspects – such as, conservatoires are very close-knit communities because there are not as many students as in a much bigger university; so in some ways it can feel more like a very big family, whereas with a university there is the comfort of an environment much closer in similarity to sixth form because of the range of societies and topics studied there.

Talk us through the audition day – a little of the emotion and a little of the practicalities

I auditioned for four music schools in total, one of them being a university. The day I auditioned at Leeds College of Music was my first audition of all. I remember that because I was nervous, my throat was dry and my heart was racing – I thought there was no way I was going to get in because everyone else got their short study score earlier than I did. But it actually went really well because once I was in the audition room, the habits took over. Practicing a lot meant that the muscle memory set in and the Italian libretto was just there already without me needing to think. When they interviewed me after the audition, they looked at my personal statement and noticed I mentioned Shostakovich symphony 5 which they questioned me on and asked me to sing the beginning of the third movement, so I did. They laughed and, when I asked why, told me it was because they hadn't expected me to actually do that. I still maintain in hind sight that this was the biggest moment of my first impression in relation to the scholarship because I had proof that I was a researched student.

Talk us through the thoughts and emotions of being accepted

Being accepted, especially with the excellence scholarship, was surprisingly not a relief at all at first. I was thrilled – but even more anxious than prior because now that I was accepted I had to get the grades. But mainly being accepted gave me the motivation to carry on working hard and making plans for the future because focusing on that factor too much made it seem surreal to me. It was the best and worst moment of my life all at once – that was how it felt.

If you could sum your whole conservatoire experience up in one sentence, what would it be?

Something I would never have expected that made me realise music is about far more than what you can learn in a class room, it is what you learn from your experiences and how you interpret that as an individual.

What would you say to someone nervously considering applying?

Make sure you are thorough in finding out about what you want: attending open days, looking at university websites, keeping a diary about the whole experience. Knowing yourself inside out is difficult at this age, because the future still seems a little intimidating and far away, but by knowing what it is you want you will be able to prepare yourself the best you can for the transition. And if you are nervous, just remember that you don't only get one chance – if things go great, then this is wonderful. But if things don't go as great as you planned, then with time and work, they will. The best thing you can do is to break the ice and apply because once you have the options before you, it will be easier to weigh up which is the best course of action for you.

Want to know more about studying at a conservatoire? Check out all the information on our website or ask us a question on Facebook or Twitter.

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

We send out monthly newsletters with timely advice so you can support your son or daughter with their application. They cover a wide range of topics such as completing the application form, offering support at open days, help on finance and much more – sign up now!

Video guides

We have a selection of videos to help you get to grips with various stages of the application process, but we also have a selection of videos just for parents which offer support on a multiple topics.
video video
The UCAS website

There’s a whole section of our website dedicated to helping parents. Covering everything from the application process to open days.

Parent guide

Download our PDF guide (it’s also available in Welsh) to help you navigate through the UCAS process. It’ll help you familarise yourself with the glossary of terms we use and offer you support from starting the application process all the way through to when your son or daughter starts uni.

Financial advice

One of the biggest concerns you may have will be the financial support available. We have lots of advice to answer your questions. Whether it’s the financial support on offer, how to afford to send your child to uni, or how to help them manage their money while at uni, we've got it covered!

Social media channels

Finally, we regularly post useful advice and updates on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 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.