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University Life

My guide to all things university

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September 2014

Accommodation: Don’t hate the place you live

Accommodation probably isn’t too high up on your list of things when it comes to university: sure, you’ll have a look around on the open day but don’t really think about again. However, it’s important to think about these things. Yes, the course content is one of the most important things, but where you’re going to live is too.

You need to decide if you want to live in halls in your first year (a cheaper option and a good way of meeting people), live at home (home cooked meals are always a bonus) or find a flat (a bit more expensive). Do you want an en-suit?  Catered or uncatered? How much will it cost?

All universities will have a range of accommodation for all price ranges, but don’t expect any of them to be particularly cheap. Have a look online at the different accommodation if you forgot to have a look when you were there or if you just need a reminder. If you plan to go to an open day remember to look at the accommodation, you could even take a few pictures of the open rooms (after all any pictures the unis have on their sites are going to be the best side).

Also, take a look at when you can start applying for accommodation: for some universities you can do this once you’ve accepted an offer, others you have to wait for a certain date.

If it helps make a list of all the things you’re going to have to get sorted for university: which course, accommodation, student finance, the things you’ll need to take: you don’t want to turn up to freshers with no pots and pan, no money and hating the place you plan to spend the next 3 years!

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Pesky Personal Statement

To be honest personal statements are probably the only really bad thing about UCAS, so here are some links that should help you:
http://www.ucas.com/sites/default/files/personal-statement-full-size_0.pdf
http://www.ucas.com/sites/default/files/ucas-personal-statement-worksheet.pdf
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/9566143/Personal-statement-10-most-overused-opening-sentences.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationadvice/9888747/University-education-how-to-write-a-personal-statement.html
http://ucasonline.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/personal-statements-universities-tell.html

Let’s talk UCAS applications

So I ordered all the prospectuses (and I mean ALL of them), I went to the open days and I researched online. I was organised, I had lots of information, I knew what I was doing… then I set up my UCAS account.

  • Have all the information you need to fill out lots of online forms – you’ll need to know what grades you got for GCSE and AS level, as well as the grades for the AS level modules. This is important, you didn’t spend weeks revising and stressing to mess up your chances of going to university with silly admin mistakes.
  • Take your time – UCAS allows you to save whenever you want and come back to things. Do it all in one go or over a period of days, it doesn’t matter as long as it gets done in the end.
  • Speaking of deadlines… know them! If you’re applying to Oxford or Cambridge, or intending to do a dentistry, medical or veterinary course your UCAS deadline is before everyone else! If you don’t know your deadlines get ask a teacher. Remember colleges and sixth forms will most likely have their own internal deadlines, but if you need more time don’t let these pressure you.
  • Ask for help for anything you are unsure about, there are some questions when you initially create an account before the application stage that you might find strange, ask someone for help or there’s always Google.
  • Don’t be afraid to make decisions – you can avoid filling out which universities and courses all you like, (I did), but those deadlines are lurking just around the corner; this is your future, reach out and grab it.

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