What to consider…

The higher education you choose can have a large impact on the career you follow and your success in obtaining fulfilling or well paid work. More immediately you will have to live with your choice for the next few years. Make sure you think carefully about what you want from your higher education experience so that you are choosing what will suit you and give you the qualifications and experience you are looking for.

Make sure you think about…

  • Why you want to go to university and what you want from the experience
  • How much direct teaching you want
  • How much it will cost
  • Is an apprenticeship right you?

Why do you want to go to university/complete an apprenticeship

To study a subject further because you are interested in it?

You may wish to look for courses where the staff are experts and the department has high research ratings. Beware: these staff may not always be available to you, particularly in your first and second year, as they will be busy with research and more advanced students. Look also at teaching quality assessments. These will let you know how your course is taught.

To gain advanced vocational qualifications?

Check the destinations of previous students on the course. Did the majority of them go into employment in the area you are considering? If you are considering a career where particular qualifications are required check that your course is acceptable. Beware: Degrees in subjects linked to the name of a career do not always provide a good route into that career. Try to find out how employers view the course.

To make yourself more employable?

Look for courses with access to work experience or sandwich placements. Try to find out the attitude of the university towards students arranging their own paid or unpaid work experience. Look for part time or voluntary work in an area that will provide the skills you need for a future career.

To have fun?

Look at what students say about the university. Find out what clubs or societies are available. Look at where the university is located. Do you want to be on a campus meeting only other students, or do you want to be in the middle of a big city with access to a range of amenities.

How much direct teaching do you want? – Can you learn independently?

Try to find out how many hours of tuition you can expect in your subject.

The less tuition you receive the more organised and self-motivating you need to be.

Be realistic about yourself. If you need external motivation to make you work, or you would like regular contact with staff to check your work is going in the right direction do not choose a course with a low amount of contact time.

You will normally be looking for at least 12 hours a week. Less than this and you are likely to be expected to produce a high level of work independently with minimal direction.

How much will it cost?

Look at where the university is.

Try to find out the costs of accommodation and the general cost of living…

Are there any grants / scholarships / sponsorship programmes available?

Does the university provide help with finding part time work?

Do you currently have a job you want to keep?
This will limit the universities you can apply to. Check that you are being realistic about whether you can fit your work in around the course.

If financial considerations are putting you off studying, have you considered part time study, or taking a job where the employer offers the chance to study for a degree alongside your work?

Look at apprenticeship locators

Finding more information…

For more information take a look at the following websites:-

UCAS websiteThe Educational Grants Trust

Books…

The PUSH Guide to Which University, The Virgin Alternative Guide to British Universities The Student Book From Learning to Earning Students’ Money Matters The Virgin Guide to Courses for Careers

There are other books available so come and have a look (all available in sixth form common room library)

The Times’ Online University Guide

Confused? Ask for advice from…

  • Miss Pavitt – Careers
  • Mr Denison – Assistant Headteacher
  • Miss Mccabe – Head of Sixth Form
  • Your tutors and subject teachers