Tag Archives: advice

Q&A: Applying for a full-time degree through UCAS

A Choices’ course adviser answers some common questions about applying through UCAS.

What happens when I make an application through UCAS?

When you submit an online application to UCAS, UCAS forward a copy of your application to the institution or institutions to whom you have applied. Once your application has been received by an institution they start processing it in accordance with their admissions policies.

For some courses, the institution may make an offer on the basis of the information provided within the application. Other courses may require further selection stages, such as interviews, tests or a portfolio review. Once the appropriate selection process for the course has been completed, the institution will communicate their decision to you. You can check progress of your application through the UCAS Track online system.

I’m no longer taking all of the qualifications I listed on my application form. What should I do?

You should put this in writing to the University as soon as your academic profile has changed. The University needs this information to ensure that any decision made on the application is made using the most accurate information provided by the applicant. Should the university make a decision based on information which subsequently changes, the Admissions Tutor will need to review the application in light of the new information. If the changes to the academic profile mean that the applicant will not be able to meet the minimum entry requirements (or specified academic conditions if an offer has already been made) this will be taken into account when reviewing the application. Continue reading Q&A: Applying for a full-time degree through UCAS

Parent’s Guide | Part 7: The first few weeks at university

In the final part of our Parents’ Guide series, a Choices adviser looks at the initial period following your son or daughter starting their University course.

This is a time of adjustment for both you as a parent and your son or daughter. The silence at home will be an unusual sensation; the reduced need for ‘Dad’s/ Mum’s Cabs’ feels strange and you may be surprised at how much cheaper the weekly food shopping has suddenly become.

Your son or daughter may become homesick at some point. Being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people can be very unsettling. This is a totally normal and natural reaction by some students when they first join university. Acknowledge any concerns they have and be supportive, but try not to reinforce homesickness by encouraging them to return home at weekends – this will only serve to make them feel more isolated from university life. Part of the transition to university life away from home is a journey of self discovery, development and independence and it takes time to establish.

Continue reading Parent’s Guide | Part 7: The first few weeks at university

Parents’ Guide | Part 6: Arriving at University

So, you’ve got through the seemingly endless paperwork of university applications and student finance forms, you’ve done the rounds of university open days, you’ve experienced the nerve-wracking exam results day and now, quite possibly, feel as if you’ve spent a small fortune on kitting your son or daughter out in preparation for them starting their course. Without so much as a chance to catch your breath, the time’s suddenly here for your son or daughter to take the next step in their life.

Continue reading Parents’ Guide | Part 6: Arriving at University

Parents’ Guide | Part 5: The Final Checklist

Have you forgotten anything? Here are a few things you should act upon now if you’ve not already completed them:

  • Student finance forms completed?
  • Accommodation application completed?
  • Place confirmed?
  • Course commencement details received?
  • Exam certificates/ results received?
  • Accommodation confirmed?
  • Student bank account?
  • Insurance arranged?
  • TV licence acquired?
  • Basic living items purchased? (If living away from home)
  • Area map?
  • Student travel pass?
  • Money to tide your son or daughter over in case of delays in receiving their financial support?

Continue reading Parents’ Guide | Part 5: The Final Checklist

Parents’ Guide | Part 1: In advance – number crunching

In the first part of our Parents’ Guide series, a Choices adviser looks at sources of information you can use to find out more about funding options for undergraduate courses.

Looking at option for financial support to study a degree often seems like a jungle with loans for fees, loans and grants for maintenance and bursaries all forming elements that can help eligible students to meet the costs of living and studying whilst at university.

As a parent, the importance of exploring the full range of information about student financial support goes without saying. Here at Birmingham City University, dedicated staff can help you find out more about the options for funding courses we provide. Our course information and guidance centre, Choices, have a team of friendly, knowledgeable advisers who can provide information about potential sources of funding.

If you require more in-depth advice or information, Birmingham City University’s student financial advisers are on hand to talk to you about the full range of options available and entitlements to additional assistance. They also provide assistance to students whilst they’re studying with us, with support and advice in areas including basic money management skills, contacts for trusts and charities who may offer opportunities for student sponsorship and information about tax. For access to online information, please visit http://www.bcu.ac.uk/studentservices/studentfinance/index.html.

Student Finance England offer information and advice about support available for Higher Education courses. You can find out more at Direct.gov.uk.

Student charity, UniAid, not only provide advice and information about student finance but also provide a handy tool for calculating an idea of personal entitlements to student financial support. To get a better idea of how much help your son or daughter could receive, visit http://www.studentcalculator.org.uk/.

How to… decide which offer to accept

So you’ve received offers on your application choices. For some the decision of which one to accept is easy, but what if you’re still unsure of which one to accept? Is there anything you can do to help you make this important decision?

Have you had the opportunity to visit the universities you’ve applied to yet? If not, then why not contact them to find out if there are open days or visit days that you can attend. These events often provide a useful means of finding out more about the course you’ve applied to and the university environment itself. If the universities you’ve applied to are in other cities to your hometown, it also gives you the chance to have a look round the area and get a feel for whether it is somewhere that you’d like to spend the next three or four years!

Do you have any questions about the course that you feel you really need to ask before making your decision? Admissions Tutors and advice staff within universities are ready to help prospective students who need further information and help and understand the complexities faced when making such an important, and potentially life-changing, decision. Contact them – they’re there to help you and can provide you with additional information that may help you to weigh up your options. Here at Birmingham City University, the Choices team are here to help. Call us on 0121 331 5595 or email choices@bcu.ac.uk.

Access to Higher Education courses

If you’re thinking about studying for a degree but have been out of education for some time then it can be difficult to know where to start and who to turn to for advice. You may be worried that you don’t yet have the right qualifications to gain a place at university. Our advisers here at Choices can provide information on a wide range of routes into Higher Education. One of the routes most commonly recommended for mature students is an Access to Higher Education course.

Access courses are specifically designed for mature students. As well as offering an introduction to the subjects which can be studied at degree level, an Access course will introduce you to the study skills you’ll need at university, such as taking notes, writing essays and researching topics in the library or on the internet.

By the end of the course you’ll have gained all the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed in Higher Education as well as a recognised qualification equivalent to A level standard. Continue reading Access to Higher Education courses

How to… deal with those last minute pre-course worries

You’re due to start a course but the dreaded last minute doubts sometimes creep in for a whole host of reasons. Many people who are about to join a course may feel apprehensive as the time to start their studies draws nearer. It’s quite natural and totally understandable to feel like this as studying at university is a big step and can mean many changes for you.

Here, we talk about three typical last minute niggles and give you ideas about how to deal with them.

Worry 1: I’ll be away from home and won’t know anyone!

Studying at university may mean studying a new subject, moving away from home and will certainly mean meeting new people so can seem a little overwhelming! Try and remember that there will be many other people in exactly the same situation as yourself. Freshers’ Week takes place at the beginning of the academic year and is a great way for students to get together and meet each other in a social environment. The Students Union organises the event and you’ll usually also be introduced to the full range of social and sporting events, societies and activities on offer to students at the university during this time.

For some students, settling in at university seems to come as second nature; for others it may take some time to get used to the course, the city and student life away from the family home. Like anything new, starting university takes a certain amount of personal adjustment to accommodate the changes that come with it. Remember – you won’t be the first and certainly not the last person in this situation to feel like this! Talking to your friends, getting involved with student societies, sporting activities or social events, and establishing a routine for yourself can help to ease the transition. Continue reading How to… deal with those last minute pre-course worries

Top 10 Clearing Tips

Here at Choices we’ve helped thousands of students to explore their options and make the right decision about higher education. We work alongside clearing helpline staff and admissions tutors to help students find their way through the Clearing process and secure a place at university.

Here are our top ten tips for surviving Clearing and finding the course that’s right for you.

1 Don’t Panic!
If your exam results are not quite as good as you expected remember to keep calm; the right course for you may still be out there. There’s a good chance that you will be able to secure a place at university through Clearing. Last year over 30,000 (that’s around 1 in 5) university places were found through Clearing! You are certainly not alone and you have some excellent options awaiting you.

If you narrowly miss the grades you require you should check the status of your application on UCAS track before you start ringing universities to enquire about places on alternative courses through Clearing. In some cases if you are only a few UCAS tariff points short of the required grades the university may still be able to confirm your place, but this will be at the discretion of the admissions tutor. Continue reading Top 10 Clearing Tips