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The exam results are out! Guide to confirmation and clearing 2010

It’s A-level results day and you finally found out what grades you’ve achieved! You’ll probably be eager to find out if you’ve got into your chosen university course. If you have access to the internet, you’ll be able to check your applicant status from today (19th August) via UCAS Track. Alternatively, you can telephone the university directly.

If you’ve met the conditions of your offer – great! If not, don’t panic, as in some circumstances the admissions tutor may still decide to confirm your offer if you have only narrowly missed the conditions of your offer. If you haven’t met the conditions and find that you are no longer holding an offer, be prepared to contact universities to find out about vacancies through clearing.

What if you haven’t got the grades you were hoping for? Here we look at potential scenarios for applicants who may not have met the conditions of their offers and explore what action they could consider taking.

Contact the University

First of all, try not to stress. If you have narrowly missed the conditions of your offer, the university may still be able to offer you a place if the Admissions Tutor agrees to this. The Tutor’s final decision may be dependent upon how many other applicants holding conditional offers have met their conditions and whether any vacancies remain on the course.

If you’ve missed the conditions of your offer by a larger margin, there may still be a possibility of being accepted onto your chosen course or you may be offered an alternative course by the university. This is very much at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor and you should understand that there’s no guarantee that if you’ve not met the conditions of your offer that the university will still be able to accept you.

In either instance, once you know your results you can contact the university to discuss them. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner you can find out what’s happening with your place. Continue reading The exam results are out! Guide to confirmation and clearing 2010

Think to the future: gaining advantage through experience at university

There are a plethora of things to consider when looking at university course options. Amongst the questions of which subject to go for, which university to study at, whether to study full or part-time and how much is it all going to cost comes another incredibly important factor to consider: how exactly will this course help me with my future aspirations?

If you have a particular career in mind, you may well be looking at a degree which is directly related to that career or one which provides relevant skills and knowledge to enable you to prepare for entering a particular industry or field. If you’re more flexible in considering post-degree career options, you may still wish to consider transferable skills you could develop whilst at university that will make your CV shine.

Industrial placements, work experience, simulated situations and extra-curricular activities all have a part to play in helping students to develop their skills and knowledge and are all worthy of consideration when looking at university and course options. Continue reading Think to the future: gaining advantage through experience at university

Mature Students: An Overview of Applying for a University Course

Many students who enter Higher Education do so at a later stage in their lives. There are many reasons why they didn’t enter HE study after they finished their education – they chose a different career path, they may not have had the financial means to study at the time, they may have had other commitments or raised a family or they may not have thought that studying at university was for them at the time. However, it’s never too late to take up an undergraduate course.

It can feel like a minefield when setting out on the path to applying for a course. Whilst prospective students who may be studying for A-levels tend to receive a lot of support for applying to university from their college, mature students don’t always have the same level of access to information and advice. Many universities, like Birmingham City University, have dedicated staff who can help with any questions mature students have about applying for their courses – our Choices department has a dedicated adviser who can help with queries made in person, by email or by phone.

We’ve put together a few key points for mature students to consider to help try and make sense of the process and what sort of things to consider if you’re a mature prospective student and are thinking about applying for a university course. Continue reading Mature Students: An Overview of Applying for a University Course

Mathematics and English requirements for Higher Education courses

University course entry requirements often stipulate that prospective students will need to have suitable qualifications and grades in mathematics and English in addition to other entry requirements for their courses. In UK institutions, GCSEs may be specified as the minimum required level although certain university courses may require a higher level qualification for entry onto particular courses.

Alternative qualifications, such as Key Skills qualifications, can sometimes be considered in lieu of GCSEs but this is very much dependent upon the university and course, so prospective students should endeavour to check individual entry requirements before considering undertaking any alternative qualifications. For example, teacher training courses have requirements for English and mathematics (and for Primary Education and Early Years courses Science) which are very specific. Key Skills qualifications are not appropriate in this instance, so it’s essential that those wishing to apply for a teacher training course have appropriate qualifications in these areas.

Prospective students whose first language isn’t English often have to demonstrate other appropriate English language qualifications or achieve specific scores or grades in tests such as IELTS or TOEFL. There are potentially a wide range of qualifications that could be considered in this instance, but it’s important that clarification is sought with individual institutions as to their policies on this.  

These core requirements depend on the university’s individual entry requirement policies, so the golden rule is that you should always check with the institutions you’re thinking about applying to in order to find out exactly what qualifications you will need to offer in advance of signing up for them.

Student Finance

If you’re a home student planning on studying on a full- or part-time undergraduate course at university this September, you’ll need to apply for financial support to determine your eligibility and individual support package. Eligibility for certain elements of support is usually assessed on your household income, so it’s important that you apply for assessment well in advance of the course start date so that you are able to plan ahead.

Standard student support arrangements can include loans for fees and living costs and a maintenance grant*. For more information about funding for the 2009/10 academic year, visit the Direct website. 

You can apply online for student support at Student Finance Direct or download a form to complete. Further information is available from your Local Authority or by visiting www.studentfinancedirect.co.uk. Through this application you can be assessed for eligibility for tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and a maintenance grant. Many universities also offer a bursary to their students, with each university determining its own policy with regard to how bursary money is allocated to eligible students. You should contact individual institutions to enquire about their particular University Bursary arrangements.

For more information about fees and finance for Birmingham City University courses, please visit our website.

Students from EU countries can find out more about funding by visiting the section about funding for EU students on the Direct.gov.uk website.

*Please note that those who will be studying on NHS-funded degree or diploma courses have different funding arrangements and are advised to consult www.nhsstudentgrants.co.uk for information about this.

Forthcoming Subject Specific Open Days – November and December

If you missed the chance to visit Birmingham City University at one of our main open days, a number of our faculties will be holding subject specific open days throughout the academic year. Information about confirmed dates is updated periodically on our website at http://www.bcu.ac.uk/opendays/faculty/.

Many courses also offer the opportunity for prospective students to attend a visit day once they have applied to us. Subjects such as Media and Communication and undergraduate Education courses don’t have specific subject open days but can offer these opportunities for applicants to visit at an appropriate point in the admissions process.

  Continue reading Forthcoming Subject Specific Open Days – November and December

Thinking About Studying for a Part-time Course?

Over recent years, part-time study has become more appealing to a large number of people. Increased interest generated by employers’ staff development needs and individuals’ desires to further themselves educationally at various stages of their lives has seen Higher Education course providers move to offer more flexible study modes in addition to their full-time course provision to respond to this need.Part-time courses can range from short practical courses, professional qualifications and vocational studies through to academic courses at bachelors and masters degree level. Some courses may allow students to prepare for a change in their career or enhance their current one. Students may be able to study on a day release basis, in the evenings or at weekends depending on the course itself.

The benefits of part-time study mean that students with other commitments – whether work or family – have greater opportunities to access courses which accommodate these more effectively.

Funding part-time study

Financially, many part-time courses are more cost effective than full-time study in terms of actual fee amounts charged and the ability to pay for the course over a longer period of time. Some students may be able to gain funding from their employer if the course they are studying is relevant to their professional development and their employer agrees to this. Other students may be able to gain support for funding for eligible courses via their Local Education Authority. Continue reading Thinking About Studying for a Part-time Course?

Birmingham City University Open Days – October 3rd & 4th

Birmingham City University will be opening its doors to prospective students who are planning to apply for courses commencing in 2009 when its main open days take place next month.

The open days will be taking place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th October provide a great opportunity to find out more about the full range of undergraduate courses on offer here at the university. With staff on hand to talk to enquirers about our courses and scheduled talks, subject workshops and tours happening throughout the day, prospective students can access as much information as they need to help them weigh up their university choices before making an application.

For more information please visit the open days section of the university’s website. To ensure you receive further details about the open day schedules before the event, you’re welcome to pre-register online.

Please call Choices on 0121 331 5595 if you have any questions about these upcoming events or would like to talk to us about your course options.