The UCAS website has masses of information on it about the application process, course information, university information, events, student finance, careers and more. It’s a really good place to start with your decision making.
Make sure you familiarise yourself with the UCAS timeline so you know what timescales you’re working to https://www.ucas.com/ucas/events/find/type/key-date?keywords=. This is important as different courses and universities have different timescales.
Good parts of the UCAS website to check out:
· How to choose and course and university https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/what-where-study
· Open days and events https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/what-and-where-study/events-and-open-days
· Subject information https://www.ucas.com/explore
· The application process https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-to-university
· What to expect after you’ve applied https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/after-you-apply
· Student Finance https://www.ucas.com/money
The UCAS Bootham handbook can be found here
There are lots of independent guides and resources to help you make your decisions. Some of these can be found below:
· Information to help make informed choices about higher education decisions www.theuniguide.co.uk
· Independent UK university rankings and course information and advice https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/
· Help to decide which is the right place for you www.Whatuni.com
There’s a wealth of resources available to help students navigate their career choices and pursue subject areas of interest. Below is a list of some which you might find useful.
· The University of Oxford’s “Home of the Big Question”. This site tackles complex ideas on a range of subjects and aims to realise aspirations, promote broader thinking and stimulate intellectual curiosity https://oxplore.org/
· Resources and Information for students thinking about applying to top universities Staircase 12 https://www.univ.ox.ac.uk/applying-to-univ/staircase12/
· A huge choice of online learning programmes https://www.mooc-list.com/ There's a lot of choice so look for ones which appeal most to you and check that they are free
· A huge range of online talks www.ted.com
· Here you’ll find podcasts and videos on a wide range of subjects www.bbc.co.uk/sounds
· On line short courses https://www.futurelearn.com/
· Explore your subject area beyond the curriculum with super curricular resources from Cambridge univesity https://www.myheplus.com/
· A wide range of programmes to download for free BBC Podcasts https://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts
Study skills and Presentations
At Bootham we use Unifrog as a tool to help students explore their career options, look at courses and to gather and record all the information needed to make applications to university or employment. If you apply to university you can also use it to write your UCAS personal statement, and to get feedback from your tutors. You will need your Unifrog log in details to access your account. Once logged in to Unifrog you will find subject information, career information and a know-how library with lots of advice and information. These are all accessed from https://www.unifrog.org/student/home but you’ll need to sign in first. You can also search for university courses, filtering for ones which interest you.
You can also find lots of MOOCs on here (massive open online courses) which are a great way of trying out a subject area, or doing further learning about your chosen subject. You can take personality tests or quizzes too, if you’re unsure of where to start with narrowing down your options. There’s information about apprenticeships, universities in Europe or further afield.
Universities are hoping to hold in person open days in 2022. Open days are generally held between Easter and Autumn of the year before you are due to start university. Check individual university websites for details, or visit opendays.com https://www.opendays.com/
If you don't get to attend an open day before you apply, most universities who make you an offer will invite you to an interview or to an offer holders event, sometimes called an applicant day or a visit day.
Below is a small list of open days for some of the universities often popular with Bootham students.
University of Birmingham www.birmingham.ac.uk/opendays
University of Bristol www.bristol.ac.uk/opendays/
University of Cambridge https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/events/cambridge-open-days
University of Durham https://www.dur.ac.uk/study/ug/visit/
University of Edinburgh www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/open-days-events-visits
University of Essex www.essex.ac.uk/study/ug/open-days.aspx
University of Exeter www.exeter.ac.uk/undergraduate/visiting/opendays/
University of Glasgow www.glasgow.ac.uk/openday
University of Hull http://www.hull.ac.uk/opendays
Imperial College London www.imperial.ac.uk/study/ug/visit/open-days/
University of Lancaster www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/open-days/
Leeds Beckett www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/undergraduate/open-days
University of Leeds www.leeds.ac.uk/opendays
University of the Arts London www.arts.ac.uk/open-days
University of Manchester www.manchester.ac.uk/undergraduate/opendays/
Manchester Metropolitan University www.mmu.ac.uk/openday
Newcastle University www.ncl.ac.uk/openday/
Northumbria University https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/openday
University of Oxford https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/virtual-open-day
Oxford Brooks University www.brookes.ac.uk/open-day
University of Sheffield www.shef.ac.uk/opendays/
Many universities offer campus tours which are much briefer than an open day but are still a good way to find out more about a particular university you might be interested in. Check individual university websites for more details.
Fairs, subject sessions and events
06/07/22 @ 10am-6pm
International Student University Day - event for international students BSA 28/09/22 @ 10.30-4.30pm Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the booking National Apprenticeship Show 05-06/10/22 https://www.nationalapprenticeshipshow.org/
University information and advice
How to smash your Maths, engineering or computing personal statement
11/07/12/07/22 @ 3pm
12/07/22 @ 3pm
How to smash your personal statement for creative courses
13/07/22 @ 3pm
How to smash your social sciences, humanities or teaching personal statement
14/07/22 @ 3pm
Stand out from the crowd: 15 October deadline personal statement tips
15/07/22 @ 3pm
Step into Bath 2 night residential
University of Bath
Subject talks and tasters
Range of subject residentials Lancaster University July 2022 https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/widening-participation/access/summer-schools/
Biological Sciences Summer School (online)
University of Leeds
Young professionals conference (Business, Law, Tech, Engineering, Accountancy) Young Professionals 07/07/22 12-5pm https://young-professionals.uk/events/young-professionals-conference-london---queen-elizabeth-ii-centre-westminster-thursday-th-july/62726e0a6517a65cb02299b4/ Nuclear and Radiochemistry summer school University of Leeds 11-14/07/22 https://www.cinch-project.eu/news-amp-events
Food Science and Nutrition Summer School
University of Leeds
06/07/22 @ 10am-6pm
Maths/Engineering Summer Schools
PWC Virtual Insight Week PWC 25-29/07/22 https://www.pwc.co.uk/careers/student-careers/school-careers/our-programmes/insight-weeks.html
Search for uni events
Uni Taster days
Degrees to save the world webinars
University of Southampton
Interactive online taster sessions
On demand sessions
Videos about studying in the UK Studentstream On demand https://www.studentstream.co.uk/
University guidance videos including subject and skills development
Uni Taster Days
Large range of on demand subject sessions
University information and guidance videos
University of Sheffield
US College Essay Writing Workshop
31/08/22 @ 11am-12.30pm
Parents and guardians
Parents guide to university 2022
University of Keele
Training and Apprenticeships
Accounting, Technology and Business Management degree apprenticeships
Engineering, IT and Finance apprenticeships
How to choose
How to choose a course and university (when you can’t attend open days)
There are over 50,000 courses on offer in the UK at nearly 400 different providers including universities, colleges, private providers etc. There are also options available elsewhere in Europe and further afield. You can study one subject (single honours) or two (joint honours). You can study full time or part time. Many courses have the chance to study abroad, complete work placements or do a whole year in industry or in the workplace (known as a sandwich courses).
With so many choices available it can be hard to know how to narrow down your options. We strongly suggest visiting some universities towards the end of College 1, over the summer and at the start of College 2. Details will be on university websites or visit www.opendays.com where you can search by university. If you miss an open day then lots of universities have pre recorded sessions and you can watch sessions in your own time.
Universities are also coming up with lots of other ways for prospective students to find out more about them. This includes:
· On line webinars, tasters and masterclasses
· Q and A sessions
· On line chat with current students
· On line videos
· Online short courses
· Virtual accommodation and campus tours
· Online personal statement workshops and interview skills sessions
· Student vlogs
· Parent phone calls
· Online summer schools
There are also careers fairs organised by UCAS https://www.ucas.com/ucas/events/find/type/exhibition?layout=list. UK University Search also hold fairs https://www.ukuniversitysearch.com/
Things to think about when making your decisions
You might want to use league table to start to narrow down your choices. There are a few different league tables and they differ as to what they take into account for rankings but it generally includes student satisfaction rates (for teaching and assessment and feedback) career prospects, research information, expenditure per student, completion rates, entry requirement and student experience. This is a useful article to explain how league tables work https://bridge-u.com/blog/university-league-tables/
Type of university
You might have heard of the Russell Group. This is a group of 24 UK research intensive universities. Some students limit their choices to universities within this group. There’s the University Alliance group which are technical and professional universities who focus heavily on practical experience. The Million+ group are a more modern group of universities focusing on economic, social and cultural change.
Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF)
This measures teaching, learning and student outcomes. Providers are awarded gold, silver or bronze ratings for the University as a whole (it doesn't differ from course to course).
Scholarships & Bursaries
These will differ depending on what course you are looking at and which universities you are applying to. Check individual university websites for more information.
This might include the library, sports facilities, IT facilities, students’ union, lecture theatres, planned investment, facilities for students with additional needs and specialist facilities but think about what’s important to you. This could be particularly important if you’re studying a practical degree subject.
Graduate destination statistics
Most universities have information about this on their website or you can find it out through league tables.
Student Support Services
All universities will have a level of student support (inducing financial support advice, wellbeing, disability support, dyslexia support, care leavers support, counselling, faith support etc) but some universities will focus on this more and place it at the heart of the student experience.
This includes distance to home, travel links and ease of getting around, big city or smaller town, rural or urban, location of university accommodation.
This includes size of student population, number of students on your chosen course, staff to student ratio for your subject and size of campus.
This includes location, size, distance to university, price, facilities, contract length, en-suite or shared facilities, security, catering etc.
You might also want to consider the reputation for your subject area, module choice, whether the course is accredited by any professional bodies, size of your student cohort, application methods and interview methods, graduate destinations, number of applications per place, contact hours, industry links, work placements etc. There’s an enormous amount of choice so key to making the right decision is starting your research early and allowing yourself enough time.
Student finance can be divided up into two parts: tuition fees and living costs. Tuition fees are currently a maximum of £9,250 for UK full-time students. Normally these increase in line with inflation and are set by the government. Fees for non UK students vary and can be found on university course pages. Tuition fee loans, to cover the full cost of your course, are available for most UK students and are paid directly to the course provider. You won’t have to pay it back until after you finish your course, when you’re earning above a certain level. When you do start to repay it takes the form of monthly repayments, the level of which depends on how much you earn.
The other costs you’ll need to cover are living costs. This includes accommodation, food, travel and other general living expenses. Maintenance loans to cover these costs can be applied for at the same time as a tuition fee loan, lending you money at the start of each term (or monthly in Scotland). How much you get depends on a range of factors including:
household income Students from lower income backgrounds are eligible for more – this is often referred to as ‘means-tested’ finance, and requires parents/guardians to provide evidence of their income
where you study Students moving away from home to study in London receive more
The current maintenance loan, if you’re not studying in London and you don’t live with your parents, is a maximum of £9,488.
Students can also apply for grants if they’re eligible for certain benefits, disabled, or need help with childcare costs. Grants do not have to be repaid. It’s also worth looking into additional funding, in the form of scholarships, bursaries, and grants. These don’t have to be paid back either, and are awarded based on different criteria, from excelling in your subject area, getting top A level grades or excelling in extra- curricular activities. Details of these can be found on individual university websites.
Most university websites will have pages dedicated to student finance and funding. On them you’ll find general information and also information specific to that particular university. The sites below have general information.
· An overview of student finance and how to apply for funding www.gov.uk/student-finance
· Managing money, scholarships, grants, bursaries and fees https://www.ucas.com/money
· Scholarships and bursaries for university study https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/grants-education/
· Information about fees and living costs, grants and loans and discussion boards and forums https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/student-finance/
. Undergraduate Student Finance step by step information https://www.gov.uk/get-undergraduate-student-loan
Subject and university information
In an apprenticeship you will get on-the-job experience whilst also getting paid. There are hundreds of different apprenticeships to choose from. You’ll normally spend about 80% of the week working at your place of employment and 20% at your place of study. You’ll earn a salary, and your course fees will be covered by your employer and the government. You need to be willing and able to manage your time between work and study. An apprenticeship can be a debt free route to a qualification. The rate of pay can vary according to the level of apprenticeship, your age, your sector and your employer.
There are many different apprenticeships you can apply for depending on your existing qualifications across a broad range of different industries. There are four levels of apprenticeship available:
Intermediate - Equivalent to five GCSE passes at A* to C
Advanced - Equivalent to two A level passes
Higher – Equivalent to foundation degree, Higher National Diploma, NVQ Level 4
Degree – Equivalent to bachelor’s or master’s degree. Takes 3-6 years.
For some apprenticeships you apply directly to the employer and for others apply through the National Apprenticeship Service.
More information is available at https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/# and https://www.ucas.com/understanding-apprenticeships
- Phoenix Space Launchpad Challenge - space project in teams of three https://phoenixspace.org/academic-competition/
- Trinity College Cambridge School Essay prizes in Law, English Literature, Politics History, Philosophy and Linguistics https://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/essay-prizes/
Oxford and Cambridge
Tips and advice from a Bootham student who has recently been successful in securing a place on Experimental Psychology at Oxford
A lot of the colleges have their own prospectuses so take a look at these. They are often written by current students and give an unofficial view of life at that college. Some other useful documents can be found below.
- Applying to Oxford and Cambridge
- Making a competitive application
- Student Experience
- Student Support
Live pre recorded Q&A sessions
- Making a competitive application
- Student Experience
- Student Support
The University's HE+ website www.myheplus.com provides resources for sixth form students to explore their subject(s) of interest beyond their current curriculum.
This is a useful link for parents https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/find-out-more/teachers-and-parents
Cambridge Students' Union manage the alternative prospectus website www.applytocambridge.com which includes an 'Ask a Student' facility for each course and College.
Subject based admissions webinars and live subject Q and As. Dates not available for 2022 yet but past subjects have included Chemical Engineering, Philosophy & Theology, History of Art, Law, Economics, Natural Sciences, Human, Social and Political Science, Engineering, History, Medicine) https://www.dow.cam.ac.uk/outreach/subject-admissions-webinars for recordings of past events.
St John's College
View past sessions focussing on areas from Choosing your University Subject through to Study Skills and Careers sessions. More information here https://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/link-area-webinar-programme
YouTube Channel Videos about studying at Cambridge and the application process https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqQCkyaJ_z8q8DwnlbykO7A/featured
Sidney Sussex YouTube Channel
• An Introduction to Cambridge: These sessions are an introduction to how Cambridge works as a University and provides an overview of how the application process works for students who are currently at a UK school. They are designed for students in Y12 who are planning to apply in Autumn 2022 for entry in Autumn 2023 (or deferred 2024). The sessions typically last 60-75 minutes. The content of the sessions is the same so please only book one.
o Tuesday 31st May, 5pm-6.15pm: sign up here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hJyXAoOERciBoCx3v30Eyg
• Personal Statement Workshop: While the UCAS deadline may feel like it’s a long way off, it’s never too early to start preparing to write your personal statement. In this workshop we will introduce all aspects of the personal statement: what things to include, how to structure it and what universities are looking for when they read your personal statement. This session is for students planning to make an application in Autumn 2022 for entry in October 2023 (or deferred 2024). These sessions typically last 75-90 minutes. The content of these sessions is the same, so please only book one.
o Tuesday 24th May, 5pm-6.15pm: sign up here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_U1Jxpx09RnqxG2eGNYOwBw
o Wednesday 8th June, 5pm-6.15pm: sign up here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CaCMKWYVRW2nGX2Xg6eaMw
Sign up to the Choosing Oxford newsletter here http://newsletter.admin.ox.ac.uk/k/Ouc/undergraduate_admissions_and_outreach_news
Sign up to the Oxplore newsletter https://oxplore.org/ Oxplore is a digital resource from the University of Oxford. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’, it aims to challenge those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom. Big questions tackle complex ideas across a wide range of subjects and reflect the kind of critical thinking students undertake at university.
Details of talks and workshops can be found here: Oxford outreach calendar: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/increasing-access/events-calendar
- Mansfield virtual open day playlist (includes subject intros):
- Oxford University
- Applying to Oxford
- Videos about student societies:
- Isolation conversation: https://www.mansfield.ox.ac.uk/isolationconversation
- Explore your subject: https://www.mansfield.ox.ac.uk/explore-your-subject
- Applying to Oxford and Cambridge