So this post is specifically aimed at current college students at UCB. If, like me, you’re in your last year of college and you’re wondering whether to go into jobs, apprenticeships or internships, there is still another possibility: university!
So when looking at university, there are a couple of things you need to consider first.
Where… Where you’re going to study.
What …What you’re going to study.
Who… Who you need to talk to.
How… How you can apply.
When…When you’ll go.
The where is a lot easier for UCB students above a lot of college students or sixth form students as we already go to a university. So there is firstly the major option of staying at UCB. But, if going to university signals a change (e.g. new town, new friends, new environment…) there is the option to look at courses elsewhere. One of the most helpful things I found was attending the UCAS event at the NEC, Birmigham, where university across the country send representatives to talk to and prospectuses to peruse. This is a great thing to look at if your struggling with the where.
The what depends on what you’re currently studying and what degree progression options there are for your field. So for example, for me, as a chef my main two options (ignoring nutrition and product development etc. for the minute) were the FDA Professional Cookery degree and the Culinary Arts Management degree. So the main advice I would give about the what is to do tonnes of research, the more research the better! It’s about gathering everything relevant in order to pool resources to make an informed decision concerning your future.
The who comes down to three main categories: professionals, lecturers and peers. So what I mean by professionals is that UCB, for example, hires people whose job it is to give you impartial careers advice. I can personally vouch for this as a service as I went to hired when I first started looking at the university process. My first suggestion is before you start anything book an appointment (which can be done online through the portal) and have a 20-minute meeting about what your plans and ambitions are and get some careers advice. The second category is lecturers, since chances are wherever you’re planning to go to university, you already know or could easily get in contact with your university lecturers. These are by far the best people to talk to as they know the course better than anybody else. Another way of finding out about the course is to talk to current or past students. The best thing about this option is the advice you’re getting will be from a student’s perspective which will help with understanding how the everyday life of being a student works.
How is next. The main way of applying for university is through UCAS, where you pay to select five universities you wish to apply to, and then find out via the UCAS website whether or not they have given you an offer. Although a brilliant system, it is possibly the LONGEST thing I’ve ever attempted in my entire life. Also, personal statement writing is hard! So if you’re a college student and planning to do a degree at UCB instead of going through the long process of UCAS it’s probably easier to go through a direct application whereby you apply to the course you want to do by going to the Admissions office. The Admissions office at UCB is on the 1st floor and if you go in and say you want to do a direct application, they are so helpful and friendly. Applying isn’t a long process; it only took me about 10 minutes.
When to go to university is a massive question. A lot of teenagers nowadays opt to go on a gap year and see the world before going to university. One of my friends has been accepted into university but is deferring for a year to have a gap year. This is always an option as most universities will allow you to defer your offer for a year. However, if, like me, you’re planning to go straight from college to university, I’ll see you in September!
So when thinking about and applying to university remember the Where, What, Who, How and When and hopefully you’ll be all ready for September!