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Archive for the ‘university admissions’ Category

Help! Could my UCAS ‘application’ be rejected?

Monday, October 24th, 2016

There is nothing worse than failing at the last hurdle by not being offered a place at your desired university. On top of that, imagine the misery of being told you can’t sit the course you’ve set your heart on.

Sadly, it’s more common than you imagine. Just applying isn’t enough!

Given that many undergraduate course deadlines are mid January, take a serious look at how you can improve your personal statement – and your opportunities.

How to give your personal statement the WOW factor

Here’s a useful round-up of tips from current university lecturers and our own experienced tutors on what NOT to do:

Don’t sit on the fence. Applications for both engineering and medical courses, for instance, show a passion for neither.

Given that course leaders would be sceptical about a student’s motivations if they didn’t focus on a specific course, you could end up being rejected for both. Is it worth it?

Don’t name drop. My dad/mum is… Universities course leaders want to know about YOU – no-one else.

Research the specific course carefully to understand its structure, modules, choices. Start with online prospectuses. Look for links to more information.

The more you drill down into the course and pull out specifics, the more you will show a university lecturer you are genuinely interested and excited by the course.

Avoid clichés… Phrases such as, ‘From a young age I’ve been interested in…’ or ‘Ever since I was young..’ or ‘I’ve always been…’ don’t go down well. Instead, universities want to know what’s shaped your most recent experiences.

Avoid quotes. Universities have seen a deluge of applications starting with a quote. Many institutions see this as glib, and insincere. Instead focus on opening your statement with genuine enthusiasm.

Universities want to read about YOUR real passion for the subject – not tired phrases.

Edit and spell check. If your application is littered with spelling and grammar errors – as well as poor sentence structure – the message you’re giving to the reader is that you don’t care enough to write an accurate application.

Ask a close friend to to go through it for you, read the statement out loud, and then leave it for a while to revisit your writing with fresh eyes.

A level tuition and statement support

At 121 Home Tutors, you have the pick of the crop of A level tutors and teachers across Manchester and Cheshire:

  • History and politics PhD teacher with examining expertise – Altrincham, Didsbury, Wilmslow areas
  • Biology and Chemistry teacher covering Alderley Edge, Macclesfield, Sale, Urmston, Wilmslow,
  • English lang and Lit tutor coveringAltrincham, Didsbury, Sale, Stockport, Wilmslow
  • Business Studies and Economics teacher, HOD, exam marker
  • Maths and Modern Language private tutors

Get in touch today to discuss how one of our locally recommended tutors can help your youngster achieve.



Thinking about going to university?

Monday, August 10th, 2015

There’s been a lot of talk in the news over the summer regarding university education. Now that the government has replaced grants with loans, there’s much to think about. Many students worry about how to cover all their outgoings during a university course.

So with student debt on the rise, it helps to look at your options. Here are some facts about student finance for you right here.

What if you don’t do as well as you hoped?

If you’re waiting for your A level results this week, no doubt finance will be one consideration on your mind. Another worry that most students have is ‘Will I get enough points?’

Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan. Of course, if you achieve the grades you need this week, all you need to decide is which university place to take up – and then go and bag your place through UCAS.

If, however, your grades are down on what you expected, don’t lose heart. There are still plenty of options open to you – including a possible place at your first choice uni.

You can ring up your preferred university to ask their advice. Who knows, they might have a number of ‘changed course’ offers available, perhaps combining your initial course with another subject.

Don’t forget to check out Clearing if you’ve had no offers, or if you need to look for other courses…

Take a gap year

Don’t succumb to the pressure to go to uni at any cost just because your friends are going. There’s nothing stopping you from taking a gap year.

It might even be useful breathing space to get some work experience, re-evaluate your options and perhaps re-take an exam.

Remember, while this is the start of your adult life and career, your exams don’t define you as a person. You’re not a failure if you don’t scrape enough points for a specific course. It might even be an opportunity!

If you are dead set on retaking, or need application support, give our 121 Home Tutors team a buzz. With personal tutors across the Cheshire and Manchester areas, we can help.

Applying to University? UCAS advice here

Monday, October 6th, 2014

If you’ve already decided you want to go to university, the next step is deciding where and what subject. With countless choices open to you, where do you start?

1. Choose your subject. What do you most enjoy? Consider how your subject choice could fit with your career path. What careers could your subject lead to? Consider all options.

2. Do your research. Check out prospectuses, visit open days, read up on different universities’ course details as they do vary.

3. Check application deadlines. For many courses – especially at Oxbridge – you must apply online by 15th October 2014! Applications for medicine, dentistry, veterinary and science courses usually have a 15th October deadline too.

4. Check entry requirements. How close are your predicted grades? With five university choices to plump for, be adventurous. Choose a course above your predicted grades (as many students do outshine their expected grades!); choose courses with achievable entry requirements; and choose one that’s under your predicted grades to open up your choices.

5. Refine your personal statement. Universities want to see your aptitude and passion leap off the application! Consider why you want to study the course. What evidence can you include to back up your enthusiasm? Perhaps you’ve done extra-curricular activities, visited events, read extra books? Maybe you’ve had a lifelong love for the subject? Universities also want to see you are a well-rounded student: what other talents or interests do you have?

Whether you need subject tuition throughout year 13, or help with your UCAS application, we’ve an expert tutor here at 121 Home Tutors ready to support you. We don’t just help students wanting to study here in Manchester, or Cheshire either. Get in touch! 

How to write a personal statement

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

If you want to go to university in 2014 then you’ll probably be applying right now. For most people the hardest part of the UCAS application is the personal statement section. We’ve put together some top tips on crafting a great personal statement.

1. Your personal statement is 47 lines (4000 characters) which tells the university you are applying to why they should offer you a place. It’s your chance to explain exactly why you want to study on that course and at that university. It’s also a chance to blow your own trumpet about what a good student and well-rounded person you are.  Admissions tutors will use this (and sometimes an interview) to decide how well-suited you are to a course and university.

2. You need to be aware of the UCAS deadlines (some have an early October deadline) and decide which course you want to study. It’s better if your personal statement relates to the course you want to study for.

3. Start with writing down some general ideas. You might want to think about why the course interests you, any work experience you have, why that particular university appeals to you, any committees or out of school clubs you are involved in, any hobbies you have, any awards you have won, examples that show you are a contentious student.

4. On a separate sheet clearly define why you want to study a certain course – your passion has to jump off the page.  It’s a good exercise if you want to check that a specific course is the right one for you.

5. Have a look at example personal statements to help with language and layout but remember your personal statement has to come from you.  It has to be honest and reflect who you are, but keep it positive and enthusiastic.

6. Think about your format – it’s best not to write in one big block, consider breaking your statement down into sections such as introduction, work experience, interests outside of school (remember to focus on those that show you’re a responsible, confident person who sticks at things).

7. Always do a rough draft first and then edit down.  You don’t have to write precisely 4000 characters.  If you are struggling then check university websites to see if they have any advice on writing personal statements as this will give you an idea of what they might look for.

8. Finally check the UCAS guidelines for formatting your personal statement – remember the 47 line/4000 character limit.

If you need help with your personal statement one of our personal tutors based in Manchester or Cheshire can help, just call 121 Home Tutors today. 

Choosing a degree

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

If you are getting close to making decisions about university how will you decide what you will study? Are you going for a subject you love? Maybe you’re choosing something  you know you are really good at? Or perhaps something you know you want to build a career in?

We all know the job market is tough at the moment with 2.5 million people out of work. The graduate job market is now fiercely competitive, with those fresh out of university applying for the same jobs as those who have years of experience. Recent reports suggest that students are shunning traditional subjects – like English and Maths – in favour of practical degrees that will give them a better chance of securing a job at the end.

Applications for medicine degrees have risen by 12% in the last five years, while business and management degree students have risen by 9%. On the flip side applications to study English were down by 11% and European languages have dropped by 13%.

It would be great if we had a crystal ball and could predict what the job market would be like in 3 or 4 years time but instead we’ll give you some top tips on choosing a degree that suits you.

  1. Think about what you enjoy – you’ll be studying for at least 3 years so it’s best to choose something that you at least think you’ll be interested in.
  2. Although ‘practical’ degrees can seem like a safer future career choice you never know where a traditional degree like English or languages could take you. There are lots of careers that don’t require a specific degree. If you aren’t sure what job you want after uni then a non-specific degree might be a better bet.
  3. Whatever degree you choose you’ll gain a lot of soft skills that matter in most jobs – analysis of information, ability to present work, acting as a team. Most employers will be looking for those skills as well as your chosen subject area.
  4. If you do want to go into a specific field after graduation (such as law or medicine) then do choose the right degree – speak to a university admissions tutor or someone at your college or school for advice.

If you need academic tutoring or support during your A Levels or when you get to University 121 Home Tutors can help with most subjects (we cover Manchester and Cheshire including Hale, Heaton Moor and Didsbury).



A Level Results week

Friday, August 16th, 2013

If you received your A Level results this week you might want to have a look at our blog posts on what to do if your grades aren’t what you expected and what happens if your grades are better than expected. We’re here to support you if you need additional tutoring for resits or exploring options.

Choosing A Level subjects

Monday, March 4th, 2013


It’s that time of the year when students in year 11 are deciding if they want to go onto sixth form or college and study A Levels. This is also the time when they have to decide what subjects they want to study. So if you are in this position how do you begin to pick the right subjects for you?

  • The first thing to do is not panic! Not many people have a good idea of what they want to do with the rest of their life at 15.
  • If you have a rough idea of a future degree or career then you’ll probably need subjects in that area. But it’s also worth considering a back up plan. So, for example, if you want to study Medicine and become a doctor you need specific science subject. You might also want to consider taking something that sits well alongside (such as psychology) to give you alternate career/degree choices or something entirely different (such as French) if you decide that career path isn’t for you half way through your A Levels.
  •  Always check university requirements in detail, if you have an idea of what you want to study at Uni thenyou need to check if they have any specific A Level requirements. Not all courses or universities do but make sure you know this before making A Level choices.
  • The Russell Group is an association of 24 UK Universities. These tend to be quite prestigious and they publish a list of “facilitating subjects”, the advice is to pick two of these as A Levels if you want to apply to a Russell Group Uni.
  • Don’t be pressured into taking subjects you don’t like or don’t want to study – two years is a long time to stick at something you hate.

You can find more useful advice in this article. If you want to know more about one to one private tutoring at GCSE or A Level in Manchester or Cheshire you can contact us here.

University admissions down – what are the options?

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

UCAS (The University Admissions Service) have just released figures showing that early admission to universities are down again this year by 8%.  This is the second year running that applications to universities are down following the introduction of higher fees. The official deadline for applications is the 15th Jan so the whole picture won’t be clear until then but it’s safe to say the hike in fees seems to be putting some people off applying to university. So if higher fees are putting you off University or you just want to look at the alternatives then what are your options?

  • It’s a good idea to first think about whether university is the right choice for you. We wrote a blog post about this so you can think through the specifics such as whether there is a course which suits your future career aspirations.
  • Have a look at which will give you information on lots of options including apprenticeships.
  • Consider some time out for travel and gaining work experience.  It often helps to have 12 months out of education to really think about the direction you want to be going in. Work experience can also help you decide if your chosen career path is the right one for you.
  • The other option is to go straight into the workforce, and there are companies that will offer training or sponsorship through university.

If you need help with a UCAS application or tutoring for AS, A2 and A Level in Manchester and Cheshire (Alderley Edge, Cheadle, City Centre, Trafford and other areas) then call 121 Home Tutors.


A Level Results Day

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

It’s the night before the big day, Thursday 16th August  – AS and A2 Level results day. Last year we blogged about what to do if things don’t go according to plan or you don’t get the grades you expected.

Some of you might be in a position to need the opposite advice – what do you do if you grades are better than you expected? It sounds like a great position to be in (and it’s one our students who work with tutors find themselves in) but what should your next steps be?

–          Before we get into the serious stuff give yourself a massive pat on the back. You just exceeded all expectations and you should be very proud.

–          Now down to the nitty gritty. If you have a firm place at university but have exceeded the grades needed then you can use the UCAS Adjustment service.  This allows you to reconsider what you want to study and where you want to study it. You can apply for adjustment but still keep your original offer.

–          If you now have excellent grades but there are no places at the university or on the course you want then consider taking a year off (working or travelling is a great life experience) and then reapplying for a place next year.

At 121 Home Tutors we can help with private tutoring in Manchester and Cheshire (Sale, Wilmslow and local areas) for those at GCSE, A Level and University. Call us today for a no-obligation chat. You can also call the exam results helpline on 0808 100 8000. 


Year 13, UCAS Applications – time to decide which university is right for you

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

If you are in Year 13 and deciding about your next step after A Levels then you are probably in the midst of completing your UCAS application form. It maybe that you’ve already decided what you want to study and where you want to go. But if you are struggling with the decision then here are a few places to look for more information and some hints on making that all important decision.

This week (15th October) is the UCAS application deadline if you want to apply to study medicine or dentistry, veterinary courses or want to go to Oxford or Cambridge. We’ve written before about Oxbridge entry and we have specialised tutors at 121 Home Tutors who can help with Oxbridge entry.

  1. The first part of your decision is whether you want to go university or not. It’s easy to get pushed down a road of going to university by over enthusiastic parents, especially if you’ve no idea what you’d like to for a future career. We’ve written a blog post here about the drop out rates at universities and some questions to ask yourself before you complete your UCAS form. There are alternatives to university – a great place to look is And there are plenty of successful people who didn’t go to university.
  2. If you decide that university is the right choice for you then you need to do your research. There are comprehensive guides to the universities by subject and you need to read these as well as the prospectus for the specific university you are interested in.
  3. There are a few things you need to consider when choosing a degree course. It’s a good idea to choose something you are interested in and/or show a flair for because you will be studying it for at least the next three years. But it’s worth thinking beyond graduation. What kind of career prospects will your chosen degree give you? . For example did you know Medicine and dentistry have the highest rates of employment – 87%  of Medicine and 83%  of Dentistry students  find jobs immediately after graduation, and they earn more than other graduates – around £30k a year.
  4. It’s important that your decision is your own. Try not to be influenced by where your friends are going – you’ll make new friends.
  5. If you’re struggling to make a decision then talk to your careers advisor. You can also ring prospective universities and ask to speak to course tutors, they are usually very happy to help.

If you need help with tutoring in Year 13 or help with your UCAS personal statement then 121 Home Tutors can help – we cover areas across Manchester and Cheshire including Wilmslow, Didsbury and Alderley Edge. It’s easy to get in touch.