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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! 

Tutoring and education news

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Here’s a round up of what’s happening in the world of education and tutoring…

Did you know you can get a ‘placement consultant’ to help get your child into the ‘right school’. A kind of head hunter for 8 year olds!

Four and five year olds will be tested on literacy and reasoning from 2016

What does the gender gap mean for boys and girls in school (and once they leave)

University applications on the rise

If you want to chat to us about anything that’s happening in the world of education and tutoring you can find our details here. 

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).

 

 

Postgraduate degrees – what does the future hold?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

At 121 Home Tutors we think it’s important to know what is going on in every area of education. Although the majority of our students are at primary and secondary level we also offer support and tutoring to A Level, University, adult and postgraduate students.  Our adult and post grad students sometimes come to us because they need subject specific help but often because they may have been out of education for some time and need help with skills such as essay writing or formulating arguments.  Many of our tutors hold postgraduate degrees and qualifications and we were saddened to read last month that support for postgraduate degrees seems to be on the decline.

Last month eleven leaders of universities, from varying types of institution across the UK, said there was an imminent postgraduate crisis as it was revealed that research councils are withdrawing support for taught master’s courses. These courses are integral to the success of certain academic and professional careers. The university leaders recognise that if less people are able to take these courses then it could have a considerable impact on our economic growth. Last year fees for postgraduate courses rose by an average of 11%, meaning further study may only be available to the wealthy.  The numbers of people taking masters and PhDs has already begun to decline.

For many people graduating with a BA or BSc isn’t enough to put them ahead of the pack, what they need to succeed is postgraduate education. The concern is that if this isn’t affordable for most then it could leave talented people behind.

If  you’d like to discuss postgraduate or adult one to one tutoring in Manchester & Cheshire then contact 121 Home Tutors. We cover most postgraduate subjects.

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 http://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/ 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.

 

Universities setting A Level content

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

In the last couple of weeks Michael Gove, Education Secretary, said he is worried that A Levels do not sufficiently prepare young adults for university. In a letter to Ofqual, the university regulator, he said universities should decide what is in A Level exams and review them each year. This news came at the same time as a study by Cambridge Assessment found many university lecturers thought their students arrived at university under prepared for degree work. Whatever of the outcome of Michael Gove’s suggestions how can you ensure you make the transition from A Level to University as smooth as possible?

–          One of the biggest shifts from A Level to University is around the way you tackle the information you are given. At A Level there is less emphasis on critical thinking and opinion – this is an area you could concentrate on before you go to University.

–          At University you are expected to think and study independently, you need to question and dig for information from day one.

–          Your university tutors will be available and helpful but will not chase you for work and manage your deadlines – it’s a good idea to have a time and work management system from the beginning, even if it’s just a notebook.

–          Remember is most cases the first year of your degree doesn’t count towards your final mark so you have a year to adjust. If you are struggling then approach your tutors who will be able to offer guidance and additional support. Alternatively consider a tutor who is a specialist in your subject area.

If you have started university in Manchester and need help and support with a subject area, essay writing or time and work management 121 Home Tutors can help. Contact 121 Home Tutors.

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 http://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/. 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.