'You're going to University next year'.
'No, next year is...YES I AM'!!!
I'm sure many of you can relate to this, that sudden realisation that in September you're going to be in Year 13 and next year you will, if it's in your plan, be going to University. There have been many changes over these past few years forcing us to look beyond the walls of the sixth form common room and think about the future. Although, thinking about the future is quite frightening the great thing about A Levels and IB is that you do less subjects so possible university courses, to an extent, are narrowed down. Now it's all about finding the appropriate resources to help you on your search of possible future careers.
So here is my fabulous list for all things University that will make you super organised before you start Year 13:
WhatUni- What Uni is a great tool and it's free! It guides you along the way, from showing you what career paths people have followed with your subject choices and grades to University reviews. It also monitors your progress e.g. alerting about when you need to start writing your personal statement, this makes What Uni an amazing tool if you have absolutely no idea where to start.
The Student Room - From advice about University Courses to personal statements Student Room is the hub for all things University. All you have to do is login (it's free) and search to your hearts content. If there is a specific thing that you want to find out you can always start a discussion thread and get responses from the other students on the site.
Fast Tomato - Complete with information about the job requirements, salaries and different career paths Fast Tomato is also brilliant for career advice. It includes questionnaires about things such as your working style and personal interests, both of which are essential when making your University choices. Unfortunately Fast Tomato is not free but possibly if you talk to your school they can sort out logins for you(fingers crossed).
Morrisby Test- The Morrisby Test is also another great tool and although you have to pay for it, it is very useful if you have no idea where to start. The Morrisby Test 'assesses various factors including abilities, aptitudes, interests and motivations' and provides you with a detailed list of possible career paths that are best suited to your abilities and interests.
The Internet and Social Media- Google is your friend, as is YouTube and Twitter. Research anything and you will definitely find information. I have a habit of looking up Universities on YouTube because some Universities have student vloggers who talk about their Uni experience and their chosen course; which I find very insightful (and great when I can't be bothered to read). You should also sign up for emails or follow Universities on Twitter so you can get updates about open days and taster sessions.
Talk to people- Career advisor, current year thirteen students, university students- anyone. I have found talking to people about my ideas post year thirteen to be extremely useful, as not only do they suggest options that I would have never thought of- they also bring to light other factors that I should consider when making my University choice e.g. whether I want to be close to or far away from home or go to a campus or city University etc.
Apply for Open Days- Find out the dates of the Open Days of Universities that you like the look of and apply for them. Some just require you to sign up to show your interest, others need you to book for a place- so ensure that you research carefully. If you are completely clueless on where to start try researching the best Universities for the course you are interested in and pick a few Universities in the Top 20 to have a look at. (I say Top 20 because the lists tend to be really long- but obviously if you prefer widening or narrowing your options, do that instead). Also it is important to treat University lists with caution because they are not always completely accurate- The Guardian University guide is said to be a good one.
So, there you are, my fabulous list. I will try and add to or elaborate on the list in the near future. Feel free to add any additional advice in the comments below.