We’re coming round to that time of year that sends a good proportion of sixth form students in to a tizzy. Not only is the weather a complete downer, reaching highs of -4 degrees, but your parents and your teachers are starting to get on your case about the dreaded university application process. All university students know that perfecting personal statements is a bit of a drag, and narrowing down your choice of universities is mildly stress-inducing, but it shouldn’t have to be! Planning the next chapter of your life is an exciting thing!
My experience with UCAS was fairly pleasant, since I was 100% certain that Plymouth was my first (and only) choice, and that English was what I wanted to study.
When it comes down to it, you have to choose the course and university that is going to propel you on to the career path you’ve set out for yourself. If you don’t know what that is yet, then your choice has to help you shape that career path, so choose a subject that interests you, and will continue to interest you for the next three (or more!) years. Ideas about what you want to do after university might change as you work through your degree, which is no bad thing, in fact it is probably better if you go in to your degree with an open mind. But ultimately, you’re going to university to get a degree that will help you live a rewarding and successful life, so make sure you look well in to the course before you apply.
With that in mind, try not to base your university choice on ‘where are the nightclubs at?’. Don’t get me wrong, the atmosphere of the university and your social life are extremely important, and things that I would definitely take in to consideration, but how much alcohol you have consumed is hardly going to be the first question you get asked at a job interview. Rather than scouting out the local nightlife, have a look at the university’s student union page and see what societies and organised events they have going on. This will give you a good idea of the general vibe and then you can see if it’s a community that you can see yourself fitting in with. But, more importantly than this, GO AND VISIT THE UNIVERSITY!!! Whether it’s an Open Day, an Applicant Day, or just a visit to see the surrounding area, this is the best way to get a feel for the university. I can not stress how important this is, because you can meet students and people doing your course, ask lots of questions and check out the campus and the facilities. And yes, if you’re really that concerned about it, you can explore the closest pubs and bars with your mum.
So don’t panic about UCAS! Be organised and get excited about your future!
Juliette’s top tip?
Christmas is only a month away, so if you’re getting stressed, help yourself to a box of mince pies (since when was one ever enough) and whack on the Christmas tunes. Sorted.