I had no idea what ‘UCAS’ was or what it meant until I was in the sixth form. I finally learned that UCAS stood for ‘University and Colleges Admission Service’ and that I would be applying for university through UCAS!
This meant in year 12 I attended a UCAS Fair which is basically an annual, large-scale event which enables you to explore your post-18 options all in one place. These events can be invaluable to you if you are unsure what to do post-college or sixth form. You will be able to talk face to face with universities, employers and careers advisors who will help you with your next steps.
Do your research before you attend a UCAS event! There are around 37,000 courses available to study in the UK, so it’s always a good idea to research what courses you like the sound of before you attend.
There is a massive variety of courses available which could be 3, 4 or 5 years and content will vary from course to course and university to university.
There are many things to consider when choosing a course such as – is the course single honours or joint honours? What are the entry requirements for the course and are they achievable? How will you be assessed and taught on the course? I really hate exams and prefer to be taught in a practical way so I looked up courses with these features.
Getting a good job after university is high on everybody’s agenda, which is why considering your job and employability prospects when choosing a course is extremely important.
However, I would highly recommend studying something you are good at and most importantly, something you enjoy. You are more likely to do well in your degree if you enjoy it!
Here are some top tips to help you out when you attend a UCAS fair;
- Research different universities and courses beforehand – This way you will have a better view of what courses you are interested in studying. You can then ask different universities on the day if they offer those courses.
- Download a Floor Plan of the event you are attending – When you have found out what courses you may want to study your next step is to find out what university offers those courses. This way you can make sure you spend your time wisely on the day and target certain universities to go and talk too.
- Don’t just walk around with your pals – If you walk around with your friends you may not talk to universities that you are interested in or you may feel silly asking questions in front of your friends. It is extremely important to find out the right information to help you make the right decision for your future.
- Take a list of questions! – Prepare some questions to ask when you go around and talk to different people. These could be about the course, about the university, if you have to have an interview, the facilities, studying abroad or sandwich courses.
- Take a strong bag! – You will pick up a lot of information and university prospectuses throughout the day so you will need a strong bag to carry them all.
I hope this helps with your UCAS convention quest if you do have any more questions feel free to drop me a question on Facebook. Here is a short video produced by UCAS which will explain all about UCAS conventions in more detail.