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University

APPLICATIONS

Think long and hard about which subject you want to study - what do you enjoy? Remember you will be studying this subject for 3 years, so it should be something you enjoy and you find interesting. Also, think where you would like to live - would you like to live in a big city, a town or do you like a smaller place, close to the sea for example?

After thinking about places you would like to live and coming up with a shortlist offering the course you want to study, go and visit. Every University offers open days - you will have the chance to see the building where the subject is taught and talk to some of the lecturers, visit the halls of residence, and a chance to ask questions and speak to current students. Go around the town / city as well as the University to see whether you like the area or not.

After deciding which course and University you would like to apply for, you will need to complete your UCAS form (you can put more than one choice on the form). For information on how to complete your UCAS form, have a look at their website.

For more information on choosing a University and a Course, have a look at Guardian – University Guide, Times - Good University GuideUKCourseFinder 

THE FIRST WEEK

This is a great chance to familiarise yourself with the new location and to make new friends. Remember everyone is in the same situation, wanting to make new friends and settle in. The best thing to do is to go out  and about around your corridor saying hello and introducing yourself. You can also join some clubs - you will be sure to meet some people with similar interests to you.

If you find it difficult to make new friends in the first days, don’t worry, it can take a bit of time to settle.

If you start to feel a bit homesick, this is completely natural. Remember the best way to deal with missing home is to get out and make new friends. Don’t lock yourself away in your room, alone. If you feel a bit low, talk to someone else - they probably feel the same as you. Once you start to get used to your new life and settle in you will feel better.

For more information have a look at The Complete University Guide, NUS and The Site.

MONEY

When you move out of home to go to University there are many things to consider. Money is one of those things. Here are some of the things you will need to think about.

Student Bank Account

There are many things to think about when deciding which bank account would be best for you. Think about the location - is the bank in a convenient location, not only in your first year, but wherever you will be moving in your 2nd and 3rd years? Also remember to ask about the opening hours of the Bank.

Look at which banks offer telephone and internet banking - these features can be very useful. Many of the banks offer an interest free overdraft for students, increasing in value each year - look out for these banks. 

Talk to others that have been to University previously, and ask them who they banked with and whether they were happy with the service.

Student Loan

The amount of money you will be able to borrow depends on the course, where you’re going to be studying, and on your personal situation. The loan will be paid at the beginning of each term.

You will only start to pay back the loan when you are working and earning more than £21,000. 

Costs

Make a list of everything you spend - you can work out a monthly budget. Then you will know how much you’re spending each month - you don’t want to run out of money by the end of the term!

Here are some things you should think about. The first cost is rent - whether you’re living in halls or in a house, work out how much it costs per month. Then, think about your bills. If you’re living in halls, things like electricity, gas, internet etc may be included in the price, but there are other things you should think about - mobile phone bill, TV Licence, food etc. Another cost is tuition fees (if you have to pay them). Then there is travelling - how often do you go home or visit friends? How often do you go out, and how much do you spend? 

Debt

There are many ways for students to get money - many banks offer overdrafts, credit cards and loans. Be careful if you are thinking of going ahead with one of these options. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but think how are you going to pay it back? Before taking out one of these options, go and speak to an advisor at the Student Union - they will be able to advise you of the best move.

For more information have a look at Student Loan Company, Student Finance Wales, NUS, Need2Know, The Site 

GAP YEAR

You can take a GAP year any time - most people do it either after finishing their A-Levels or after graduating from University. Lots also take a break from their career to go travelling.

There are a number of things you can do during a GAP year - do you want to go abroad or do you want to stay in the UK? Do you want to work on a specific project? Do you want to teach abroad? Work to gain experience in your chosen career path? Or do you want to travel around the world seeing different cultures?

Whatever you want from a GAP year, you can find more information on The SiteGapYear.com  Gap Year Jobs Guardian Travel  

EXAMS

Preparing
• Make a revision timetable early on so that you know exactly how much work you have and how much time you have to do it.
• Write revision notes telling you what the main points are.
•  Look after yourself - make sure that you get enough sleep, eat sensibly, and have enough breaks from your work.
• Remember if you are unsure of anything, ask for help!

The Day of the Exam
• Make sure you know where and when your exam is being held.
• Give yourself enough time to arrive.
• Read the instructions carefully - if you don’t understand, ask a teacher.
• Leave plenty of time to read through your answers at the end.

GOOD LUCK!
Remember if you don’t get the results you were hoping for, there are plenty of options available to you. Speak to your Careers Advisor for advice on your options.

For more information about work and work placements have a look at the Employment4Students website

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