Reviewed Autumn 2010 Next Review Autumn 2011 Careers and Further

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					Careers and Further Study

All students at Hurst Lodge will follow a programme of Careers education and
guidance that is designed to give them the knowledge and skills to make all
the decisions that need to be made, for example:

•     Should they apply to higher education?
•     What subject or subjects should they apply for and to which
•     When should they apply?
•     Should they have a ‘gap year’?
•     Is an Art Foundation course appropriate?
•     Is a Vocational course an option?

In addition, the Careers teacher and the Principal will help with the completion
of the UCAS and other application forms, preparation for interviews and will
give the girls the opportunity to visit a range of universities.

Girls are advised to seek advice and guidance from all sorts of people at
school, but, in the end, they must make their own decisions. They will spend
three or more years studying at university; they must do the research
themselves to make sensible and realistic choices.

Higher education

The pressure on places at university, especially the most prestigious, is
increasing. This is especially true for some subjects, such as medicine, law
and English, for which the numbers applying far exceeds the available
places. Even the most well qualified applicants are experiencing some
difficulty in getting the place they want and it is becoming more important that
students make realistic choices and apply early

Why go to University?

There are definite benefits of a university education:
• graduates usually have better starting salaries and will, on average, earn
   more over their working lives than non-graduates
• Students will be able to study a subject they enjoy to a much greater depth
   and with more independence than is possible at school
• There are a wide range of activities that are available in universities

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•   Girls will meet a large number of other students from a wide variety of
    backgrounds and will become much more independent as they take more
    and more responsibility for their own work and life.

However care must be taken:

•   Many students drop out of university without completing their course, for a
    variety of reasons. Some may have chosen the wrong course or subject
    or university. Others have not worked hard enough whilst others get into
    financial difficulties. Careful planning and preparation whilst in the sixth
    form can help avoid problems like this.

•   Not all graduates will earn high salaries. Having a degree does not
    guarantee a job; employers will also look very closely at your personal
    qualities and your employment skills.

•   Most graduates will leave university in debt – for those with a three year
    degree, debts of £18000 are becoming common. You may want to
    consider this when you are choosing your subject.

University is not for everyone. Most sixth formers at Hurst Lodge do go on to
higher education but not all do so in the year in which they leave school; many
have at least one year ‘off’. There are real advantages to taking such a ‘gap
year’. There are other alternatives; some prefer to seek employment or work
based training, others look at an art foundation or other vocational course.

The Careers Teacher has many resources to help you with your decisions, as
do websites such as the main UCAS site.

Choosing your university

Girls frequently ask "Which is the best university for studying my chosen
subject?" The short answer is that we don’t know. . The question that you
should ask is “which is the best university for me?”

Think carefully about the university you are considering there are many
factors that you should consider. It is important that you visit universities
yourself and ask questions when you are there.

Some students look beyond the UK for their higher education and
American/Australian universities are often attractive. As with all other non-UK
institutions, these are outside the UCAS system. It is important to contact the
universities directly to find out what they will require for

How do a choose a university?

There are some excellent books which describe the universities and colleges,
which tell you what they are good at, and what sort of grades you are going to

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need for specific courses. For example, the Times Good University Guide
has a profile of all the major institutions and league tables of universities that
can be helpful. There are other, similar guides – the Guardian Guide and the
Virgin Guide are examples

The UCAS website also has useful data on every institution and has links to
their websites. The University of Wolverhampton has created an excellent
interactive map which shows where all the universities are; it has hundreds of
useful links, including those into all the university websites -
 In addition, there are prospectuses for most of the universities – these are
available in the Senior Study Room - and every university has a
comprehensive website.

Remember to do your research without it you are not able to make a good

What to consider when choosing universities?
Does it do the right course?
This is important. Courses with the same name do not necessarily have the
same content. You should check the course details carefully, using the
prospectus and the course or department booklet, or the university and
department website.

What grades are needed for entry?
These vary hugely. Discuss your predicted grades with your subject teachers
to get an idea of the sort of institutions to which you might apply.

How is the course taught and assessed?
What methods suit you best. You may prefer formal lectures, others prefer
just to be allowed to get on with it. Some prefer continual assessment, others
end of year exams.

Where is the university?
Students often don’t want to be too close to home but are happy to consider
universities miles away without thinking of the possible consequences.
Parents may not be able to take you up and down to university, and the
amount of equipment you take like computers, music, sports gear, cooking
utensils etc, may make train travel difficult. Some students do get homesick
and it will be very hard to get home for a weekend from that far away. And
the cost of travelling that far is high.

If the university is in a city, this will have advantages and disadvantages. The
key question that you have to ask yourselves is what sort of university
experience do you want?

Some of the newer universities are in city centres, while most 1960’s
universities are located on greenfield sites outside of cities and towns, often
several miles away from the city centre. Again, what sort of university
experience do you want?

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Some universities are very large whilst others are smaller and more personal.
Again what sort of university experience do you want?

London is always a popular choice for a university – for good reasons – but
many students are not aware of the financial implications. Student loans are
higher for students in London, but do not begin to cover the extra cost of
living, with very high rents (remember years 2 and 3 will be in private housing,
and rents will need to be paid over vacations), very high travel and all other

Many universities are moving over to self-catering in a big way, others still
have much catered accommodation. Some still have some shared rooms
(Exeter and Surrey, for example). Some universities have most housing on
site, others have housing that is several miles away. Some universities can
accommodate all first year students, others cannot. Some university towns
have plenty of private rented housing for the 2nd and 3rd years, but others
have little and students find themselves travelling substantial distances (some
students at Kent live in Margate, about 15 miles away with no train service).

Each university has a style and character of its own, and you should think
carefully about what lifestyle you want before choosing the ones to which you
will apply. We can broadly categorise the universities as follows:

Civic Universities:
Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield.
These are sited centrally in major cities and do not have a clearly defined
campus; the city is mixed in with the university. The halls of residence, which
are usually some distance from the university, often have their own
community feel.

City Campus Universities: Birmingham, Exeter, Nottingham, Reading, Hull,
Leicester, Southampton.
These are universities that have developed just outside the centre of their
cities on a clearly defined campus, often with academic buildings and halls of
residence in the same area.

Greenfield Campus Universities: Bath, East Anglia, Essex, Keele, Kent,
Lancaster, Surrey, Sussex, Warwick, York.
These are universities that were built in the 1960s and have continued to
develop since then. They are designed as self-sufficient, self-contained social
and academic units and are located outside towns on what were Greenfield
sites. They usually have all their residences on site though some are being
forced to build off-site as they are out-growing the original site.

Technological Universities: Aston, Bath, Brunel, City, Loughborough,
Salford, Surrey.
These have close links with industry and offer many courses with a strong
practical and technological bias and relatively few purely academic subjects

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(such as English or history).      They usually have very good graduate
employment records.

Scottish Universities: Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt,
St. Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde
The Scottish higher educational system is different from the English and
Welsh system. Almost all courses are for 4 years. They are unusual in that
students are generally admitted to a faculty and not a department. You can
often select three or four subjects in your first year and can "experiment" in
your choices, and are then admitted to your honours course in the second
year. Not true of all subjects, though; for example, medicine and law.

New Universities: Anglia, Bournemouth, West of England, Coventry, De
Montfort, Greenwich, Hertfordshire, Kingston, Leeds Metropolitan, Luton,
Middlesex, North London, Oxford Brookes, Plymouth, Portsmouth, South
Bank, Teeside, Westminster and many others.
These are former Polytechnics and Colleges that have become universities
since 1992. They are often an amalgamation of several former colleges and
can spread across several campuses. At the lower end they can struggle to
recruit, but others now compete strongly with the longer established
universities, especially BUWE and Oxford Brookes.

What to do next?
Once you have narrowed down your search you need to start studying
prospectuses and think about visiting a few universities. A good time to visit
universities is during their terms, on a normal working day. This will give you
a better idea of the atmosphere of the place. Try to persuade a parent to take
you on a round tour of the universities that you are considering at half term.

There are many different types of course you can follow, and they can
last anything from 2 years to 7 years. Some may involve the study of
just one or two subjects, others allow you to study a range of subjects
in the first year with specialisation later in the course. Some are
assessed by end of year exams, some by twice yearly module exams
and some by continuous assessment. Some may involve study abroad
or a year of paid employment.

You must not expect courses with the same name to be identical; a course in
English, say, at Cardiff may be totally different from a course in English at

How can you find out about the course content?
Once you have decided on your choice of subject or subjects, you must begin
to search for the ideal course. To do this you need to compare the content of
the courses, as they vary from university to university. Reading the relevant
sections of the prospectus of the university will help, but the best source of
information will probably be the departmental brochure. Ring or email the
department for this or find the department website.

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    What types of degree course are there?

•   Single Honours: Students study one subject, though there may be the option
    to study a ‘minor’ subject as well, which will take up about 30% of your time.
    In the UCAS website, a course described as, for example, History with
    Politics, would be History as the ‘major’ subject, taking up about 70% of the
    time, and Politics that ‘minor’ subject.

•   Joint Honours: The study of two separate but equal subjects which may or
    may not be related. In the UCAS listings, History and Politics would be such a

•   Combined Honours: These courses usually involve the study of several
    subjects in the first year with students choosing to specialise in one or two
    subjects as the course progresses. Course titles are usually "Combined Arts"
    or "Combined Science."

•   Interdisciplinary Courses: this is the study of a number of subjects, all
    related to a particular theme. For example: European Studies or Business

•   Sandwich Courses: These courses allow students to take paid employment,
    usually for one year or for two six months periods, as part of the course.
    These are usually only available in vocational subjects such as Business
    Studies or Engineering and are one year longer than other courses. They
    offer the student the opportunity to get experience as part of the course and
    graduates, on average, find employment more quickly.

•   Modular Courses: The course will be broken down into a number of units or
    modules, and students can, to greater or lesser extent, select their own
    programme. Credits build up to a single, joint or combined honours degree.
    Many degrees are now modular. In many of them, modular exams are sat at
    the end of each semester, that is, twice a year, though some have a single
    exam at the year end.

•   Masters Courses: These are courses, usually in science and engineering,
    that last 4 years and include a Masters degree in the fourth year. Degrees at
    Scottish universities are usually Masters degrees, whatever the subject.
•   B. A. or B. Sc. with QTS. QTS means Qualified Teacher Status. Those who
    wish to teach often do not want to do a B. Ed, thinking that employers outside
    education will value it less highly, a risk if they decide not to teach. This is the
    same course but with a different name.

    Foundation art courses
    A one year course that is a necessary pre-condition for entry onto many
    higher education courses in art and design.

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    Degree courses are generally three years, however:

•   Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry and Architecture will extend for more
    than three years, some up to seven, some including periods of paid
•   Courses at Scottish universities are usually 4 years Masters courses.
•   Sandwich courses and many language courses are usually for 4 or more
•   Many courses in languages, science, engineering and business studies (and
    others) offer up to a year of study in the E.U.

Further information?
   The UCAS Big Guide contains brief details of all the courses at every
   Many courses now offer "Entry Profiles" on the UCAS website. These include
   not only the entry requirements, but also a good description of the course,
   what it contains, what you can expect to get out of it and what you should
   bring to it. It is invaluable in that it is a means of matching you, the applicant,
   to the course. Send off for the departmental or course brochure – or read it
   on the university website.

    Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) procedure

    There is a single applications procedure for UK universities and colleges
    through UCAS

       •   You will be given an application form to complete on line in which you
           can apply for up to 5 universities (4 in the case of applications for
           Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science). This is done on-line,
           using the APPLY part of the UCAS website

       •    The form is submitted to UCAS who pass the information on to the
           colleges or universities to which you have applied.

       •   UCAS send you an acknowledgement with a code number which you
           can use to track the course of your application, using the TRACK part
           of the UCAS website

       •   The individual institutions will contact UCAS with their decisions and
           these will be passed on to you, both by letter and on TRACK.

       •   When you receive offers you can choose which offers you wish to
           accept. You inform UCAS of this through TRACK. It is best to wait
           until you have had all the university decisions before you make your
           final choice.

       •   You may only hold two offers: a firm offer, and an insurance offer which
           should have lower grade requirements. Any other offers must be

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When the A-Level/BTEC results come out your firm offer will be confirmed if
you have the grades. If not, and you have the grades for the insurance offer,
that will be confirmed. If you don't quite make the grades, you may still get
accepted. If not, you will be entered for "clearing."

Clearing is an additional application for those who have no offers in April.
Clearing operates after the publication of A level results to help applicants
without places.

When to apply?

Applications can be submitted from September 1st onwards. It is important to
be aware that applications for Oxbridge, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary
Science must be completed very soon after the start of the Autumn Term, by
30th September at the latest. Do not wait until the official deadlines.

Any applications submitted after the UCAS deadline will be considered at the
discretion of the universities and colleges, but it is highly unlikely that there
will be any offers at this stage on popular courses or at popular universities

How to apply?

All applications are made using the UCAS APPLY System.

Most of the application form asks for factual information, which you must get
right. The personal statement is the only part of the form over which you have
some control. It is your chance to sell yourself to the admissions tutor and
you should spend considerable time getting it right

When you have completed the form, you will have to ‘send it to the referee’.
Once you have done this you cannot make any further changes to your form
unless the referee who will be the Careers teacher in combination with your
subject teachers and the Principal sends it back to you. Your form will be
checked through, a reference added and sent to UCAS electronically.

The UCAS fee is £15 (£5 if you only apply for one course) which you pay
online by credit or debit card when you have completed the form.

UCAS will send you an acknowledgement letter. This contains

   •   an application number
   •   personal details
   •   list of courses you have applied for.

   You must check this information immediately and let Mrs Bowes (the
   careers teacher) know if there are any mistakes.

If the application is received at a busy time, it may take several days, even
weeks, before you receive the letter.

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Should you want to add more information after sending in the form you should
write direct to the institutions concerned. If you want to withdraw your
application you will find a withdrawal slip at the back of the Advice for
Applicants book which UCAS will send you.

What decisions are made by the universities?

The universities and colleges make their decisions and tell UCAS, who then
pass the information on to you. A few universities leave consideration of all
applications until after the deadline.

You may receive a conditional offer (unless you are applying post A level, in
which case your offer will be unconditional). This offer will tell you the grades
you require to gain a place on the course. It may state certain grades in
certain subjects, or you may get a points required offer.

It is possible that you may receive a rejection: bear in mind that for popular
courses at popular universities there may be many applicants per place so
rejections are not unusual.

What decisions do I have to make?

It is best to wait until you have heard from all your chosen institutions before
making any decisions. If you accept or reject offers before then, you cannot
then change your mind.
After receiving the final decision, UCAS will send you a Statement of Decision
letter and a reply slip. What you do next depends on the number of offers you
have received:

•   If you only get one offer you can accept it (and thus commit yourself to
    that place if you get the grades) or reject it and go into clearing.
•   If you get two or more offers you can only accept two. One is your firm
    choice and the other your insurance choice in case you do not get the
    grades for your firm choice. The insurance offer should preferably be for
    lower grades or tariff points than the firm offer.

Replying to offers?

You can reply to each of your offers with either a:

Firm acceptance (F),
or an I
Insurance acceptance (I),
Decline (D)

Firm Acceptance (F)

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•   You can only accept one offer firmly. If you firmly accept a conditional
    offer, you will be guaranteed a place on that course if you achieve the
    required exam grades. You are committed to the course and cannot go

•   If you firmly accept an unconditional offer, you must commit yourself to
    that course and turn down all other offers. Unconditional offers are
    normally only made to applicants that already have their A level grades.

Insurance Acceptance (I)

•   If you receive two or more offers and you firmly accept a conditional offer,
    you must also decide whether to accept a second offer as insurance. You
    should normally choose one which requires lower grades or tariff points
    than for your firm offer.

•   If you do not meet the conditions of your firm choice, but you do meet the
    conditions of your insurance choice, you are guaranteed a place on your
    insurance choice. You are committed to the course and cannot go

Decline (D)

When you have decided on your firm and insurance acceptances you must
decline all other offers.

You can decline all your offers, and then go through clearing from the middle
of July, if you have changed your mind about what you want to study or where
you want to go.

If you have received some offers and know which ones you want to accept,
you do not have to wait for all the decisions to come through. You can send
your decisions through Track or complete the slip at the back of the Advice to
Applicants booklet and send it to UCAS. They will then cancel all the other

Contacting UCAS
Make sure you have your application number.

By phone
0870 1122211

By post
PO Box 28
GL52 3ZA


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Using your unique password, check the progress of your application using the
TRACK system

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