When to start looking at uni?(20 Posts)
DS flunked his AS's levels, so left and is now at the end of Y1 of a 2 year '3 A level equivalent' BTEC (in computing).
He has begun to consider uni, but I don't really know where to begin! He's at a Tech who, unlike sixth form college, aren't particularly 'uni' leaning for obvious reasons.
He doesn't yet know what area of Computing he wants to study, and, once again, the 'advice' isn't really there. He doesn't actually appear to know which 6 units he'll be studying next academic year! It's a lot more casual than sixth form!
Have people already started looking at unis for Sept 18 entry? Or do you normally go in Sept-Dec time? When's the deadline, is it Feb 18?
It's possible more advice might be given next academic year but I don't want him to miss the boat!
Most unis have open days starting in June and then again in September.
He will be doing his application in the autumn term ready for 2018 entry.
Both of mine are now at uni but did most of their open day visits in the June /July.
Some clashed and DS2 went to a couple in the September that he couldn't get to in the summer. There is no reason not to wait until September but DS felt that in the new term he would rather be focussing on school work and his application.
He should probably try and think of where he might be interested in and look when they hold their open days. All have excellent websites where he can look at details of courses and entry requirements.
Often booking is required for some talks.
I have another question... how do you know if a course is any good??! How it's rated? I glanced at the 'same' course at 2 different unis; one wanted 128 UCAS points, the other 112. Does that point to one being 'better' than the other?
I am on The Student Room, incidentally, which is quite good!
Have a look at the www.unistats.com/ website to compare courses- look at student satisfaction, employability ratings and average salaries to give you and do a feel. Do go to some open days this summer to get a feel of unis and also help your dd see what he'd like to do- there is so much variety. www.opendays.com/calendar/ Gives you what is on where. You can visit on non open days too- often gives a more realistic view. Good luck.
Now is definitely the time to look.
For sept 2018 entry, application deadline is middle of January (15th I think).
We have looked at one so far for ds, and have three lined up.
Look now! Please don't leave it until September. I work in a sixth form and it's my job to guide and help students complete their applications. The final final ucas deadline is the 15th jan but places are allocated as soon as applications start coming in. If you're son is interested in computing or computer science this can be surprisingly competitive. (My dh and db both studied this at uni and now work in the industry).
He also needs to start thinking about his personal statement and checking process for references etc at his college. I'm really surprised it's not been mentioned yet.
UCAS has amazing help sections for parents and kids, not just about how to apply but the whole process I really recommend starting there. Good luck!
Thanks, Beagles - The problem is it's a Tech, they don't really 'do' uni!
They should still have someone who coordinates ucas, someone he can go and speak to. It's usually a careers advisor? You can always call yourself? I regularly speak with parents about the process.
If not UCAS themselves really are helpful so do get in touch with them.
On another note Huddersfield is a good uni for computing courses. If he's not sure about what course he wants get him to start by writing a list of yes and no. What would he enjoy and what would he hate - totally abstract. Eg I want to be able to work with hardware, I definitely don't want to do IT support. This will then help you narrow down the course. My tip is also always go to as many open days as you can - even if you've no intention of going there. If you only see the ones you think you'll like how can you be sure?
Finally UCAS seems a lot scarier process than it is in practice, there's plenty of help online etc and just make sure start early and take your time and you'll be fine.
Thanks again. I have just helped DS with an email to his Tech asking them about how he can access predicteds etc, and whether he can get to talk to someone about the HNC/D they also run there.
DS has a little knowledge, having been at a sixth form for a year, but I don't think he's twigged that he need to be onto it now! We did go to one uni last summer, just for a poke around (Bournemouth) which I think fired his imagination a bit.
TBH, he's stated that he'd want to be south of England, which I can kind of see his reasoning: if he wanted to do something really specialist at a top RG, he'd have to go to wherever the course was, but every ex-Poly runs a computer science degree (or 10) so he ought to be able to find something that appeals within 100 miles of home.
Look for one that's accredited by the British Computer Society.
My daughter is sitting her A level exams at the moment. She says that all her friends who are finishing off their BTECs have received non-conditional offers from unis because BTECS are based on course work assessment rather than final exams. So that's an advantage for you, you will not have the nail biting wait till August! But yes he should start thinking about it now so he has time to consider his options properly!
Obviously Unis have everything online but my D.C. Found having hard copies of prospectuses useful. You could get him to order a whole load and start sifting through them for info and inspiration.
Thanks all. Unfortunately, DS's BTEC has exams and, needless to say, we have no idea when he'll get the results of them as deadlines are quite fluid!
He needs to start reading prospectuses and looking at specific modules. University courses vary soooo much even with very similar sounding course titles. The university webisite have a lot of information on them. Once he has got some idea of what appeals in terms of course content he can start thinking about what type of university- campus or city. Make a list of the things that matter to him in terms of facilities and go and visit and encourage him to ask questions. Once he starts he will probably quickly narrow the search.
Are you sure that University is the answer? In a vocational subject like this an apprenticeship may suit instead
especially considering the small fortune it will save him/you. Link here
The fee paying schools get all lower sixth formers to draft their UCAS personal statement and have an idea of their 5 possible universities before the end of this term so the teachers can start giving input on the draft personal statement and guidance on the applications.
Then in September (my 2 applied last year so this is recent for me) those who apply to Oxbridge apply very early on in the term (mine didn't apply) and then the others submit in the Autumn in most cases. I cannot see much point in leaving it to the last minute really. I would start picking the institutions in July and asking the school to check the personal statement so you get ahead of the game and can start honing draft after draft of the statement and thinking about your options and requirements for courses.
Also the Teaching Excellence Framework for English Unis will be released very shortly. It grades universities for teaching quality, learning environment, and student outcomes and learning gain. It gives gold, silver, and bronze awards. So this could help if trying to decide between two universities. HOWEVER the TEF is new and therefore untried. If he is more fond of a bronze uni than a gold one - the bronze uni is probably a better bet for him. But if he is struggling to chose between two it may help him make up his mind.
He should be looking now. DD3 did BTEC level 3 extended diploma in IT a few years ago. They were all advised to start looking into universities at the start of the course
senua I agree re higher apprenticeships and employer-paid degrees but my impression is that they go to the top performing DC as there's so much competition to get qualified for free, as it were!
Thanks for all the input, just trying to persuade DS that he needs to get stuck in! Sadly, DS's college just doesn't seem to be uni-leaning.
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