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So youve decided that higher education is the next step for you? Great decision! Youre about to start on a journey that will give you some amazing memories, friends for life, and the foundations for your dream career.
Before that though, the hard work starts. Choosing a course, picking a university and then writing your personal statement the next few months may seem quite daunting right now. Luckily for you, weve got a team of experts dedicated to making sure you
make the right decision, and getting there!
In this latest instalment of Trinity Top Tips, Jimmy and Lucy from Leeds Trinitys Schools and Colleges Liaison Team have shared their top tips on how to choose a course and university, and the formula for writing a winning personal statement. Youll also find some great advice from Emma Briscoe, a Leeds Trinity student who wants to share how she made the right decision!
ENJOY, AND GOOD LUCK!
1. RESEARCHStart with the UCAS website. You can research your course of interest here, and where you can study it. Once youve found out where you can study, its time to do some background research on the institutions! Do you want to study close to or far away from home? On campus, or off campus? Big institution or small? Decide what youre looking for first, and then find out which institutions can offer you this.
Theres lots of useful websites to help you with your research besides institution websites, such as:www.university.which.co.ukwww.whatuni.comwww.unistats.comwww.prospects.ac.ukwww.ucas.comwww.opendays.com
2. VISITWhichever institution you choose, youll be studying (and probably living) there for the next 3-4 years! Make sure its somewhere youd be happy with by visiting an Open
Day. Youll find details on the institutions websites, or you can visit:www.opendays.com
Check out our previous Trinity Top Tips for Open Days at:leedstrinity.ac.uk/toptips
3. APPLYWhen applying by UCAS, youll have a choice of five universities (with the exception of Dentistry, Veterinary Sciences or Medicine). Deadlines for applications are:
15 OCTOBER 2012 Oxbridge, Dentistry, Veterinary Sciences and Medicine
15 JANUARY 2013 Majority of courses
Although these are the official deadlines, wed strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. This will free up your time to concentrate on your studies, which will ultimately determine whether you get your place, or not!
By Jimmy Kennedy, Leeds Trinity Schools and Colleges Liaison
CHOOSING A COURSE AND UNIVERSITY
4. OFFERSAfter you have applied universities will respond to your application and you may receive an unconditional or conditional offer. An unconditional offer is very rare however if you receive one and you accept then you must go to that university. A conditional offer means that providing you meet criteria set by the institution you will be accepted. Youll need to choose your first and second
choice of university out of the offers youve been made these are known as your firm and insurance choices. Make sure your insurance choice is well researched and somewhere you would be happy to study as this will save you lots of time and stress in the event that you dont get the grades for your first choice.
WRITING YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT
By Lucy Wright, Leeds Trinity Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer
Your personal statement is your chance to stand out from the crowd. It supports your application and allows you to sell yourself, your passion and your desire to study the course. Personal statements are absolutely vital in the decision making process of universities, who use them to get an idea of your character and if youd be right for their course. Ive helped 1000s of students with their personal statements over the years, so follow these top tips and youll be onto a winner!
1. STRUCTURECreating a structure for your personal statement will give you direction when you start writing it. Try to link each paragraph so that your personal statement flows well.
2. INTRODUCTIONBe sharp and concise. In no more than four lines, introduce the subject you are interested in and why it interests you. Avoid the word always, make sure the introduction is personal to you and that it does not read like an academic essay.
3. ACADEMIC INFOYoure applying for a place in higher education, so show off your academic credentials. Make sure you answer:
a. What are your key skills, and how do they relate the course youre applying for?b. What subjects have you studied that link to
your course of interest?c. Have you taken part in any projects relevant to your course of interest?d. Can you talk about the subject theory alongside what you have seen in your work experience? Linking the work experience and academic info paragraphs can work really well.e. Further reading and subscriptions to academic journals are also a good way to demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm. REMEMBER!
Universities want students that show intelligence, so make sure you do some background research on your course, show that you understand it and comment on the aspects youre looking forward to. If you can show youve read more than just a webpage or the prospectus, youll be sure to stand out.
4. WORK EXPERIENCEIts crucial that you demonstrate that youre enthusiastic and knowledgeable about what you are applying for, and one of the best ways to do this is to write about any relevant work experience youve had. Make sure you include:
a. What you didb. What skills you used, or new skills you have learntc. How you will apply these skills on the course
If you cant get relevant work experience, make sure you understand the personal qualities required on the course and demonstrate them through other jobs you may have had you should focus on transferable skills.
5. EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
This is what will help you to stand out universities like to have a variety of students with different interests, part-time jobs, hobbies, background and experiences. Make sure you answer:
a. What extra-curricular activities do you take part in?
b. Why do these make you different from everyone else?
Try to link your interests to your course as this will demonstrate your enthusiasm
6. A FINAL FEW POINTERS Explain each point you make, with
evidence then explain how you will apply it. Writing in simple list form is tedious to read, and will not make a good first impression to someone in higher education!
Spelling check, check and check again! Remember its YOUR personal statement.
Dont copy others or lie just be yourself. This is what university is all about.
Youve got 47 lines (or 4000 characters) use them wisely! Make use of all space, so write more than you need and edit down to keep the best parts.
Make sure your personality comes across this is your moment to shine!
Add any career aspirations that you may have to demonstrate you commitment to the course
Emma Briscoe is studying Primary Education at Leeds Trinity, and loves it! She shares how she made the choice that was right for her:
1. DEFINE YOUR CRITERIAI spent a long time researching all my options to narrow it down to five top choices. Set yourself criteria such as, do you want to be near home or move away? Dont just go to a uni because your friends are going, this is about you and your future.
2. ATTEND OPEN DAYSThis is vital as you cannot tell what the uni is like from pictures on a website (remember you will be there for 3 years). When you are at the uni, ask loads of questions, there are always people about who are happy to talk
to you. When I came to visit Leeds Trinity, there was a warm, welcoming atmosphere and a general lively buzz around the campus. As soon as I walked through the doors, I knew this was the place for me
3. RESEARCHResearch all the courses you may be interested in and find out the modules you will actually be studying, these should be on the uni website and in their prospectus. You can also ring the uni and they will discuss any further queries with you.