Choosing five university courses to apply to through UCAS can be a long process, and it is best to get started as early as possible. Many of you will have been planning to attend some university open days and UCAS exhibitions over the coming weeks, and hopefully you will still have these opportunities either later in the summer or in the autumn. However, there is plenty of research you can do online during this period of lockdown which will help you narrow down your options.
Lots of universities were already developing virtual tours of their campus before the lockdown, with some even using VR technology on their stands at careers fairs! UCAS have put together a list of universities offering these. What better way to check out campuses from St Andrews in the north to Exeter in the south, from the comfort of your own living room?
Many universities offer the chance to talk live to current students or members of support staff- if you search for “university live chat” you will find a whole list, or search for the specific universities you want to target to see if they offer this. This is a great way to ask all your burning questions about what it is really like to study a particular subject, settling in at university, or other opportunities that are available.
Virtual Open Days and Events
Universities are keen to give you a taste of what it would be like to study with them, and UCAS have put together another list of virtual events that are in the pipeline. For example, UCFB are putting together an entire virtual open day to inform you about their courses in the football and sport industry and Leeds College of Music will be showing their open day presentations and offering live chats with their course leaders and student support staff.
With universities unable to get their outreach teams out to visit schools and colleges, they will be offering support for your applications, student finance advice and information on other aspects of student life like accommodation through online presentations. Uni Taster Days has details of lots of these- Edge Hill University, Newman University and City, University of London have several talks available.
Subject specific events
Within that list and on Uni Taster Days you will also find subject specific tasters, such as the University of Leicester’s events offering tasters in Medicine and other Health professions, Business, Sciences and their School of Arts throughout late April and mid-June. These events usually take the form of webinars that you can just watch, with some opportunities for discussion and participation if you feel like it.
Another way to get a taster of university study is by completing an online course- there are lots of these available for free on websites like FutureLearn. The University of Leeds has developed a series of online courses for schools that are designed for your level of knowledge and could help you decide whether a certain degree course is right for you- these range from atmospheric chemistry and anatomy, to literature, medicine and business.
General website research
In addition to all these ways to engage with universities online, there is of course simple website research. This could be getting an idea of what degrees you can access with your Level 3 subjects via Informed Choices, checking their entry requirements on UCAS, or looking for advice on TheUniGuide. Once you have a list of possible courses, visit the universities’ own websites for full details of what their course is like- remember all universities teach the same subjects in different ways and focus on different aspects, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. You can use your Unifrog account to start shortlisting and comparing different options, making notes of your thoughts so you don’t have to remember everything you have read.
Online HE and careers advice
If you have any questions about accessing Higher Education or your career options more generally while school is closed, complete the online form with your questions and somebody from the CareersInc team will respond within two working days. We are here to help!