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Exploring your university options

Here's some information, ideas and, hopefully, inspiration about further study and career development.  To organise your ideas we've produced some planning resources that are automatically included in your Personal Planning Pack.   Contact the individual institutions if you need more information.  (Tip! Assemble a few details about yourself and the questions you want to ask before you phone, and bear in mind that the person you talk to may not be familiar with all aspects of every course offered.) Things to think about are:   

Where are you now?

  • Do you want to start your career, change career, or develop your existing career?
  • What qualifications and/or relevant experience do you have already?
  • Have you involved your employer or line manager (perhaps during an annual appraisal) in identifying suitable progression?
  • What are you good at?  What are you interested in?
  • In five years' time, what would you like to be doing?
  • What higher education level qualifications are you aiming for? Certificate? Diploma? Degree?

What do you need to know about the course and university?

  • Do you want to study locally, or do you want to go away to study?
  • Have you read the course descriptions carefully (either online or in the prospectus) to check that the modules are relevant to your areas of interest?
  • Do you have the qualifications, skills or experience to apply?  
  • When is it taught? How often will you need to attend college/university?
  • Does it include elements of distance/independent/e-learning?
  • Where is the campus? How easy will it be for you to get there? (Don't forget that local colleges also deliver higher education.)  

What practical arrangements do you need to take account of?

  • How will the course affect childcare or employment arrangements?
  • Is there an opportunity to do work based learning (for example, by using elements of your job for a project)?
  • How will you manage your time, especially if you need to do some study at home?
  • How much will the course cost and is financial help available?
  • Are there any other issues to ask the institution about?  For example, study skills support, IT facilities, parking costs.  
  • If you're planning to go away to university to study fulltime, have you looked at the Student section of UCAS for advice about the whole process of applying and how you can prepare to start university?



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