UCAS Journey – Part 2 -Finding your areas of interest – what next?

The UCAS Journey – Stage 2- What next ?

Now that you have found your way round the UCAS site, what are your next steps ? By this stage, you will have compiled a short list of courses you would like to apply to. Let’s take a practical example:

Rob is interested in a career in computing. He is currently studying A Levels in Maths, Physics and Geography. His predicted grades are A*, A*, A. This is a strong position to be in because in effect Rob meets or exceeds the entry requirements for the many universities which offer degrees in computing.

To help him decide Rob now needs to take a number of actions.

Deepen his research about those universities he is most interested in. At Pain Free we would advise him to find out about virtual Open Days at his top options and attend these.

He may know someone from school who enrolled as a student (past or present) at these institutions. Get in touch to hear the ‘real’ story, not the ‘sprinkled with fairy dust’ version.

Having done this, Rob needs to think about the key factors for him. These will include

    • Location – does he want to move away from his home environment or not ?
    • Campus university or not ? Some like the idea of an academic environment somewhat removed from the surrounding community. To others, that option would seem like hell.
    • Course structure – some of Rob’s choices include a year long placement – is that something he would value ?

Throughout this process, it is vital to talk. Speak with parents, siblings, peers, teachers about your thinking and listen to their feedback. As individuals, we all have loads of connections with diverse people who may have valuable insights about any proposed course/ university/career path.

Rob has clearly met the entry requirements – but even he has to be careful to include an ‘insurance choice’ when selecting his courses. An ‘insurance choice’ is a course which Rob could access if he failed to achieve one or more of his predicted grades. Think long and hard about this ‘insurance choice’. 

Hopefully it will not be needed but do not choose a course or location that you would not bewilling to go to. Here at Pain Free, we have encountered students who have failed to make the grade requirement for their firm choice and then had to consider a place/course they had no genuine interest in going to.