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The University Option. Dr Tony Barnhill. Why Go to University ?. Many university courses offer vocational degrees that are directly related to particular work areas e.g. accountancy, physiotherapy, social work.

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the university option

The University Option

Dr Tony Barnhill

why go to university
Why Go to University ?
  • Many university courses offer vocational degrees that are directly related to particular work areas e.g. accountancy, physiotherapy, social work.
  • A higher education qualification is essential for some careers like medicine, chartered engineering and architecture.
  • A degree can improve chances of getting a fulfilling job and achieving financial potential.
  • Universities bring together students from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Higher education develops important transferable skills, which can give your son or daughter an edge in the fast-changing world of employment.
  • Undertaking a higher education course gives applicants time to fully consider their future career.
  • Source: UCAS
which university
Which university ?
  • Things to consider
  • Your son or daughter should consider two issues when choosing where to go: the institution and its location.
  • Universities and colleges come in different 'styles': some are based at more than one campus, whereas others are on one site; some are formal and academic and others are more modern and relaxed. The location can have a big impact upon their experiences.
  • Attend an open day
  • Open days are one of the best ways to discover the good and bad points of a place - they will give your son or daughter an idea of what is on offer, and a chance to see if they will feel comfortable spending three or four years at the institution.
  • Consider costs
  • Tuition fees vary significantly across the UK and Ireland – NI is
  • currently highly competitive with fees of only £3,465 p.a.
  • Source: UCAS
which university continued
Which university ? (CONTINUED)
  • Which is the best university or college?
  • Different places suit different people, so it depends what your son or daughter is looking for.
  • The Quality Assurance Agency carries out external reviews
  • The Unistats website contains statistics and reports including the new Key Information Sets (KIS) which allow comparison of courses across institutions
  • The Sunday Times University Guide rates universities against certain criteria – but use league tables with care !
  • The Complete University Guide is an interactive site where applicants can choose their requirements and create their own unique table.
  • Source: UCAS
which course
  • Which is the best course?
  • Search for courses on the UCAS website
  • A list of available courses is available through the Course Search section of the website: your son or daughter can choose to search by subject, qualification, location, institution, course code and other specific options.
  • This search tool provides Entry Profiles for some courses, which include general information about the course and institution, with links to the institution's website.
  • Admissions tests
  • Some subjects require applicants to take an admissions test for particular institutions.
  • Source: UCAS
which course continued
  • Subject combinations
  • If your son or daughter wishes to study more than one subject - they may be able to combine the subjects into one qualification - a lot depends on what they choose to study. Examples of combinations :
  • joint: the two subjects are studied equally, 50%/50%major/minor: the time spent is usually 66%/33% or 75%/25%.
  • Sandwich courses
  • Certain vocational courses require the student to spend a year in industry, working that year as part of the course. This will usually be for the third year of a degree course and, depending on the employer, may be full-time paid employment.
  • The purpose of this is to introduce students to the world of work, whilst gaining valuable experience in a profession.
  • Source: UCAS
the ucas process
  • All applications for entry to full-time undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the UK must be made through UCAS - the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service
  • The UCAS process:
  • Applicant makes up 5 course choices (at same university or at different universities) + Personal Statement - using online UCAS Apply system
  • Normal cost for 2013 entry is £23 (if only 1 course choice - £12)
  • School or college adds Referenceand application is transmitted to UCAS
  • UCAS sends acknowledgement to applicant for checking
  • UCAS sends copies of application to all universities chosen
  • Each university makes decision on application(s)
the ucas process continued
  • Unconditional offer – where entry conditions have already been met (most often where examinations have been completed in a previous year)
  • Conditional offer – where entry conditions still have to be met (this being by far the most common offer made i.e. where examinations have yet to be taken)
  • Unsuccessful – where the university is unable to make any offer
  • After decisions are received from all universities, applicant decides which TWO to keep – any other offers are declined. Applicant replies online via “UCAS Track”.
  • The 1st choice offer is retained as the “Conditional Firm” (or C/F) choice
  • The 2nd choice offer is retained as the “Conditional Insurance” (or C/I) choice
  • The C/I choice should normally have LOWER entry requirements than the C/F
the ucas process continued1
  • At all times, applicants can check on the status of their application using UCAS Track
  • UCAS will also back-up important decisions with written confirmation e.g. a summary of all decisions made by universities once these have all been made
  • After results are published, universities confirm/do not confirm places
  • If applicant has met or exceeded the conditions of their offer the university MUST confirm the place and accept the applicant
  • If the applicant has NOT met the conditions, the university may not confirm the place, however…………………………………..
the ucas process continued2
  • If the applicant narrowly misses the requirements, the university may still confirm the C/F place – but this depends on other factors
  • Alternatively, where possible, a university may make a changed course offerto another similar course with lower entry requirements (applicants are not obliged to accept any changed course offer)
  • If neither of the above, the applicant may have his/her place confirmed on their C/I course if those requirements have been met
  • If this is not possible, then once again, a changed course offer may be made
  • If none of the above, then the applicant may enter CLEARING
the ucas process continued3
  • Clearing is a sub-system of UCAS which aims to match unplaced applicants with unfilled places
  • Available places are advertised by universities in the media and on the UCAS website (with entry requirements)
  • Applicants who are not holding any offers make direct contact with universities (one at a time) to negotiate a place
  • Fewer places are available in Clearing in recent years
the ucas process continued4
  • KEY UCAS DATES (2012/13 admissions cycle)
  • 15 October 2012 – UCAS deadline for applications to Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science/Medicine – and for all courses at Oxford and Cambridge
  • 15 January 2013 - UCAS deadline for all courses (except those with a 15 October deadline and for Art & Design courses with a 24 March deadline)
  • 24 March 2013 - UCAS deadline for some Art & Design courses (except those with a 15 January deadline)
  • 30 June 2013 - Applications received after this date are automatically entered into Clearing.
the cao process
The cao process
  • All applications for entry to full-time undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the Republic of Ireland must be made through CAO - the Central Admissions Office
  • The CAO process is significantly different to that for UCAS and NI pupils may make applications through both in the same year of entry
  • Applicants choose up to 10 degree level (level 8) courses and place these in strict order of preference in their application form (normally online)
  • In addition, applicants can choose up to 10 diploma level (levels 6/7) courses
the cao process continued
The cao process (continued)
  • Normal closing date for submission of applications is 1 February 2013, with a fee of €40
  • Where an earlier online application is submitted by 20 January 2013, there is a discounted fee of €25
  • RoI universities operate rating schemes for applicants (who have met minimum entry requirements) after examination results are known in summer
  • A list of applicants for each course is compiled in order of merit - where the applicant with the highest score appears at the top
the cao process continued1
The cao process (continued)
  • The number of places available on each course will dictate how many applicants are include in the above list
  • Potentially, an applicant with a high score (i.e. good exam grades) could appear within the order of merit listings for a number of their chosen courses within say, their degree choices. However, only one offer will be made – i.e. for their highest preference choice
  • The applicant may also get a second, single offer as a result of their parallel diploma level choices – exactly the same process takes place as with the degree choices
  • In any event, only one offer can be finally accepted by the applicant in summer i.e. either from their degree choices or their diploma choices