APPLYING TO HIGHER EDUCATION 16th SEPTEMBER 2013 Demand for University Places • • • • 2013 entry: Nationally applicants up by 3.5% NI applicants up by 7.1% QUB applicants up by 2.9% or 28% including Nursing and Midwifery. Changes in A level Grades • 2.6% drop in number of A* & A grades awarded in 2013. • Removal of January AS and A level exam sitting by English exam boards for 201314. Demand for University Places • Competition for places intense. • Heavy cuts to public funding means strict controls on number of new students an institution can recruit. • If this number is exceeded, severe penalties are applied to the institution. Demand for university places • Despite the high level of overall demand, there are places available on many courses in Clearing, though few in QUB or UU or on high demand courses. • All applicants are advised to think hard about the course and institution which best suits them. • Choose both firm and insurance offers carefully. Student Number Controls • • • • Separate quotas for: Home and EU students Rest of GB students International Students Student Number Controls • Applicants with ABB+ grades at English Universities won’t count towards an institution’s student number population. • Universities can expand their number of places for ABB+. May choose not to. • Doesn’t mean an automatic place for those with ABB+ • Some extra places in August. • Still very competitive. • Govt. cap on places with >ABB. 2010-11 Admissions Statistics, Edinburgh University College Applicat Offers ions 29,813 6,748 Hum & Soc Sci Med & 4,459 Vet Sci & Eng 12,817 University 47,089 Accepts 2,204 Offer Chances 22.6% 901 458 20.2% 5,188 1,140 40.5% 12,837 3,802 27.3% Use of the A* Grade • Competitive university courses often ask for grades rather than tariff points. • Increasing use of A* in offers. • Oxbridge offers: AAA – A*A*A • Other universities include Durham, Exeter, Birmingham, London (King’s, Imperial), LSE, Oxford, Bristol, Bath, QUB. • Note that entry grades can change during application cycle – just a guide. UU range. The UCAS Tariff A level grade Tariff Points (AS) A* 140 A 120 (60) B 100 (50) C 80 (40) D 60 (30) E 40 (20) TIMETABLE OF EVENTS • Ist Oct : CUKAS • 15th October: UCAS deadline for receipt of applications for Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Oxford and Cambridge. • 27th September: school deadline. • 15th January : UCAS deadline for all other courses ( 24TH March ) • 8th November : school deadline : why? • 26th Sept; 17th Oct: personal statements. • 14th Nov: mock interviews. Apply by 10th Oct. APPLICATIONS TIMETABLE • Direct applications include: • Some colleges of Art and Design. • Education at St. Mary’s University College, Belfast. • Higher Education courses at Belfast Metropolitan College and other F.E. colleges. Social Work at BMC: apply through UCAS. Applications to ROI • www.cao.ie • Up to 10 course choices. • No personal statement, predicted grades or school reference. • Selection based on A-level results. • Apply by 1st February (40 Euro). • 2550 Euro registration fee. • Often need 4 A levels. CAO Tariff Points Grade A level AS level A* 150 - A 135 65 B 120 60 C 100 50 D 75 35 E 40 20 Universities outside B. Isles • • • • • • • • • • • Netherlands : Apply by July Application form; motivation letter; reference. Website: www.studielink.nl Lower tuition fees £1535/yr £588 ave. living costs. (rent approx £320) USA High tuition fees Scholarships – academic; sporting; Fulbright Direct application www.fulbright.org.uk UCAS Applications • • • • • • • • • Apply online (£23 or £12) Available from 1st September. Up to 5 course choices Only 4 medicine/dentistry/veterinary courses Either Oxford or Cambridge Change or withdraw application within 7 days. Hardest section is personal statement: Help available from careers staff: parental help vital too. Especially important for high demand courses, but use varies among institutions. Course Choices • Up to 5 courses (add courses up to 30th June if <5) • Alphabetical order • Each university only sees its own courses • Keep 2 offers : Conditional firm (first choice) and conditional insurance : lower grades/points ( second choice). • Choose these carefully, esp CI – little room for manoeuvre in August. Confirmation, Clearing and Adjustment in August. • • • • • • • • • • If meet conditions of CF university will accept you. If meet CI but not CF, will be offered CI If meet neither : choose a course in clearing UCAS Extra : early clearing (25th Feb – end of June). May be accepted with reduced offers. May or may not accept equivalent, eg. AAC instead of ABB. May offer a change of course. Often have to wait for news. Be prepared : read info sent by UCAS and HEIs Very few courses in QUB or UU in Clearing in 2013. Personal Statement • • • • 47 lines (350-550 words). Basically 3 broad sections. 1. Academic section – the main one. Those aspects of their A-level subjects which they have enjoyed and have influenced their choice of H.E. course. • Why they want to study their chosen courses – show evidence of careful research. Personal Statement (2) • • • • 2. Extra-curricular activities Inside and outside school. Not a list. Analyse how these have helped them to develop as a person. • What skills and qualities have they acquired through participation in these activities. Personal Statement (3) • • • • • 3. Work experience & career plans Work placements relevant to their courses. Part-time jobs. Future career plans, if known. Analyse what skills and qualities they have gained from these experiences. • Analyse all experiences and relate, where appropriate, to chosen courses. High Demand Courses • • • • • • • • • • • Subjects vary among universities, but can include: Medicine/Dentistry/Vet. Science Allied Health Professions Nursing/Midwifery Law Teaching English/History/Economics/International Relations Business Management/Accounting Sports Science/Studies Pharmacy; STEM subjects. How do universities deal with the competition for places? • Raise entry requirements. • Ask for grades instead of UCAS Tariff points. • Impose a minimum standard of achievement at GCSE. • Admissions tests. • Unit grades. • Compulsory interview/multi mini interviews • Consider non-academic criteria. • See ‘entry profiles’ on www.ucas.com Personal Statement • • • • • • • Interest and commitment to subject. Commitment to career in profession. Relevant work experience. Positions of responsibility. Skills gained from these experiences. Ability to think independently. Personal statements may be ‘scored’ by admissions tutors, but are used differently by different universities – check. Personal Statements : UU • Faculty of Arts: must be well written with correct punctuation, grammar and spelling. • No more than 2 areas of interest – for medium demand courses. • Total commitment to: 2 sports degree courses, social work and nursing. • Recommend this for health-related and popular vocational courses too. • State if only applying to NI Institutions. Personal Statements: QUB • Must focus only on one degree subject: medicine, dentistry, nursing & midwifery, education. • Otherwise can mention 2 alternatives • QUB doesn’t score personal statement or focus on it as much as other universities. • Important in borderline decisions in August. How can applicants improve their chances? • Do their research – know what the universities applied for require. • Academic entry requirements – including GCSEs – do they have them or are they predicted to achieve them? • Fulfilling any other requirements, eg. Work experience – see entry profiles and prospectuses. • Do they have a life outside their studies? How can applicants improve their chances? (2) • Make the most of the application form. • Be focused and relevant. • Make sure to include all the necessary information. • Communicate enthusiasm for and understanding of the subject applied for. • Ensure that grammar and spelling are correct. Sources of Guidance and Information - Events • 11th September : UU Open Day. • 13th September : QUB Open Day. • 12-13th September : Higher Education Convention, Methodist College, Belfast. • 29th August: Pre-UCAS Day (BHS) • 30th August : Assessment Day (BHS). • Open days at other H.E. institutions. • 14th November : Mock interviews. Events (2) • PWC Insight Days: www.pwc.co.uk/careers • 7th Oct: QUB Management School Parents Evening 5.30-8.00pm • 17th Oct: Humanities & Social Science – A Route to Employment 7-9pm • 23rd Oct: UU Allied Health Professions • 4th Nov: QUB Engineering Parents Info Evening Sources of Guidance and Information - school • Thursday afternoon careers classes: • UCAS; interview skills; student finance & budgeting; student life; careers; high profile speakers. • UCAS supervisor. • DEL Careers Advisers. • UCAS guidance booklets. Sources of Information and Guidance – useful websites • www.ucas.com – parents zone. • Intranet – for pupils - careers • www.tqi.ac.uk – to compare university ratings across a number of indicators. • www.push.co.uk • www.prospects.ac.uk – graduate careers • www.careers-portal.co.uk • www.gap.org.uk • www.unistats.co.uk - KEY INFORMATION STATISTICS • www.yougofurther.co.uk - student-only community website supported by UCAS. Tailored info; online chat. • QUB student portal • UU “Going to University: A Guide for Families” Sources of Guidance and Information - books • Degree Course Offers (Brian Heap) • The Times Good University Guide - also at www.timesonline.co.uk • The Guardian University Guide : see www.education.guardian.co.uk • The Virgin Alternative Guide to British Universities. • University Interviews Guide. • UCAS parents guide. • See ‘Prospects’ handout. Career Pathways • • • • • Which degree? QUB Survey of Employers: 41% : no subject preference 41% : STEM 14%: Business Growth Areas in NI • • • • • • Advanced materials & Engineering* Finance & Business Services (IT etc) Life and Health Sciences Creative Industries Agri-Food *aerospace, electrical, electronics, automotive, renewables. STEM • Need for more STEM graduates in short & medium term. • 40,000 shortfall in UK/year • Aim of NISP: • 2030: NI: one of world’s foremost knowledge & entrepreneurial economies in world. • Needs x2 STEM graduates • 17th Sept : Belfast Telegraph QUB Open Day 2013 • • • • • 2013 ENTRY: Applications to QUB up by 4% Applications nationally down by 7% Good quality applicants Higher entry grades. Nursing & Midwifery • • • • • • First time in UCAS. 2636 applications for 401 nursing places 879 applications for 35 midwifery places Shortlisting for interview Rigorous interview Preparation : BHS; www.3fivetwotraining.com Increases in Applications • • • • • • • • • Highest increases: Computer Science (+46.3%) Chemical Engineering ( +30.6%) Actuarial Studies (+28.7%) Spanish & Portuguese (+22.7%) Finance (+18.7%) Dentistry (+17.3%) Agri-Food & Land Use (16.5%) Economics (+14.8%) Precise Grades Only • • • • • • • • • Chemical Engineering (MEng) Medicine* Biomedical Sciences Midwifery Actuarial and Risk Management *37 points GCSE/UKCAT threshold 592 interviewed 375 offers made 8 taken from reserve list in August (33 in 2012) Averaged Out Above Target • Finance • Nursing Averaged Out • • • • Film Studies Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Biomedical Sciences More places granted in latter tw0 Drop of <1 A level Grade • • • • • • • • • • • Business Information Technology Electrical & Electronic Engineering Chemistry Agri-Food and Land Use Biological Sciences PPE Economics ( 50-63 places) Modern Languages Music Relevant subjects crucial. Very good intakes Drop of 1 A level Grade • • • • • • • • • • • • • • BA degrees ( except for Mod. Languages & Film Studies) Computer Science – if Maths or Computing offered - 60 more places Architecture Civil Engineering Maths (need A in Maths) Physics (need BB in Maths & Physics) Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology Psychology Pharmacy Music Technology Dentistry, but only with A in Chemistry/ A* Social Work (1 – vg interview) Business Management Theology Drop of >1 A level grade • Environmental Planning • Law • Accountancy Summary • In all cases, performance in relevant subjects is vital • Numbers getting in below & on minimum entry grades are very small • Granting of extra places allowed these grade drops • 4th AS level very important in borderline decisions in August. • Changed course offers. Changes for 2014 Entry • Accounting AAB from AAA • Business Management ABB from AAB • International Business with a language ABB from AAB • Law AAB from AAA. 2014 Changes (2) • • • • • • New Courses: Software Engineering Maths & Finance Physics & Finance Food Science & Security MPlan in European Planning Applied A levels • Equal consideration to general A levels eg. Law or Accountancy: accept 3 Applied A Levels • Some exceptions where specific subject requirements, eg Computer Science : ICT not Applied ICT accepted. • 3 courses limit of 1 Applied A level: Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy. UU 2012 Entry • Strongly competitive environment • Constrained by cap on full-time student nos. • Less flexibility in August as more students staying in NI • Using more grade offers • Use of grade range offers • Use of gathered fields UU (2) • • • • • • • Less than 100 places in Clearing In 4 main areas: Built Environment Applied Modern Languages at UUC Computing & Engineering at Magee Performing Arts at Magee. Priority given to applicants over outsiders in Clearing. UU Admissions Criteria • Predicted grades, but actual achievements more important • Subject requirements ( read small print) • School reference • Personal Statement ( more important now) • Interview • Portfolio • Hpat Ulster - preparation course now available: • www.careerservices.ie/ UU Part-Time Study • Increasing interest in part-time study as a genuine alternative to full-time. • Flexibility – life/study balance • Costs – significantly cheaper • Competition for full-time places • Increasing range of degrees available • Application direct to Ulster • No cap on numbers. Flexible and Part-time Study • Link from home page : www.ucas.com • Open University: www.open.ac.uk/NI Alternatives to University • Level 4 Apprenticeships • ICT apprenticeship programme • School leaver programmes eg. Big 4 accountancy firms; M&S; Santander; Tesco; Asda; • Armed Forces • Foundation degrees, HNDs ( fees) • Employment. Conclusion • Majority of pupils in Ballyclare High School work very hard to achieve best possible GCSE, ASand A-level results. • Equally important to put similar effort into Higher Education course research, in order to realise full potential and make best use of achievements. • Onus is on students to undertake research, but as much advice and guidance as they need are available in the school careers department.