Preparing For Life at University – The Next Step
As you get ready to finish secondary school, the thought on most students’ minds is what do I need to do to prepare for University? How am I going to pick the right university for what I want to do? What do I need to do to ensure I have a good chance of being accepted?
The first step to this is to start looking early. Some people start looking when they start secondary school. However, you do not need to start quite so early. In many cases, you need to start looking in your second to last year. It is generally not the best idea to wait until your last year to start looking and preparing. Many universities require A-level exams.
You need to have the time to prepare and study for these exams and if necessary retake them before you need to submit the grades and your applications to the relevant university. There are a few steps that can help you prepare.
Choosing a University
- The first step is to actually choose a university. Consider what you want to do. Certain universities are going to be better for degrees focused on science while others are better for those looking into the Arts. You are going to want to look for a programme that is going to offer you the best education in preparation for entering the job market.
- In order to understand which programme is going to work for you, you need to have a clear idea of what your chosen career or field of study requires. To obtain this information look at job postings and do not be afraid to call companies and ask what they look for. You may be surprised at what you discover and it can make a huge difference in the types of programmes and universities you consider.
Once you have chosen a university you need to consider what it is going to take to increase your chances of being accepted. Look at what the entrance requirements for the university are. Here are some tips to help you:
- Talk to the administrative staff at the University.
- Take a good look at what they require as far as A-level exams go.
- Keep an eye on deadlines – you want to make sure that you can have everything completed by the appropriate deadlines.
Knowing when the deadlines are is not everything you need to know about deadlines. You also have to understand what the deadlines mean and why they are so important. Getting your application into the university on time is actually the culmination of all your efforts. The first step to making sure you have everything is to make sure you have your A-level exams completed.
Exams are generally proctored at certain times of the year. You have to make sure to take the exams far enough ahead of your application deadline that you can obtain the results and retain them if necessary and have the new results in time to include in your application.
Filling Out Applications
Once you have everything gathered, it is time to fill out the application. Many applications require essays in addition to the standard basic information and exam scores. Answering these essay questions can be the deciding factor on your acceptance so it is important that you study previous application questions and look at study guides that tell you what universities are looking for in answers.
- Make sure that all the information that you present in your application is correct and that everything is filled out. Many universities will not let you know that an application is not correctly filled out. They will simply inform you that you have not been accepted. Go over every field and make sure everything is filled out and that it is correct.
- While you might have your heart set on a particular university or programme, it is a good idea to have several back-up options in place. You can always turn down multiple offers, but failing to get into the first university you have on your list and then trying for the second can leave you scrambling. It does not take that much more time or effort to fill out multiple applications at the same time.
- Most of the time, universities will all have application deadlines around the same time period but this is not always the case. Make sure that you fill out all the applications and get them in on time. It never hurts to submit your application early if you have everything together.
Additional Requirements and Following up
Submitting your application is just the first part of the process. There are some universities and colleges that have additional requirements. In many cases, they may require an interview. This is designed to help them narrow the field and is most often used when there are only a few spots available in a particular area but a large number of applications.
Individuals who pass the initial requirements come in for an interview. There is usually a panel of administration from the university and they will ask questions. They may not ask questions related to the field. They may ask about hobbies, community service or even musical interests.
It is also important that you follow up during each aspect of the process. You want to make sure that your application was received and where it is in the process. The internet is a great tool for the entire process. Many universities now place all of their application requirements online as well as their applications. In some cases, they even have a site that you can log into that will show you where your application is in the review process.
Applying for university is not difficult if you remember to start early, get everything in on time, and do what you need to do to handle everything from the application to the interview. It all starts with taking a little time to research the various universities and their requirements.