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Applying to uni, my journey

Rob Gresham Student Life

Applying for university can be a hassle. UCAS mostly hold your hand through it but the advice I would give is to do lots of research. The UCAS search tool is great, if a little daunting, and soon I found there were lots of different courses I wanted to do. My mind changed loads during this time, because you have to think ahead. You want a course that you are going to enjoy - that’s really important because you don’t want to be three weeks in wishing you’d done a course you’re passionate about rather than one you’ve been told has good job opportunities. However you also want to be challenged and feel confident with your degree when you finish. Forget your job after the degree and think about what kind of degree you’d be happy getting and one where you’ll be satisfied with yourself. 

The thing that I would emphasise the most about applying is the relation between your course and where you’re studying. For example Journalism is a good course to study in Newcastle because it’s a big city, so there’s always plenty of stuff going on. Newcastle offers a lot generally so whatever course you choose the city will help you out. Just have a big consideration of lots of different kinds of courses and don’t worry if you think you are leaving it too late or changing your mind a lot. 

I didn’t discover Northumbria till late on in the application process, and it was kind of a hidden gem. Newcastle was definitely where I wanted to study, but I didn’t realise Northumbria existed until I stumbled upon it whilst a visiting a friend who studies at Newcastle University. From there I looked on the website for more information on what kind of courses they had on offer. They had exactly the sort of one I was looking for: Journalism. I applied and got an interview. Building up to the interview I was terrified but the process was actually really chilled out. It was more to see if you’re suited to the course, instead than a serious examination of your abilities. 

Northumbria was my firm choice, because when I came to visit the campus for my initial interview I knew it was the place I wanted to study. This meant that all I needed was my grades. Results day didn’t go as well as planned and I was a grade off in one subject. This meant that I had to ring clearing and at first I pretty much begged for them to let me onto the course. Thankfully they gave me the option of a foundation year.

Getting offered the foundation year was a relief because it meant I still got to go to my first choice university. Without it, I would have had to go with my insurance choice, and sort out new accommodation etc. The foundation year was good because it was like a taster year for university. A chance to get my feet wet before swimming in the deep end. This year the whole experience isn’t as scary and I can focus on the work. It also means you get two go’s at the chaotic fresher’s. The foundation year course really geared me up well for my actual course, because we spent a lot of time learning how to reference essays, and manage the workload. This has meant that this year has been a breeze, and I feel somewhat ahead of those that didn’t do a foundation year. And if you end up on a foundation year, take solace in the fact that you can spend another year making the decision on what you want to do. Plenty of people on my foundation course ended up going on to a completely unrelated undergrad in the end.

Try and enjoy the applying process! 

You might only get to do it once!

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