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It’s important you choose a subject you enjoy and will help you reach your goals. Here are some things to help you choose the right subject for you:
- Think about what you enjoy day-to-day – maybe this could be part of a future job role?
- Explore different job sites and graduate career options to look for ideas on what you’d like to do once you've finished your studies.
- Think about your career goals and the qualifications required as part of a person specification.
- Take a look at our subject guides to get an idea of the types of subjects you could study, and the industries graduates go on to work in.
- Search for courses by subject to see what's available.
UK courses tend to be very specialised from day one, allowing students to focus on their chosen subject. However, there are others that allow you more flexibility in what you study. Make sure you read the course descriptions carefully, and click through to university websites for further information.
After leaving school, most students going onto university or college study for an undergraduate degree. These are usually made up of modules (some compulsory and some optional) that add up to a full degree. Here are some examples of the types of undergraduate courses you can do from most Universitys and Colleges in the UK.
- Bachelor degree courses
- Foundation years
- Diploma in Foundation Studies (art and design)
- Foundation degrees
- Degree or graduate level apprenticeship
- HNCs, HNDs, and other incremental routes
- Higher Technical Qualifications
Most students study undergraduate courses full-time, however this is not the only way. There are lots of different modes of study, designed to fit around your own circumstances.
- Distance and blended learning
- Accelerated degrees
- Work-based learning
Some students set their heart on a particular university, while others just want to choose the course they like the sound of best. Either way is fine, but make sure you do your research, as changing your university or college once you’ve started isn’t always easy.
Find the right accommodation. Finding somewhere you'll be happy to live is an important consideration when you're deciding where you want to study.
Here are four top tips to help you when choosing where to study:
- Attend an open day or if you can't visit in person, you can go to an online open day – we cannot recommend this enough. It’s an opportunity for you to meet the course tutors, see the facilities, and explore the area.
- If you can’t attend an open day, explore the campus with a virtual tour.
- Check the application deadline – some universities and courses have a different application deadline, so make sure you know the deadline associated to your chosen course or uni.
- Check the entry requirements – different courses and universities will have different entry requirements, which you can check on the course listing. Some universities and colleges make contextual offers. This is where the university or college considers any barriers you may face, and will either reduce their grade requirements or give extra consideration when deciding whether to give you an offer.
If you still need more information about undergraduate courses visit https://www.ucas.com/
EU students starting courses on or after 1 August 2021 must have settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme to get student finance. This does not apply to students who are Irish citizens.
It’s important that you’re aware of this requirement before applying for student finance, otherwise you will not be eligible for funding.
Visit the EU Settlement Scheme information guide on GOV.uk for more information.
The UK Government has announced that EU other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status for undergraduate, postgraduate, and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2022/23. This change will also apply to further education funding for those aged 19+, and funding for apprenticeships.
Check the GOV.UK website for further information.
These are the maximum tuition fees depending on where you’re from and where you’re studying.
Tuition fees by region for courses starting in 2022 to 2023
Student loans can include a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan to help with your living costs.
- Tuition Fee Loans, to cover the full cost of your course, are paid directly to the course provider, and you won’t have to pay it back until after your course, when you’re earning above a certain level.
- Maintenance Loans can be applied for at the same time, lending you money at the start of each term (or monthly in Scotland). How much you get depends on your household income, where you study, where you live, and how long for.
- Students can apply for grants if they’re eligible for certain benefits, disabled, or need help with childcare costs. You can also find out more on the student finance pages on GOV.UK.
Student finance usually consists of a Tuition Fee Loan and a Maintenance Loan to cover – or at least partially help with – your university costs.
All full-time undergraduate students are eligible for student finance, provided they meet some basic criteria:
Residency – you’re a UK national or have settled status, normally live in your home country, and have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man for three years before the beginning of your course.
Your university or college – you’re studying at a recognised publicly-funded university or college (or a private institution studying a course approved for public funding).
Your course – you’re studying a recognised full-time course e.g. a first degree, a foundation degree, a Higher National Diploma (HND), or an initial Teacher Training course.
It’s your first higher education course – you can still get some funding if you’ve studied a HE course before, but it will be limited and you’ll have to make up any shortfall.
Both Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans must be paid back once you graduate and you’re earning above a minimum salary. Repayment systems vary from country to country.
You have to apply for student finance for each year of your course – not just your first year. This is to guarantee you get the support you’re entitled to throughout your studies.
You must apply to the student finance body in your country, as well as notify them of any changes to your circumstances, e.g. you leave or change your course. Below is a guide to who looks after student finance in each country.
It can take up to six weeks to process student finance applications. Make sure you apply early – even if you have a conditional offer – as you can amend or cancel your application if your plans change.
Tuition Fee Loans
Tuition Fee Loans are available to cover the full cost of tuition fees upfront. They’re paid directly to your university or college, so you don’t have to worry about them too much (until it comes time to repay them).
Usually you can get a Tuition Fee Loan for the duration of your course plus one extra year, e.g. in case you drop out and return at a later date.
Maintenance Loans are available to help with some of your living costs at university, e.g. accommodation, transport, food, and books. It’s unlikely this will cover all your living costs, in which case it’s up to you to make up the shortfall.
How much you get will work on a sliding scale, based on:
where you’re studying – students studying away from home in London receive more to account for the higher cost of living here, compared to those living at home.
your household income – students from lower income backgrounds are eligible for more – this is often referred to as ‘means-tested’ finance, and requires your parents/guardians to provide evidence of their income.
In some countries, Maintenance Loans are combined with non-repayable grants, with your household income deciding the ratio of loan-to-grant you get, i.e. students from lower income households receive higher grants and thus less in maintenance loans which they have to pay back.Whatever maintenance support you receive will be paid to you in instalments, at the start of each term.
There are also a number of grants and allowances to help with any extra costs you might incur while studying as a result of your personal circumstances, namely if you:
- are disabled
- are a parent
- have adult or child dependants you’re financially responsible for
- are facing financial hardship
To apply for these, you may have to undergo some form of assessment, e.g. to understand your needs due to your disability, or provide evidence that illustrates your situation, e.g. bank statements to show your financial hardship.
However, these extra sources of support can make a significant difference to your budget – and your student life in general. Plus, you don’t have to repay them.
What’s available and how much you can get will vary from country to country – read more in our regional finance guides: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Interviews and auditions help course tutors compare applicants before deciding what offers to make. If you have applied directly through our placement service then your interview may be carried out directly by us and you will receive your acceptance letter from the University.
It could be an interview or audition, or you might be asked to provide examples of your work – maybe a portfolio or an essay.
Finding out more about you is an ideal way for them to see if you'd be a good fit for the course.
- If they do send you an invitation, it could either be sent to you directly, or through your UCAS application. It’s best to contact the uni or college to find out how and where you will receive information about your interview.
- Universities and colleges say it can be difficult to change the times and dates of interviews, so if possible, try to go at the suggested time.
- If you can’t attend at the allotted time, you need to let the university or college know as soon as possible. If you received your interview decision through UK Graduate, the option to request a different time will be available. If you received the interview decision in another way, get in touch with the uni/college. When you've agreed a new date, they'll either update the invitation in your application or contact you directly to let you know.
Once you’ve completed your application, we pass it on to your chosen universities and colleges. They’ll review and consider – and may invite you to an interview or audition - before deciding whether to make you an offer. We will keep you updated via regular emails on the progress of your application.
Keep your details up-to-date
It’s really important you keep your contact details up-to-date to make sure you don’t miss any notifications.
How do universities make their decisions?
Each university has different entry requirements. You should check you meet the course and university entry requirements before you apply. However, there are other factors university admissions teams consider when making their decisions.
- What academic and non-academic achievements do you have? Have you met the required grades for the course, and what is the likelihood of you achieving the course entry requirements for any qualifications you haven't yet sat exams for?
- Do you have the experience and skills to succeed at university?
- Do you have a passion for the subject area, and does this enthusiasm come across in your application?
- Who are your references and what have they said about you?
- Is the course and uni you've applied for the right course and university for you?
- Have you included your individual circumstances? For example, have you been in care? Do you have a disability, such as a mental health condition? Admissions staff will want to consider your achievements in context. This is called ‘contextualised admissions’, and the aim is to form a more complete picture of you as an individual.
Ultimately, it's the job of the admissions team to determine whether you can succeed on the course you have applied for.
Either a conditional or unconditional offer is good news.
- A conditional offer means you still need to meet the requirements – usually exam results.
- An unconditional offer means you've got a place, although there might still be a few things to arrange.
- An unsuccessful or withdrawn choice removes that option, but you could add more.
Think of it like playing a game – you wouldn't let someone else take your turn, so why let someone else choose your future?
Make the decision to consider your options properly. You may have already spent months zig-zagging alternative choices, or you may have had your head in the sand. Either way, working through each of the alternatives below will help you make a more informed decision.
Look at the benefits of each option:
- applying for a place at university
- going on a gap year
- taking an apprenticeship or internship
Remember to focus on the positives. And you’re going to do it with imagination and have a little fun – you’re going to dive down that rabbit hole, see where these options take you, and what doors they open.
Look at each route and ask: What could your best life look like if you took this route? Pull yourself forward a year from now, then maybe five years. You could even challenge yourself to look further – ten or 15 years from now.
- Would you be settled in a city, by the sea, or nestled in the countryside?
- Living with a group of friends or with a partner?
- Will you have enough money to enjoy your perfect life since you’re good at budgeting?
Read and consider all the options for the greatest clarity.
Either for this year, defer, or choose to apply later.
First off, visualise being on your chosen course.
Consider applying for a course starting on the next available intake which can sometimes be any month of the year depending on course and institution.
Do you need a break from academic life? Fancy a trip doing something worthwhile? Or just want to hang around and build your life skills at home?
Most people who take a gap year stay home and work. About 10% travel abroad, either independently or as part of a gap year programme.
- Decide where you might be based.
- You’re having an adventure of some kind, maybe you’re working alongside old friends and/or making new ones.
- No deadlines and loads of opportunities, which will look great on your CV.
- You’ve learnt so much from being self-reliant.
- You’re pleased you made the decision to apply for a gap year even though a year ago you’d been so undecided.
Do you feel ready for employment? Do you enjoy the prospect of earning and working towards a qualification, having had high quality training?
Apprenticeships have evolved so much in recent years, and you can do an apprenticeship in just about anything at different levels, from intermediate through to degree. They can be full or part-time.
Do you want to do something completely new and different? Internships, volunteering, and trying out alternative work options will reward you with a greater understanding of the wider world.
Move around a lot and you’ll get a feel for several industries. In doing so you may find where you feel most at home. Look out for employers who you’d like to work for. Be bold. Get in touch with them – employers are impressed when you show initiative. Consider agency work if you want to investigate a range of workplaces.
Want to get in touch? We'd love to hear from you. Here's how you can reach us:
either complete the form below, email us or just pick up the phone to chat with a member of our team.