Having now attended the first of our UCAS Conferences on Friday, and understood the importance of research and undertaking it as early as possible, I would like you to complete a series of small tasks in time for your initial meeting with your Mentor on the 17th June in school at our second Conference (your Mentor and appointment time will be given to you on the morning of the 17th). These tasks, and those set after each meeting by your Mentor are to ensure that these meetings are meaningful and help to structure your research and application. I realise that IB students will be using the time leading up to the Conference to revise and to sit their mock examinations, however, students will still be expected to have completed at least one or two of the research tasks before their mentor meeting. A level students have significant time available to them before the Conference and therefore it will be expected that they have completed all the tasks outlined below by the 12th, as well as their A2 preparatory tasks by the time we return to school after Half Term.
• Each student must start to draw up a potential shortlist of subject areas that they might consider studying at university (or for those unsure about the university option, a range of occupations) by thinking about either what they enjoy in their current studies, related subjects that they currently aren’t studying or any potential careers that they would like to follow. Further advice is given in your UCAS Pack under ‘Some tips on Researching a Course and University’.
• You must then undertake some basic research to whittle these potential subjects (or occupations) down to something more manageable. To aid you with this task you need to look at a range of course descriptions at a range of universities to try to make a judgement about what it is actually like to study that subject at undergraduate level. Additionally, if the subject choice has an obvious link to an occupation i.e. Engineering or Law, then you should look at websites that give you an idea of what it is like to work in that occupation on a day to day basis, for example www.doctorjob.com.my gives you some career profiles and www.fasttomato.com (24hr guest account) gives you some basic guidance on suitable courses/ careers, but there are many more resources available in your pack.
• Using your Term 2 report as a guide to your potential grades you should then start to look at a range of universities perhaps one grade above and below your current attainment and print off a range of course profiles. You should use these profiles to then make a note of the skills that the departments are looking for in a successful undergraduate on that course, and think about how you are going to be able to evidence these skills through your current studies or outside interests. Note that www.push.co.uk may be a useful resource here.
• I would then like you to think of 2 further research tasks that you will have to complete to help you with your course search that you can suggest to your UCAS Mentor.
• For those considering a Gap Year, then I would still like you to complete the tasks above as we would still encourage you to either make a deferred application or undertake as much as the research this year as possible. For those of you considering employment/apprenticeships then I would advocate that similarly you undertake the above tasks, but obviously substitute occupations for courses and explore school leaver schemes in your research.
When you meet your Mentor on the 12th June you will be expected to produce some evidence of completing these preparatory tasks (at least some initial research for IB students), therefore it is essential that you keep a note of your work and print off relevant evidence to bring with you.
Finally don’t forget, that this is a very important part of your time in the Sixth Form and the work that you put in between now and the end of term is essential in making sure you are able to make a competitive and timely application.