Monday, 19 March 2018

The Dos and Don’ts of Writing an Academic Essay (EPQ Advice #4)

Hi, welcome to what I believe will be my final EPQ advice blog. Sorry this has come later than expected, but, after taking you through researching your topic (read about it here), here are the dos and don’ts of writing your academic EPQ essay (or any academic essay for that matter:

DO make an essay plan – my essay plan was honestly my saviour throughout the writing process. It kept me sane. Without a plan, it’s easy to get lost in all the words and points and research, leaving you with a final product which is illogical and difficult to follow. Even having some basic ideas like different sections to your essay can keep you on track.

DON’T forget to reference – any ideas which come from your research (whether this is a direct quote or just a concept) needs to be accurately referenced. Crediting the right source is key if you want to avoid plagiarism, so whilst you can compile your full references after writing your first draft (as I did), make sure you’ve somehow noted where you got you points from so you can come back to them later.

DO answer the question – this sounds obvious, but it’s very easy to go off on a tangent when your essay is long, so constantly remind yourself of your question/title and what you aim to conclude. I found that sub-conclusions at the end of each section made it clear how each argument was relevant.

DON’T over-complicate – ‘academic essay’ makes it sound like a big deal, but in terms of language and structure, it’s very similar to regular essays written throughout school. Keep it simple. The most important thing is making sure your essay is clear, easy to understand and linked to research. So don’t stress out trying to include too much sophisticated language or complicated sentences.
DO relax – you’re an expert on your topic after all that research! The writing will come easier than you think.

Remember these few things, and you’re all set. I hope you guys found my EPQ blogs helpful, I’ll be back soon with something new.


Managing Homesickness While at University

When the buzz of Fresher’s Week dies down and Fresher’s Flu kicks in homesickness tends to launch a sneak attack. It’s something that happens to many students, not just first years, and it’s something than can be managed without ruining your Uni experience.

Try following these simple steps!

Keep in contact with family
It’s very easy to let your contact with family and friends from back home slide when you’re at Uni but with social media it’s incredibly easy now to stay in contact! Make sure to have a catch-up with your family and friends as often as you can, even if it’s just once a week. Send them a quick text or have a mammoth Facetime session and you never know how much better you’ll feel after!

Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Keeping on top of your physical health massively affects your mental health. Eat well, exercise regularly, socialise regularly and get enough sleep and you’ll be much better equipped to deal with starting Uni and coping with homesickness.

Plan holidays early
If, like me, you have to catch a flight to get home then book it well in advance or similarly book train tickets so that you have something to look forward to. It can help a lot to know exactly when you’ll be going home next instead of having no plans to count down to!

Get to know yourself
Up until Uni your identity has mostly consisted of your school life and home life. Everything can be turned upside down when you move and sometimes people are unsure of who they are around new people. Set aside some time alone to get to know yourself and who you are without your family and friends and learn how to feel comfortable without the familiarities of home.

Seek help
If all else fails, make sure to seek help early. Most Universities have counselling in place to help students manage a range of issues including homesickness. You can also chat to new friends and tutors and they may be able to put your mind at rest. Most Uni students suffer from homesickness at some point during their studies. You are definitely not alone and there’s lots of help out there!

Monday, 12 March 2018

The UCAS Teacher Training application fee is now just £1

It now costs just £1 to apply for postgraduate teacher training programmes starting in 2018. But you won’t miss out on this if you’ve already applied – we’re refunding £23 to anyone who has applied since the application cycle opened in October 2017.

Why does it cost less to apply now?

The Department for Education is subsidising the UCAS Teacher Training application fee. This subsidy will be in place until the end of July 2018, so apply as soon as possible to benefit from it.

I’ve already applied and paid £24. How do I get my refund?

You don’t need to do anything – we’ll automatically process your refund and send you an email when it’s complete. The money will be refunded to whichever credit or debit card you paid your application fee with, within the next four weeks.

Sign in to your UCAS Teacher Training application to get expert advice about becoming a teacher

Recently started a teacher training application but not submitted it yet? Sign up to receive free advice from the Department for Education’s Get Into Teaching Team – just sign in to your application and go to the ‘Personal details’ section.

Questions about this change? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

Why I Applied To Uni

I’ve had many different opinions about applying for uni. When I was in my final year of sixth form, I applied much like many other people in my year. After applying and receiving my offers I changed my mind and withdrew my application. I realised the courses I applied for just weren’t the ones I wanted to be doing and at the time uni just wasn’t for me. However, after working for a couple of years I completely changed my mind.

For the last few years I’ve toyed around with ideas of writing, creating little pieces here and there. I’ve run a blog where I’ve reviewed movies and TV shows among other things and after doing this for around a year it made me realise I wanted to create my own content in that industry. This spurred my decision to apply for a film and tv production course. Had I not of had this time to think about the choice to go to uni I honestly don’t think I would’ve been applying for a course I really wanted to do.

I suppose one of my main reasons for applying to uni is that I simply wanted to learn. I’ve always found the film industry fascinating in literally every aspect and have always wanted to learn the tricks of the trade. I’d love to be able to write and produce my own TV series one day although I’d love to have my fingers in all the pies so applying for a Film & TV Production course was perfect for me. Another main reason why I applied to uni is from watching other people I know thrive and succeed in things they’ve become so passionate about. Watching my friends graduate and go into so many exciting avenues in their lives I thought to myself ‘I want to do that!’ so I did!

Although in my particular university story there has been more than a few times when I’ve veered off in a completely different direction to what I was expecting I couldn’t be happier that I’ve finally decided to go. I feel like it can’t come around quick enough and I can’t wait to start in September.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Unconditional offers: are they as great as they seem?

When I first received my unconditional offer I wasn’t as happy as you would imagine.
This year I am hoping to do English Literature BA as an undergraduate. I began my UCAS application in October last year and the offers started arriving within a week of submitting and my final offer arrived a month later. Disclaimer: don’t worry if your offers don’t arrive as quickly as mine, I was just lucky and you should remember that it can vary based on what course you apply for and the universities you choose to apply to. You should also note that the process of offering a place varies, some places may wish to interview or see a portfolio before accepting you onto a course.

Anyway, by my fourth week of receiving offers I had been given conditional offers from 4 out of the 5 that I had applied to (Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff and Exeter).Then I received my final offer from Birmingham.  An unconditional. I had heard about unconditional offers before and knew they were rare, I was in no way sure I would get one but I had been hopeful, they were a stressed student’s dream come true and I don’t know anyone who would have complained about getting one.
But, there I was after receiving it, silenced.
Why was I not dancing around and breathing a sigh of relief that university wasn’t riding on my performance in the exam hall?

I was beaming when I was given the offer from the University of Nottingham with entry requirements of AAA. It was the only town and university I had visited and I had decided then and there that I was going there and that was that.

I hadn’t even looked at Birmingham or any of  the others when it came to applying- I had done a little research on rankings and the best institutions for English and had chosen the other places purely based on that.

I had applied to the University of Birmingham just like the majority of the others, without visiting, and now I was facing this choice.

Since then I have done my research on Birmingham and discovered its a brilliant university that is so much more than it’s position on a table. The city has great shops and nightlife and the university has a great student union, a range of clubs and brilliant facilities. I’ve visited the city now and went to the university applicant visit day and I feel it’s a great fit for me. It has been a happy ending for me however it got me thinking about how many students will visit one university, set their heart on it and not bother to look around others. I seriously urge all of you whether you believe you will receive an unconditional offer or not to look around as many universities as you can so that when you make your decision you have gained the best possible information about where the best place for you is.

If you have any question get in touch!

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