Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Get a taste of university life with free courses from FutureLearn

Kathryn Skelton is Head of Strategy and Insight at FutureLearn.com. Here, she explains how courses on FutureLearn can help you choose the right degree and get ready for university.

When you’re at school, it can be tough to get your head around what university will be like as well as understanding the wealth of different degrees available and the careers they could lead to. Taking a course with FutureLearn - a website that offers short, free online courses from top UK and international universities - can help with both these problems.

You’ve done your UCAS application. Now what?
If you’ve already completed your UCAS application, there are three things you could do next: 

1. Get ready for interviews
“Why do you want to study with us?” That’s just one of the questions you’re likely to be asked at a university interview, and you’d be surprised at how many people it will trip up. Being prepared and understanding what universities are looking for in their applicants will help you to make a great impression. The University of Sheffield’s How to Succeed at: Interviews has all the advice you’ll need.

2. Learn to think critically
Critical thinking is an essential skill and one you’ll have to demonstrate when you start your course. In a nutshell, it means creating an argument by weighing up and using the data and information available to you. The University of East Anglia’s Preparing for Uni course will help you develop key skills like this one. 

3. Improve your English
If you’re coming to study in the UK from overseas, you’ll need to learn to write using academic English. There are some features to this style of writing that you might not have used before, in particular the stages of writing an essay. You can master the basics in A Beginner's Guide to Writing in English for University Study from the University of Reading.

Not sure what you want to do?
If you’re still choosing which degree to do, our courses can offer a taste of what studying and working in a field will be like – beyond the traditional subjects you’ll have experienced at school.

For example, you could find out what working in filmmaking, nursing, forensic science or overseas aid is like; explore areas such as mobile app development or cultural studies; or understand complex maths required for careers in engineering and science.

Talk about courses in your interview or application
Because our courses are developed by universities, you’ll get a real sense of what university-level study is like, and find out answers to questions such as: what materials will I be using at university, and what sort of work will I be doing?

Many of our university partners say that completing a course is evidence that applicants are interested in the subject and can learn successfully on their own. So, once you complete a FutureLearn course, use it to demonstrate your commitment and skills when you come to write your UCAS personal statement or attend an interview. 

To see all of the courses we have coming up, visit www.futurelearn.com/courses. Or to find out how other sixth formers are using FutureLearn, read about the students of Buller’s Wood School.


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