Monday, 31 October 2016

Freshers' is over – what next?

Now that Freshers’ is over and you’re settled into university life, you are likely to have some sort of work to complete. University isn’t like school or college where you would have classes and have some homework to do. As a student you are expected to go to lectures and seminars, and then complete independent study, where you research, read, and complete tasks on the subject you are studying.

The different types of work include
essays, reports, group projects, presentations, exams, assignments, and tests. I have listed a few tips of ways to approach these pieces of work and things I was never told about them.

I don’t know about you but when I hear the word ‘essay’ or ‘report’, my heart sinks. I know that a lot of work goes into producing a good essay and I feel like they are so much effort. However, I do prefer this method of learning because I feel like I can alter paragraphs in my own time. I would highly recommend you read, re-read, and edit your work accordingly because sometimes when you write an essay, you can sometimes go off track. I find that asking a friend, flat member, or family member to read over a piece of work beneficial because they can offer advice to improve it rather than you guessing whether something needs editing or not.

Check your spelling, grammar, and structure. This is the nitty-gritty of your work that actually makes a difference. Admittedly, I’m not the best at spelling and grammar, which is why I like someone to read over my work before submitting it. No one likes a piece of work that has spelling errors, so make sure that you spell check your work before handing it in.

After writing your essay, check that your points answer the question being asked because it can be quite easy to go off track. Also, there’s no point in babbling on as you’ll use valuable word count space. Just remember that it’s about the quality of the work, not the quantity that counts.

I’m sure I’m with the majority of people who HATE presentations. I strongly dislike talking in public, or in front of an audience, with the mindset that I will say something wrong and people will laugh at me. But, practise does makes perfect, and if you are willing to put the effort into improving your presentation skills, then you’ll improve over time. The key is to keep the presentation slides simple and have notes at hand to explain more about the slides.

Now, you’re either that person who deals well with exam stress or not. Unfortunately, I’m that person who can’t. I find myself stressing and feeling anxious a few days before. Do not under any circumstance ‘wing it!’ You might have been able to do that at school or college, but I can’t stress this enough, you CANNOT do this in university. University is a different learning experience; the exams are going to be different and you need to put some effort in and learn the material you are being taught before the exam. You will have more content to learn, and you cannot learn it all the night before. Exam formats could include written pieces of work or multiple choice, and although you might think multiple choice is easy, the different in the options for answers will be so small that you need to know the content in order to get the right answer.

When is a good time to start work and revision for exams?
I personally would start work as soon as you are given it. With essays and reports, you should start researching the topics as soon as you are told. This way, you will be able to ask questions to your tutors before the deadline creeps up. Presentations are harder to complete if you are in a group because everyone has commitments, and it can sometime be hard to organise a day and time where everyone is free. I think the best way to get around this is to find a time when everyone is free to work on the presentation and to meet up. You should start revision from your first day. Basically, after a lecture or seminar, you should read over and type up your notes so that you completely understand the work before moving onto new content.

Where can I go to for help? 
Any lecturers, help departments, personal tutors, or academics can help you understand the content of a module or even down to writing a good essay. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with anything.

What shall I do if I have fallen behind? 
Don’t panic! That is the worst thing you can do because you will just stress yourself out. First of all, I would write a list of things that you don’t understand or have missed. At least then you have a general idea of what you need to study. This is an organised way of sorting this type of situation out.

Talking to your personal tutor about what you have missed is a good idea because you can work out a schedule to catch up on work, and they might be able to explain any work you do not fully understand.

I hope this post helps give you a general idea of what to expect. Good luck with your assessments and studying!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Share Your Story: Alice Hackett

Name: Alice Hackett
What course are you studying/have you studied?
I studied a BEd in Primary Teaching with Qualified Teacher Status.
What or who inspired you to train to become a teacher?
My own reception teacher inspired me to be a teacher. I knew I wanted to be just like her! I thought: if I can be as good a teacher as she is, then I want to give it a go.
What was the application process like?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher, so I took the relevant paths at each stage to give me the best chance of getting into university. The application to university was not as stressful as everyone says.
What was your course like? 
Enjoyable! A real insight to what being a teacher is like. The placements were really useful as well, because you got to learn on the job.
Did you move away from home to study, or did you commute?
I moved away into halls for the first year, then moved into a house with friends for second and third year.
What age group(s) and/or subject do you currently teach, and where? My first job outside university was as a learning support worker. I chose to do this job as, after completing my dissertation, I had a keen interest in SEN. I wanted to know more about SEN and provisions within school. After that, I became a KS1 nurture and behaviour teacher for a year, and I am now a Year 1 teacher as well as PE lead and NQT mentor.
Do you have any regrets about your course/route choice? Did anything surprise you?
The best thing about being a teacher is being able to make a difference to children’s lives. Being able to see the progress the children make. I have no regrets about being a teacher and the course I chose. I love my job.
Is there anything you wish you’d known before you applied?
More about applying for student finance.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about training to become a teacher, what would it be?
It is hard, especially the first year, but have faith, you can do it! Also, being aware there are ups and downs, but no down stays with you for long, because the love you have for teaching takes over again.
I love teaching because… I am able to make a difference to children’s lives.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How to apply for teacher training programmes in four steps

You can now apply for teacher training programmes for 2017 entry. There isn’t a set deadline that your application needs to reach us by, but to be in with the best chance of securing a place at your preferred provider we recommend you apply as soon as possible.

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got it covered in four simple steps.

1. Research training providers and programmes

Before you start your application, research the training providers that offer the programme you’re interested in. There are four different routes into teaching, so if you’re not sure which one is right for you, check out this short video.

Once you’ve found the programme you’re interested in, see which providers offer it in our search tool. Here, you’ll be able to find further information on the provider and programme.

2. Register on our website

So, now you’ve found the programme and provider you’re interested in, the next step is to register online. It’s a short process which will ask you for basic information such as your name, address, and date of birth. You need to provide a valid email address as this will be your username and you’ll be asked to create a password.

3. Complete an application

When you log in you’ll see a page like this:

Each section must be completed before you can send your application. We’ve got lots of advice on how to complete the application on our website.

The ‘Education’ section can sometimes cause a bit of confusion. You need to enter every place where you’ve achieved a formal qualification from in the ‘Education’ section.  This should start from the age of 12 onwards.

First, you search for your school by clicking on the ‘Add new school/college/university’ link and then ‘Find school’ to select the ones you’ve attended.

If the school isn’t listed, close the pop up window and you’ll be able to enter the details in manually.

Once you’ve done this, add in your GCSEs and A levels (or equivalents). If your qualification type isn’t in the list, select the ‘Other’ option that best suits you to enter the details in manually.

Finally, add details of your degree. Start with your university or college name, degree class, course name, start date, and results date.

When it comes to adding your school and work experience you need to include:
  • your school experience and work history, including current occupation
  • the time you spent in a school or college, including details of the age groups and subjects you were involved in
  • For the ‘hours per week’ question give the average weekly time you spent in the establishment.
Some training providers will require your complete work history, if you can’t fit this in then send the info to the providers separately, in a CV or a summary of your work history.

If you need any help with the personal statement or reference sections, then all the advice you need is on our website.

4. Pay for and send your application

Once every section of your application is complete, the final step is making a payment. The fee is £24 and you pay with a debit or credit card. It can take up to 48 hours for your application to be processed but once it has, you’ll be sent an email with your Track login details.

Good luck with your application!

Download our free UCAS Teacher Training pack which contains all the information and advice you need to apply.

If you have any questions then send us a message on Facebook or Twitter and we'll get right back to you.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Decision, decisions… when are you likely to hear back from unis?

The wait for decisions on your application can be agonising. It’s a good idea to use this time effectively by familiarising yourself with the decisions the unis you’ve applied to could make, so you know what to expect and what to do when the time comes.

Each university and college will make their decisions at different times, meaning you might hear back before your friends do, or vice versa. However, there are deadlines by which they have to decide:

  • 5 May 2017 – if you sent your application by 15 January 2017
  • 13 July 2017 – if you sent your application by 30 June 2017
  • 23 October 2017 – this is the final deadline for unis to make decisions on applications to courses starting in 2017

If a uni you’ve applied to doesn’t make a decision by the appropriate deadline, that choice will be automatically made unsuccessful.

Good luck with your application! 

Check out our advice on what you can do while you wait for uni decisions. You can also stay up-to-date with any decisions by checking Track.

You can also get in touch with our advisers on Facebook or Twitter and they’ll be happy to help!