at the heart of connecting people to higher education

earning elong L Lif
For entry to university or college in 2012
Now that more routes are available, students of all ages are taking the life-changing step of entering higher education to improve their job prospects, change their careers, or delve deeper into a subject area of interest. This booklet offers essential information and advice to those returning to learn some time after leaving school.

2012

Published by: UCAS, Rosehill, New Barn Lane, Cheltenham, GL52 3LZ © UCAS 2011 All rights reserved. UCAS is a registered trade mark. UCAS, a company limited by guarantee, is registered in England and Wales number: 2839815 Registered charity number (England and Wales): 1024741 and (Scotland): SC038598 UCAS reference number: UC016012 Publication reference: 11_049 We have made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information in this publication was correct at time of publication. We will not, however, accept any liability for errors, omissions or changes to information since publication. Wherever possible any changes will be updated on the UCAS website (www.ucas.com). UCAS and its trading subsidiary, UCAS Media Limited, accept advertising for publications that promote products and services relating to higher education and career progression. Revenue generated by advertising is invested by UCAS in order to enhance our applications services and to keep the cost to applicants as low as possible. Neither UCAS nor UCAS Media Limited endorse the products and services of other organisations that appear in this publication. Further copies available from UCAS (p&p charges apply). Contact Publication Services PO Box 130 Cheltenham GL52 3ZF, email: publicationservices@ucas.ac.uk or fax: 01242 544 806. For further information about the UCAS application process go to www.ucas.com. If you need to contact us, details can be found at www.ucas.com/about_us/contact_us/. If you have received exceptional service from someone at UCAS and want to acknowledge it, then we would like to hear from you - please email your comments to employeeexcellenceawards@ucas.ac.uk. Further information can be found on our website www.ucas.com. Your views: we welcome your feedback on our wide range of products and services. Please email your comments to feedback@ucas.ac.uk. Please let us know which product or service your comments refer to.

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Contents
A new start Mature students – facts and statistics 4 6

The UCAS applicant journey Step 1 – Choosing courses Choosing your course – chasing your goals Qualifications you can achieve Contacts for full-time and part-time courses Learning and teaching methods Choosing your university or college What kind of university or college? There are many routes into higher education Flexible admissions policies Step 2 – Applying Getting your place The application process: completing your application Step 3 – Offers, Step 4 – Results, Step 5 - Next steps The application process: after you have applied The application process FAQs Step 6 – Starting university or college What to expect – life as a student

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Money, money, money Sources of information and advice Useful publications Case studies

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Welcome to our guide to lifelong learning. As a former mature student myself - I studied for my first degree after beginning my career - I’m a champion for lifelong learning. The chance to improve job prospects and the availability of more diverse entry routes into higher education (HE) have resulted in an encouraging growth in lifelong learning. Record numbers of students are applying to HE, with the largest increase being in those applicants aged 25 years and over. Academic staff are consistently positive about teaching mature students. They bring motivation, have a positive effect on younger students, and are willing to participate actively in seminars and group learning. As this exciting and occasionally daunting stage of your life begins, we hope the information in this guide will answer at least some of the questions that you will inevitably have. We hope you find this guide helpful. Good luck with your higher education studies! Mary Curnock Cook Chief Executive

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business administration. how to g 4 . Thinking hard at this stage will pay dividends later on. chartered engineering and architecture. g g g g g The rest of this booklet deals with questions around choosing which subject to study. but also for their experience and skills. You can choose to study different courses depending on your preferences: there are thousands of options available that can complement your skills and interests. WHY CHOOSE HIGHER EDUCATION? g Many higher education courses provide a vocational programme that is directly related to particular work areas. communication and information technology. the effects on your lifestyle and your finances. such as numeracy. so you won’t be alone. such as whether you’ll be able to cope with the workload. you can use this time to share and challenge others’ views in a neutral and stimulating environment. If the course includes seminars. such as accountancy. diploma or HND usually improves your chances of obtaining a fulfilling job. More information about qualifications you can achieve is given on page 12. such as first degrees. and lists of useful publications and sources of further information and advice. arranging childcare. higher national diplomas (HNDs) and foundation degrees. You may be at a stage in life when you can study a favourite subject for the sake of personal satisfaction. So if you are not happy in a job with limited prospects. now is the time to take the first step and read this guide . A large proportion of mature students study part-time. sports science and teaching. library studies.you won’t regret it! WHAT CHOICES WILL I HAVE TO MAKE? find out about help with financing your studies. Age limits in recruitment advertisements have become almost entirely a thing of the past as setting an age limit for a post is only lawful if there is a genuine occupational requirement or it is objectively justified. or just wanting to delve deeper into their favourite subject. course admission requirements are usually more flexible. specialist art institutions and agricultural colleges. wanting to make a fresh start. Higher education develops important transferable skills. A degree. which can give you an edge in the fast-changing world of employment. or don’t feel you are reaching your potential. and a wider range of qualifications is accepted for entry. and your earning potential. Universities and colleges welcome mature students and value them not just for their enthusiasm. Many courses take place in universities. how to prepare. where to study. There are also sections on what to expect out of life as a student. but plenty are also taught at higher education colleges. If you are a mature student it is to be hoped that your job prospects will not differ significantly from those of younger graduates. WHAT IS HIGHER EDUCATION? Higher education offers a diverse range of courses and qualifications. as recent legislation has outlawed age discrimination by employers. fitting it in around their present work. what qualification to aim at.A new start The thought of returning to a classroom after a period of time can be daunting! There are so many factors to consider. You can undertake studies full-time or part-time. Mature students study for many different reasons – they may be trying to improve their job prospects. More and more mature students are entering higher education. A higher education qualification is essential for initial entry to some careers – medicine. Because of this. how to decide what will suit you. for example. The good news is that many mature students are already there: UCAS has seen a particularly large increase in the number of mature students entering higher education.

age really does not feature and people will accept you for who you are. When I started considering higher education. but I loved the subject and found the process of gaining new knowledge so rewarding that I wanted to be able to devote my time to learning rather than fitting it in around work. We saved as much money as we could between receiving my offer and moving in September.Case study NAME: AGE: STUDYING: QUALIFICATIONS: Jilly B 24 BSc in Social Policy at University of Bristol GCSEs. which was probably the biggest concern for me as I was used to earning a full time wage! Another immensely useful website was the Prospects website which helped to think about my options from a career perspective. but easier said than done!) and don’t be afraid to ask your tutor if you have any concerns. particularly with the competition for jobs. sold the car and found the cheapest flat we could. As in the workplace. a city which we had visited and liked a lot (we still do!). After a lot of discussion we decided to take the chance of 5 . At the time I had no intention of going into full time education. but not impossible. But the course I wanted was not offered locally. I have met some great people and find my subject engaging and the lecturers supportive. My Uni runs personal development workshops on things like researching for essays and note taking which are really helpful. Another huge concern was finances – my partner would not be able to support us both – but I found Student Finance England were very helpful and enabled me to calculate quite early on how much I would have to live on: the rest I make up by working between 12 and 16 hours a week and being careful how much I spend. I absolutely love my course and my life in Bristol. I spent some time on individual University websites initially. I started a one year course with the Open University for my own interest. The lifestyle change was also a big draw – I had always lived in the same town until then and was keen to get to know a new city and new people! moving to Bristol. The other massively important piece of advice is to get involved – no matter what your age or interests there will be social events to interest you and like-minded people to meet. HNC Social Sciences from Open University I left school at age 16. straight after my GCSEs and with no real career aspirations – at the time I just wanted to find a job to be able to live independently. I loved the subject and the found the process of gaining new knowledge so rewarding. my advice would be to keep an eye on deadlines so work doesn’t get left to the last minute (perhaps obvious. The work is certainly challenging. I came to Bristol with my partner and the thought of relocating was terrifying. Get involved – no matter what your age or interests. The UCAS website had loads of really useful information on different courses and also student finance.

MATURE STUDENT DESTINATIONS Leaver’s activity Full-time paid work only (including self-employed) Part-time paid work only Voluntary/unpaid work only Work and further study Further study only Assumed to be unemployed Not available for employment Other Explicit refusal Total Full-time 48.Mature students – facts and statistics All universities and colleges welcome mature students because of the wealth of knowledge and life experience they have to offer. The proportion of mature students at individual institutions and on individual courses varies.6% 100.32% from applicants aged 25 and over. there was a small increase in mature applicants across the UK. In general.9% 10. They know from experience that mature students are highly motivated and often very successful in achieving their goals. as of 15 January. with a 12.7% 3. For 2011 entry. but at most institutions.4% 5. a sizeable proportion of the full-time student population in the UK is made up of mature students.1% 10.86% and an increase of 0.6% 1.1% 1.5% 3. university and college admissions officers will view you as someone who has worked out what you want and why you want it.0% 14.4% 100. Data comes from the HESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 08/09 6 . forms the vast majority of part-time students.1% increase in applications in 2010 over 2009. What Do Graduates Do? November 2010. and strive to provide a wide range of flexible learning programmes to suit them. with the 21-24 age group showing a rise of 1.0% Part-time 51.0% Reproduced with kind permission of HECSU/AGCAS.1% 1. The number of mature students applying to higher education goes up year on year.1% 4.5% 8.3% 11. the date by which applicants should apply to be given equal consideration.9% 5. As a mature student.0% 1.8% 10.9% 6.

The UCAS applicant journey UCAS processes applications for nearly all full-time undergraduate courses in the UK. There are six easy steps to applying for university or college. and we want the whole experience of applying for higher education to be as smooth as possible for you. 7 .com.ucas. This guide concentrates on the first steps of the journey. which are shown overleaf in the applicant journey. and you can find more detailed information about all the steps at www.

which will be updated as we receive decisions from universities and colleges. Applying You can apply for up to five courses using the online application system at www.ucas.com to find out which courses might suit you and the universities and colleges that offer them.ucas.com. Offers You can check the progress of your application using Track at www.ucas.STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 Choosing courses Use Course Search at www. 8 .com.

ucas.ucas. Starting university or college You need to make sure you have everything ready. Next steps If you have received different grades than expected. finances. such as accommodation.ucas.com to see if you’ve got a place on your chosen course. there may be other options available. You need to look at Track and course vacancies at www. travel and child care arrangements.com.com. books and equipment required for the course. Check Track at www. 9 .STEP 4 STEP 5 STEP 6 Results We receive most exam results direct from the awarding bodies – you can check the list at www.

ac. Remember that there are many new and exciting courses in higher education in subjects which may not have been on the curriculum when you were at school.com to research.com and scroll through the videos for students. Whatever your reasons. You can look up their contact details on the Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities website at www. This last site has information about teaching standards.uk/into_hefe/into_he. It is important that you let your awarding authority. you are strongly encouraged to make early direct contact with individual institutions before submitting your application. You might find our two video guides “Advice from disability officers” and “Disabled students” helpful. As a mature student you probably have time on your side and you should be careful not to rush into your choice.STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES Choosing your course – chasing your goals WHAT SUBJECT? You may have had a change in your circumstances that means you are able to pursue your interests or it may be that you need to catch hold of a fleeting opportunity before it passes you by.com. deciding on the right course is crucial if you are to have the best possible chance of success in higher education – whatever age you are. You may have a clear idea of what subject you want to study.qaa. not all mature students are in that position. Many students of all ages change their minds by the time they graduate and each year thousands of graduates enter professions in areas unrelated to their studies. 10 . or the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). local education and library board (ELB) in Northern Ireland.skill. and follow links to the universities’ and colleges’ own websites and prospectuses. review and compare your higher education choices.uk. INFORMATION AND ADVICE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES If you have a disability or specific learning difficulty. the more likely you are to find better paid.ucas. Where you live and how much you can realistically afford to spend will probably be key to your decision about where to study. Most universities and colleges have disability coordinators or advisers.org. The better qualified you are. While it helps to have an employment goal in mind when you enter higher education. but many students will still find that they have an element of choice. eg Student Finance England. or perhaps a desire to learn more has crept up on you and is now irresistible. know straight away if you have a disability and think you will need extra help or equipment on your course.asp. so the big question will be how to decide between the rival merits of individual courses.unistats. You can turn on subtitles and view the videos in full-screen mode. local authority (LA) in Wales.ucas. an area also covered by the Quality Assurance Agency at www. Another option is to head to www. take what amounts to pot luck on what they choose to study because they lack the experience and judgement that come with age and maturity. You can also view our UCAStv guide to choosing courses. Browse through reference books and look at the prospectuses and websites for the universities and colleges concerned. YOUR GOALS Take time to look at the Course Search facility on our website at www. pressed with the demands of their school choices. Sometimes 17-year-olds. more satisfying employment. ENJOYING YOUR STUDIES For some mature students this can be a wonderful opportunity to develop ideas and enthusiasms and to pursue the studies of your dreams. see details of individual entry requirements. or perhaps you aren’t exactly sure. and even those who think they are certain of their plans might review them later. where you can search for courses by subject and by university. Click on UCAStv on the homepage of www.

11 . achieving various industry qualifications but after a number of job moves I realised I was not happy and I began to reflect on where my passions and interests lay. I began exploring the internet to find out about studying whilst working and found information about Open University courses. Thankfully my background in financial services has given me the skills to manage a budget and be sensible with money. During my A levels I was planning to go straight onto university to study Law however by the time I had completed my A levels I did not feel ready to move into further education. As a result I began working in the Financial Services industry for the next 7 years. My advice to anyone considering returning to higher education would be to make sure you chose a course you have a passion for. I was concerned that I would find the return to studying a culture shock however returning to education was a very different experience as I was far more self-motivated and passionate about my studies than I had been at a younger age. I also began to look at the UCAS website which I had become familiar with during my A levels when I was initially considering going into higher education. I am now in the second year of my degree and I have found the challenges of returning to education very rewarding. I also still have a mortgage to cover which was a concern. Following my year out I decided that I was still not ready to undertake a higher education course as I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do. I therefore decided to take a year out and explore my interests. I was worried that I would find it difficult no longer having a monthly salary. My initial concerns about returning to higher education were financial. This led me to begin exploring degrees that would combine my creative and logical interests. I have adapted well but I worry that I will graduate worse off than when I started my degree. if you love what you are doing the rest will fall into place and for the most part it won’t feel like work! After a number of job moves I realised I was not happy and I began to reflect on where my passions and interests lay. I decided to pursue a place on an architectural course as I felt this would enable me to employ the skills I had acquired in my working life so far and also explore my creativity.Case study NAME: AGE: STUDYING: QUALIFICATIONS: Lise-Ann B 27 BA Hons Architecture at Birmingham City University A levels I left school following completion of my GCSEs and went on to study A levels at College and completed these in 2001 at 18. I think the fact that I had chosen to study something I was interested in and that I was responsible for how successful I would be gave me the drive to manage my time well and embrace all aspects of my course. and did not like the idea of spending three years and lots of money on something that I wasn’t passionate about.

ucas. MODULAR DEGREES The majority of higher education institutions have now adopted a modular structure for courses. If you are interested in more than one subject. usually five years or more. In some cases. or hotel and catering. 50/50 Major/Minor: the time spent is usually 75/25 Combined honours: start with up to four subjects. though they can also be taken full-time. may be studied full. BEd etc.STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES Qualifications you can achieve The range of qualifications you can achieve in higher education is wide. Wales and Northern Ireland) and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (Scotland). Some successful HND students later transfer to the second or occasionally the third year of related degree courses. This will usually be for the third year of a degree course or the second year of an HND and. especially in Scotland.com/students/ choosingcourses/choosingcourse/foundationdegree for more information and to use the foundation degree course search facility. or longer if they are taken part-time or include work experience or a placement in industry. It may be studied as a stand-alone qualification or upon completion you may progress to the final year of an honours degree. and consist of academic study integrated with relevant work-based learning undertaken with an employer. and come in many forms. and can be broadly divided into full-time and part-time study. for example agriculture. You can often decide for yourself how much time you would like to spend on each subject.or part-time. FOUNDATION DEGREES A foundation degree is the equivalent of the first two years of an honours degree. They are usually taken full-time over two years. DEGREES SANDWICH COURSES Degrees are very widely recognised and respected. and are validated by the Edexcel Foundation (England. HNCs are a popular part-time study option for those in work. for instance BA. BMus. you may be able to study a combination as part of your course. Part-time degree courses are normally taken over a longer period. HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMA (HND) AND HIGHER NATIONAL CERTIFICATE (HNC) Joint: the two subjects are studied equally. g Certain vocational courses include a year of working within the industry as part of the course. You can usually gain a degree through full-time study over three years. The purpose of this is to gain valuable experience in a profession you might consider after completing your higher education course. depending on the employer. art and design. Precise times may vary according to individual institutions but increasingly they are able to offer flexible arrangements to suit your needs. for example. 12 . Most higher education qualifications are at degree level. English literature and psychology. business studies. HNDs are fully recognised by employers as valuable qualifications and comprise units of study. and usually specialise in two subjects in years two and three. However. may be full-time paid employment. This means that students can build a personalised degree by choosing modules or units of study from different subject areas. Visit www. though some courses take four years or longer. you also should be aware that this can be demanding: highly developed time management skills are a must and there may be constraints on what modules you can combine. there is no doubt that modularity provides a wonderful level of flexibility and helps mature students to negotiate personalised programmes that perfectly match their needs. g g HND and HNC courses are generally related to particular career areas. BSc.

sociology. These courses are normally equivalent to the first two years of a degree course and can often be used for entry to the third year of a related degree course. The degree courses.uk. also incorporate areas of academic discipline such as psychology. whilst covering the standard nursing practice and education.) Details of the specific areas covered should be obtained from the individual universities and colleges.nhs. but all higher education courses help to prepare candidates for admission to a relevant part 13 .nhscareers. (Diplomas will be phased out between 2011 and 2013. Nursing courses vary between universities and colleges. NURSING COURSES of the NMC Professional Register. There are relatively few DipHE courses and these are mainly linked to vocational areas such as nursing and social work.STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES DIPLOMA OF HIGHER EDUCATION (DipHE) Two-year full-time DipHE courses are offered by some universities and colleges. Find out more about degrees and diplomas in nursing on the NHS Careers website at www. biology and physiology not included in the diploma curriculum.

uk // www.open. Visit www8.ac.ac.CONTACTS FOR FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME COURSES The Open University PO Box 197 Milton Keynes MK7 6BJ t 0845 300 6090 // www.oca-uk.uk/about/main/faculties-andcentres/national-and-regional-centres/ to find your local OU centre.co.open.org.uk The NIACE aims to encourage all adults to engage in learning of all kinds.uk // www3.uk minicom 0116 255 6049 // www.uk // www3. it's based on the idea that learning forms an everyday part of your working life.niace.ac. to help people of all ages fit learning into their lives.uk // www.hotcourses.uk Learndirect’s Learning through Work allows you to gain a university level qualification without leaving the workplace. and has a direct concern with England and Wales.open. photography.uk/near-you/wales National Extension College (NEC) Michael Young Centre Purbeck Road Cambridge CB2 8HN t 0800 389 2839 e info@nec.ac. Association of British Correspondence Colleges (ABCC) t 020 8544 9559 e info@homestudy.ac.com The Open College of the Arts was established in 1987 and offers courses in art history.uk/near-you/scotland The Open University in Wales 18 Custom House Street Cardiff CF10 1AP t 029 2047 1019 f 029 2038 8132 e wales@open.org.ac. film & digital media and textiles.uk // www3.learndirect.com 14 .open.com // www.nec.open.ac. creative writing. music. Students can study courses to develop skills or to gain credits towards a degree. National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) Renaissance House 20 Princess Road West Leicester LE1 6TP t 0116 204 4200/4201 e enquiries@niace.ac. fine art. the National Extension College has been providing distance learning courses for over 40 years.ac.uk/near-you/ireland/ The Open University in Scotland 10 Drumsheugh Gardens Edinburgh EH3 7QJ t 0131 226 3851 f 0131 220 6730 e scotland@open. A flexible distance-learning scheme.org.uk The Open University (OU) is the United Kingdom's only university dedicated to distance-learning.uk A not-for-profit organisation.org. Open College of the Arts Michael Young Arts Centre Redbrook Business Park Wilthorpe Road Barnsley S75 1JN t 0800 731 2116 e enquiries@oca-uk. Hotcourses // www.uk The only trade association in the UK dedicated to distancelearning providers.ac.homestudy. The Open University in Ireland 110 Victoria Street Belfast BT1 3GN t 028 9024 5025 f 028 9053 6208 e ireland@open. Learndirect PO Box 900 Leicester LE1 6XJ t 0800 101 901 t 0808 100 9000 (Scotland) // www.

and the qualities or experience admissions staff are looking for in applicants. specific entry requirements. career possibilities.uk/unistats www.com). A very good way to differentiate between courses is by looking them up on the UCAS website (www. open days and student life.org.skill. Find out how many mature students are currently enrolled on the courses you are interested in. Courses with the same title can vary surprisingly in content. Your experience of life and work will bring an extra dimension to seminar and tutorial groups which will be highly valued.Remember g Preparation and research is vital: spend time working out what is the right course for you.gov.ucas.uk 15 . They also provide information about an institution’s admission and selection criteria and details about accommodation.com/students/coursesearch www. and when you have to choose between options. Getting to know and mixing with school leavers can be interesting and educational in itself! Mature students can play important roles as figures to whom younger students can relate.com www. and provide information about the course. g g g g g g g HELPFUL WEBSITES www. Entry Profiles are compiled by university or college staff. Make sure the course actually covers the areas you want to study.direct. Make sure you check whether any parts of the course are compulsory.ucas. There you will find that 90% of courses listed in Course Search have Entry Profiles. access for students with special needs.ucas. Check what opportunities there will be to change track later in the course if you need or want to.

and this still exists though it is usually combined with continuous assessment during the year. perhaps with residential periods away during holidays. METHODS OF ASSESSMENT The traditional method of assessment in higher education has been the formal unseen examination at the end of the year. music. The hands-on approach will also apply to dance. laboratory work and workshops. you may well find that your life experience gives you a sound basis for contributing to the discussions. Methods and styles of learning and teaching will vary considerably. with an increased emphasis on doing rather than discussing. particularly when family life has to be taken into account. but increasingly you will encounter experiential learning . training and work. Though this may seem impersonal. your lectures seem to be for very large numbers of students. to weigh up which approach will suit you best. You may also wish to find out the number of students likely to be entering the courses in which you are interested. both from one subject to another and from one institution to another. case studies and course presentations. Learning and teaching methods akin to the old-fashioned classroom still exist. once the ice is broken. Many institutions encourage students to contact their tutors through email rather than relying on face-to-face meetings. but higher education recognises its own role in building transferable abilities and skills that will assist students throughout their lifetime of learning. coursework. The time. Another development which will be new to many mature students is the widespread move away from the three-term year in favour of two periods of study known as semesters. The impact of this on the life of mature students is significant. and the ratio of staff to students. The gaining of knowledge and understanding is still very important. This will give you some idea of the context in which you will be studying – do not be surprised if. The kinds of work that will need to be presented for assessment. The way courses are taught affects the number of hours spent on campus and the flexibility with which these can be managed. particularly in the first year. 16 . the more practical the learning is likely to be. cost and disruption implications of these need to be carefully assessed. while technical and scientific courses will tend to place more emphasis on practical sessions. Seminar groups are smaller and. and art and design courses. apart from exams. arts and social science courses will use a mixture of lectures.learning through experience or doing. Some courses will include fieldwork. it is actually a very speedy and efficient way for a busy tutor to keep in touch with several hundred students. and others will involve work placements or periods of study abroad.STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES Learning and teaching methods Many courses in higher education place considerable emphasis on your ability to learn independently. In all cases you should read prospectus and website information carefully for each institution and course you are considering. seminars and tutorials. the probable sizes of lecture and seminar groups. include project portfolios. Generally. drama. The more practical the subject.

17 . are available in further education colleges. you may want to look at the full range of courses it offers to see if there is something which appeals that you did not originally consider. The advantage is that you can take higher education courses close to home. you may find Open Days helpful. taster courses and education conventions that are held throughout the year. but the disadvantage is that you will miss some of the benefits of studying in a higher education environment for at least a part of your course. The coverage of the United Kingdom by universities and colleges is patchy. but if this option is of interest to you it would be worthwhile to ask whether any of the courses you want to consider at other institutions are available in this mode. by a university. and the degree awarded. in many areas there will be some choice of universities and colleges within reasonable travelling distance. For complete flexibility you can choose distance learning. where there is relatively little higher education provision. after which you transfer to the main university campus. it is a good idea to look as widely as possible to find the university or college and course which suits you best. Applying without having set foot in an institution is not a good idea. you will obviously have a greater choice when selecting the university or college most suitable for you. the local further education college will teach most of a degree course. but it will be validated. and want to apply for a highly competitive course. This is a publication that UCAS produces every year listing the open days. In some cases. Increasingly. you may wish to research some alternatives offered by other institutions in the area. or at least segments of them. Even if you are tied to a particular region. If you plan to be home-based. See page 33 for how to order a copy. In other cases. the university may have franchised the first year of study of a course to be taught locally by the further education college. If you are more mobile. If you are limited to a single local university or college. To do this. particularly rural areas. The most well-known provider of home-based courses is the Open University (see contact details on page 14). however. so take every opportunity to visit the places that interest you.STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES Choosing your university or college NEAR OR FAR? If you have the flexibility to do so. higher education courses. and there are some regions.

g g g The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) 95 Promenade Cheltenham GL50 1HZ t 01242 255 577 f 01242 211 122 // www. for example.000 students thought about the quality of their higher education and how satisfied they were through the National Student Survey. Most are large institutions.ac. city-centre institutions to campus universities or small colleges in attractive countryside. technology or vocational courses. child care facilities opportunities for extra-curricular activities learning support. See www.uk 18 . each with their own distinctive character and merits. The Unistats website (www. there will often be significant differences between institutions in: g the provision of sports and recreational facilities the provision of support for mature students. They are unlikely to tell the full story and the factors they highlight may not be the ones which matter most to you. The site is brought to you by UCAS and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of the four funding bodies of UK higher education. multi-site. Many offer a wide range of courses. Find out what over 220. UCAS points on entry. colleges of art and design colleges that are within the further education sector. degree achievements and employment prospects. but some may have a focus on. If you want to find out more about each of the universities and colleges in the UK from a purely factual point of view.uk for more information. These can be accessed through UCAS Course Search at www. then have a look at their prospectuses and websites.gov.hesa.ucas. While most universities and colleges have excellent facilities. but which increasingly offer some courses at higher education level. You may.ac. agricultural colleges. such as medical schools. but the student numbers vary considerably from one to another. This will also give links to the Entry Profiles giving further information about courses. What will be best for you might not suit somebody else.hesa. for completeness. for example. others have come into being more recently.com.STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES What kind of university or college? There are many different kinds of universities and colleges. also wish to consult the survey data collected annually by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). g Newspapers publish all sorts of league tables. but these should be treated with some caution. UNISTATS g The settings of universities and colleges vary enormously. Higher education courses are offered by: g CHECKING THE QUALITY OF COURSES universities and colleges of higher education single-discipline higher education institutions.direct. Some are centuries old.uk/unistats) can help you compare subjects across different UK universities and colleges. ranging from large. Courses are unlike most consumer products and the concept of a best buy is not really appropriate.

An increasing number of universities and colleges make some specific housing provision for mature students and for their spouses and/or children. some mixed. and how much it will cost you.direct.or full-time. you will probably have to make some sacrifices and shouldn't expect your general standard of living to match what you have been used to. However. It is certainly common to have to travel between student residences and the teaching buildings and the costs and time involved may be significant. for financial reasons or because of family or other commitments. which is a government service providing information on local and national childcare. In recent years.direct. the availability and cost of accommodation will be an important factor.uk 19 .STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES ACCOMMODATION TRAVEL BETWEEN SITES Many mature students attend their local university or college.gov. go to // http://childcarefinder.gov. Novas Contemporary Urban Centre 73-81 Southwark Bridge Road. You can also visit http://childcarefinder.org. either part.org. contact the student services office of your chosen university or college at an early stage to find out what child care provision is available. if you hope to move away in order to study. flats or houses from the private sector with the help of the institution's accommodation office. You will find that facilities and costs vary considerably from one institution to another. In each case they are likely to be home-based. It is therefore a good idea to apply early for places at a nursery or creche. London SE1 0NQ t 0845 872 6260 f 020 7940 7515 e info@daycaretrust. While a number guarantee first-year students accommodation. Alternatively. Facilities vary considerably and there is often competition for places. it is common for students in later years to wish to find bed-sits. for advice on provision and benefits. In either case. CHILD CARE If you are going to need support of this kind. Many institutions have halls of residence. the result can mean considerable travel between sites. particularly if you need family accommodation.uk // www. many universities and colleges have expanded into additional premises and some institutions have been created through mergers of a number of establishments in a town or city.uk Childcare Link For information regarding childcare provision in your local area. You should check to see what distances may be involved. how much it will cost and whether it will give you sufficient time to study. whether frequent transport is provided. contact Daycare Trust. You should make early contact with the accommodation office. a charity whose aims include promoting child care facilities within higher education. Unless you are in a particularly favourable financial position. Daycare Trust 2nd Floor.uk/childcarefinder/. some single sex. Many part-time students continue in their existing employment. particularly if you have dependants. with or without catering provided.daycaretrust.

STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES There are many routes into higher education ACCESS COURSES OTHER ROUTES g Some adults may not have the formal entry qualifications for higher education. construction. these qualifications will be taken into account in fulfilling the entry requirements for higher education. This learning may have come about as the result of a course. It is used in further education. or self-directed study. It also offers support in developing study strategies.org NATIONAL VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS (NVQS). Many employees now have gained NVQ/SVQ qualifications in occupations as diverse as agriculture. Look on their websites and contact the admissions tutor for the subject area you are interested in to discuss the possibilities. in Scotland. academic credit on the basis of demonstrated learning that has occurred at some time in the past. community centres and colleges and universities. English or communications.accesstohe. AND SCOTTISH VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS (SVQS) The Open University (OU) offers a range of short courses called Openings preparing for study with the OU in particular areas. all with tutorial support. numeracy and information technology. This could be a subject related to the course or general study skills.scottishwideraccess. A number of colleges and other institutions list courses that prepare you for further study but are not aimed specifically at higher education. In England. There are full-time and part-time Access courses. Access programmes are designed to be flexible: start and finish times can fit in with other commitments and many institutions run creches and nurseries. adult education and higher education for the purpose of: g Most employers readily see the benefits of involving their workforce in ongoing training. and are suitable for those who do not have qualifications such as A levels. and award of. Wales and Northern Ireland these are known as Access to Higher Education courses and. . For information about programmes taught in Scotland. leisure & tourism. and some adult education facilities. some programmes are linked to particular degree subjects and on completion may offer a guaranteed place at a particular university or college on a particular type of course.uk. It is important to check that the programme is going to offer a good grounding for the course of study you have chosen. beauty. They are mostly available through further education colleges. You can get advice on this from the college or university where the course is run. Programmes specifically designed to offer an alternative route into higher education for older students are available throughout the UK. It is advisable to undertake some study prior to starting the course. Find out more information and search for QAA-recognised courses at www. 20 entry into a course or programme advanced standing on a course or programme credit against some of the outcomes of a course or programme that will count towards an award. visit www. enthusiasm and commitment necessary for successful study. g g g WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE SOME QUALIFICATIONS OR RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE? Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) APL is the overall term widely used for the recognition of. Pre-Access courses help when you are unsure about what you want to study – you look at a range of subjects while building up your confidence and skills and checking that you do enjoy studying. but clearly exhibit the energy. Where the qualification is relevant and agreement can be reached. and motor vehicle studies. from management to arts. g g Arrangements for APL will vary between institutions. or as the result of experience either at work or in leisure pursuits. SWAP (Scottish Wider Access Programme) delivers these programmes.. Others are not specifically tied to a subject area and concentrate on offering a general progression to higher education by developing key transferable skills. Most courses are modular in structure so you can build up credits at a pace that suits you and your circumstances. from understanding children to exploring sport.ac. In practice. though some are more willing than others to invest money in staff development.

but you should contact your chosen universities and colleges first to discuss whether APL or APEL is acceptable and what evidence they will need. PROVIDING EVIDENCE OF YOUR ABILITY TO STUDY AT HIGHER EDUCATION LEVEL There are various other “return to study” or similar programmes at colleges or adult education centres – contact your local college or local education authority to find our what’s available in your area. whatever your age of qualifications. it is always more difficult to obtain a place at a popular institution or on an over-subscribed course. It is therefore a very good idea to make direct contact with the admissions tutors for the course(s) in which you are interested. and do not always insist on prescribed qualifications when considering applications from mature students. You can also work independently using library and internet facilities to improve your background knowledge and study skills in preparation for entering higher education.learndirect.co. BTEC National or other qualifications. See page 20 for more information about Access courses.uk for other distance learning options.ucas. you could take an Access course at a local college to brush up your study skills. Both APL and APEL are used to help students progress onto a course where their previous learning overlaps with the area of study. you will need to provide evidence of your ability to study at the appropriate level. OTHER OPTIONS Some mature students enter higher education with traditional qualifications while others start their higher education journey by enrolling for GCE A and AS levels. The standard entry requirements for school leavers are provided in Course Search on the UCAS website (www. or both. It is far more difficult to use them between very different subject areas. the CSE (Certificate in Secondary Education) or GCE O level – will still be taken into account.STEP 1 – CHOOSING COURSES Flexible admissions policies Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) This is an extension of APL so that it includes assessed learning gained from life and work experience. Visit www. this will help you to prepare for your return to study and at the same time get entry qualifications for your course. You can ask for an appointment to discuss your situation and the options available before you make a formal application. Sometimes you will have to provide a detailed curriculum vitae (ie a written list of your education achievements and your employment history). It is important to be aware of the competition you may face when applying to university or college. Scottish Highers. If you have not been in formal education for some years. Access course credits and professional qualifications. but you must be aware that the collection and assessment of the evidence you have to provide is complex and timeconsuming. There are no standard entry requirements for mature applicants and exact requirements will vary.com). When applying for university of college. But it is always worth bearing in mind that many universities and colleges welcome mature students with other qualifications. sometimes at an advanced level. Any qualifications taken several years ago – for example. You still apply through UCAS. It can gain you entry to a course of study. 21 . or evidence of relevant experience. If you left school with few or no qualifications. such as Open University credits.

ucas.STEP 2 – APPLYING Getting your place THE UCAS SERVICE UCAS is the central organisation that processes applications for full-time undergraduate courses at UK universities and colleges. Check the start dates on the ‘Course information’ screen in Course Search on www.000 applicants for places on around 50. but then you do not fill in any choices in Apply and we enter you straight into Clearing (see page 25).com. you will be registering as an individual. If you are applying through a college or careers office that administers the Apply system. All applicants rely upon the high levels of customer service on which we have built our reputation. Your referee will typically be: g a tutor from your current or recent studies an adviser who knows you a present or former employer. dentistry.com. veterinary medicine and veterinary science courses and for all courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. it is important to check when the courses you are interested in will start.com to find out which art and design courses have a 15 January or 24 March deadline. Visit Course Search at www. as some start between January and May. You can still apply after 30 June. So long as you apply before 30 June. 15 January – application deadline for the receipt at UCAS of applications for all courses except those listed above with a 15 October deadline. consistent and easily understood procedures which operate in the interests of both applicants and institutions. APPLY A relative or someone who is a friend only cannot act as your referee. All the team here work hard to ensure that all applicants are given the support they need. professional reference is the answer if you are not in employment and have neither a tutor nor an adviser to help. If you are applying independently. although some courses do fill their places from applicants who apply on time. We also offer students the opportunity to track the progress of their applications and to respond to offers. Applications to the Open University and Open College for the Arts should also be made direct (see page 14 for contact details). We do not deal with applications for part-time or distance learning courses.ucas. We effectively act as an intermediary between you – the applicant – and the universities and colleges to which you apply. 24 March – application deadline for the receipt at UCAS of applications for art and design courses except those listed with a 15 January deadline.ucas. you will be given a ‘buzzword’ to enter the system. Someone who knows you well and will provide an objective.com to find out which art and design courses have a 15 January or 24 March deadline. we will forward your application to your chosen universities and colleges for consideration. g g Although there are three application deadlines as listed above. Apply is also available in Welsh. This means that each year we process approximately two million applications from more than 600. day or night. YOUR REFERENCE It is in your interests to apply by these dates if possible. It is our job to ensure that there are fair. Application for these courses is made direct to the institutions concerned. and art and design courses with a 24 March deadline. After these dates we continue processing applications in the normal way.000 courses. g g The way to apply is online at www. using our website. For courses that start between 22 .ucas. COURSE START DATES Your application will normally require a reference. WHEN TO APPLY There are three different application deadline dates of which you need to be aware: g 15 October – application deadline for the receipt at UCAS of applications for all medicine. Visit Course Search at www.

Track.uk. hints and tips. the UCAS adviser with reminders. in which case they can supply an updated reference direct to universities and colleges at a later date. but you get so much more than just discounts and offers in your favourite shops. Although some will be happy to receive applications right up to the start of the course. Your referee might feel able to supply only an interim reference on the UCAS application by the closing date. it is a good idea to make contact with the admissions tutors for the courses in which you are interested before you actually apply. THE APPLICATION FEE UCAS CARD The UCAS Card is more than just a card. you may well have been on the course for only a short time before you apply. Information about the courses and universities you're interested in. g g g g Save money on the high street with your UCAS discount card. but there is a reduced fee of £11 if you decide to apply for one course at one institution only.. The application fee for 2011 entry is £22 for up to five choices. You can add further choices (until 30 June 2012) as long as you have not used up all your choices and have not accepted a place. If you are studying on an Access course.com/ucascard to receive all these benefits.yougofurther. you may need to apply well before the start date as the universities and colleges will need time to consider your application. telephone details. 23 . sign up for the free UCAS Card at www. Making informed. Unlimited use of www. You can use it as a discount card on the high street. Whenever you are applying. To log on to Track you will require the username created for you when registering for Apply plus the password you chose at the same time. This does not stop you from adding up to four more choices later. be prepared to send your application early.co.ucas.. If you're a mature student thinking about higher education. the UCAS student network website. realistic choices on your application will increase your chances of success. Please remember you do not have to apply for all your choices at the same time. to view your application. You must contact the university or college direct for advice about when they need your application. to reply to offers and to cancel choices in which you are no longer interested. Full details will be given in your welcome letter and the Applicant Welcome Guide that accompanies it. you will be able to use our interactive system. Expert help from Giles. Once you have applied. to change your address.STEP 2 – APPLYING January and May. to add further choices where appropriate. but you would then need to pay a further £11.

it would be advisable to refer to your different areas of interest within your personal statement. If you are applying to more than one course at the same university or college. You have no more than one course choice at either the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge (unless you are already a graduate). They will then take the action they consider appropriate. whenever possible. To help the universities and colleges reduce the risk of harm or injury to their students caused by criminal behaviour. This is particularly important for vocational courses. Before filling in your application go to www. send them the documents direct after applying. and must be in your own words – we run software which will verify that your personal statement is your own work. for instance personal details. This means getting in tune with the interview panel by reading.’ Time taken getting your application just right is never wasted. g g g Your personal statement needs careful thought and planning. Up to four of these choices may be used for any one of medicine.STEP 2 – APPLYING The application process: Completing your application COMPLETING YOUR APPLICATION You have a maximum of five choices to use as you wish. This is vital for keeping abreast of current developments in your chosen field of study. you should have a personal statement that is coherent. writing an essay. PERSONAL STATEMENT How to fill in your application Choose your courses Disabled students Entering your qualifications International students Personal statement. such as "taking part in. words like “produced”. all the instructions you need are automatically provided. because you may not be interviewed and this could be your only chance to impress. together with comprehensive help text. it is easy to make changes as you complete the application. we will inform the universities and colleges to which you have applied. dentistry. In doing so. If your personal statement appears to have been copied from another source. Your application must normally contain a reference..’ If you have extra information you would like your universities or colleges to see. but false declarations can lead to expulsion. previous employment and qualifications – just remember the information you give must be true and complete. Such a declaration may not make any difference to an application. the sort of newspaper that is a quality read rather than a tabloid. you can indicate this. An experienced manager of support and guidance at a large college has this advice for mature students: ‘Use positive action words to describe your experiences. You simply don't 24 . However. which include: g submit it until you are satisfied. however. If. quoting your Personal ID.". such as an individual interview.. If the idea of going to an interview is daunting. our application asks whether you have any relevant criminal convictions. has enabled me to. making a presentation. a group interview. veterinary medicine or veterinary science. Most of the information requested is straightforward and factual. a campus tour. “analysed” and “discussed” all show that you can critically evaluate experiences. You then need to match this to your chosen institutions' general or course requirements. If you later apply to other universities and colleges.. Applying online.ucas. Take care with your application. “observed”. once you have sent it. Try instead to make effective use of key linking sentences. listen to the advice of one experienced careers adviser: ‘Good preparation is the key to a successful interview. Avoid stereotyped phrases such as "I enjoy being with people" or "I'm a good listener". you cannot retrieve it. you will need to provide them with a reference direct. you are applying to one university or college only and their admissions office has told you that it is unnecessary. We will also contact you by email.. g g When you apply online.com and have a look at our UCAStv video guides. It is also useful to run through the different types of scenario you might face. comprehensive and organised.

you can refer your application electronically to any course with vacancies. In many cases. It can help people without a university or college place to find suitable vacancies on higher education courses. If you are eligible for Extra.ucas. Universities and colleges do not know any details about your other choices. you can also hold one other offer (which may be conditional or unconditional) as an insurance. Clearing is a service available between July and September. The offer might. you are placed there. STEP 5 . Admissions tutors are more likely to have the time to give you individual attention earlier in the year. which means that you have to satisfy whatever conditions are required of you before the place can be confirmed. g g operates from the end of February to the end of June. STEP 4 – RESULTS. universities and colleges will make a conditional offer. which means that the university or college is happy to admit you without any further qualifications or hurdles. If you already have your qualifications and you have been unsuccessful. Scottish Highers or their equivalents. UCAS publishes information about vacancies at universities and colleges through the UCAS website and national newspapers.ucas. The following is a brief outline of some of the main points of the scheme.STEP 3 – OFFERS. This means that if you do not meet the conditions of the firm offer. Extra g g g g g g Please visit www. but do meet the conditions of the insurance. is largely geared to the needs of students taking qualifications like GCE A level. and of the Clearing process. If your firm choice is a conditional offer.com. whilst still holding their original confirmed offer. We send details of your application to each of your choices. An offer may be unconditional. Extra provides an additional choice through UCAS for those who have been unsuccessful at all five choices or have turned down all offers. If you accept the offer. g 25 . And this may mean that some will have not only met the conditions of their firm offer. The timing of confirmation of offers in July/August.NEXT STEPS The application process: After you have applied AFTER YOU HAVE APPLIED Don’t forget that you can monitor the progress of your application online using UCAS Track. reply to offers and cancel choices in which you are no longer interested. but will have exceeded them. During Clearing. you will be placed at the latter. which means you have made a commitment to go to that university or college if you fulfil its conditions. be subject to satisfactory completion of an Access course. For these applicants the Adjustment period is an opportunity to reconsider where and what to study – they have the option to find an alternative place. There is no need for mature students to wait until then if you are not awaiting examination results. Each year some applicants pass their exams with better results then expected. which also enables you to change your address details. Each institution will consider your application independently and send us a decision to pass on to you. we would advise you not to wait until Clearing before contacting other universities and colleges direct to see if they are prepared to consider your application. Universities and colleges list their vacancies on Course Search at www. for example.com for more detailed information and guidance about the application process. You can firmly accept one conditional offer.

If neither of these options help. Why can’t I use a paper application form? Check with the institutions you are applying to directly.The application process FAQS QUALIFICATIONS AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS YOUR APPLICATION I can’t find my certificates. We will not send out any paper application forms for 2012 entry unless there are exceptional circumstances for needing one. and if necessary contact them to find out what they will accept as alternatives.ucas. If you cannot find the answer to your question here. Alternatively.gov. I want to add more details to the Employment section of my application. and if so what are accepted as alternatives? Most institutions do have general academic requirements. 26 . You can use Apply anywhere that has internet access and can rework and resave your application as necessary.com.com/students/wheretostart/maturestudents/. you can provide more details in your personal statement. can’t be certain of my results. and would normally be specified as part of any offer made. See pages 20-21 for more information. send full details. Apply is our secure web-based application system.uk. Is it true you need GCSE English and maths to study at university. contact the universities to which you are applying to discuss if they would be prepared to accept any alternative proof of qualifications. If the school doesn’t exist any more. but may be happy for you to translate it. if you have had several jobs) and feel more information would benefit your application. to your chosen universities and colleges once your application has been processed by us. If you need a CRB check the institution will normally initiate the process.ucas. Do I need to have evidence of recent study? I’ve been working abroad. as they may have taken over the records of the former school. If they cannot provide the results. quoting your Personal ID. What should I do? If you find this section too small (for example. and don’t know the awarding body details. there is a whole section dedicated to mature students on the UCAS website at www. It is easy and intuitive to use and will help you make accurate and timely applications. What can I do? Check with the school where you took the exams to see if they can provide the results or confirm the awarding body. Paper applications take much longer to process and phasing them out is part of our environmental policy. Do I need to get it translated and if so does it need to be a certified translation? Contact the institutions to which you are applying. you should check their prospectuses and websites. Contact details for your Local Authority can be found at www. so my reference will be written in a foreign language.direct. try your Local Authority. and if so how do I get one? This information is usually included as part of the Entry Profile on the UCAS Course Search at www. They will definitely want the reference written in English. but you should contact them direct with regard to timings and other information. the awarding body should be approached for replacement certificates. Do I need a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check for the course I’ve applied to.

you will need to discuss your plans in some depth with all those who are likely to be affected and come to a working agreement about how best to handle any area of difficulty. child care and travel. So what kind of basic study skills do you need? You need to understand not only how to learn. or at social events. but also how to: g organise your time take notes read effectively research. analyse and draw conclusions write essays and reports. for example. You may not always find your course easy and life as a mature student will have its challenges. The fact is that the university or college that takes you on will have confidence that you can cope with the work. This will enrich your life and give you opportunities to contribute to the student community.STEP 6 – STARTING UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE What to expect – life as a student COPING WITH STUDY FAMILY AND FRIENDS One of the big things many mature students worry about is how they will cope with the academic work if they go to university or college. in the library. 27 . It might be a good idea to draw up a schedule of how you would manage your time in a typical week as a student. you will need to find out the likely timetable for the course you are interested in and roughly how much time you will want to spend on campus. It may be because of the life you have led to date. Relationships are bound to change to some extent. and they will value the support you can provide too. It is important to prepare your family and friends for your change of lifestyle. and negotiate priorities for the way in which you are going to run your life as a student. They will be there to provide mutual support when the going gets tough.ucas. there is a good chance that you know how to organise your time and are a quick learner – because every successful parent is that. but you will have the benefit of studying with others who have similar interests and meet the same problems. To do this. or it could be the results of your Access course. Watch mature student Susan Hallissey’s case study of her experience of higher education at www. g g g g An Access course will help you brush up on all these skills. Your views might alter significantly because you will be exposed to other ways of thinking and this can strain some relationships if you are taken unawares by it. but don't underestimate skills which you might take for granted. which includes achievements that equate with higher study. Depending upon your personal family circumstances. if you have brought up a family successfully. It may be years since they were in a classroom and they may not have been top swots then. For example. as those around you will have to come to terms with many differences.tv. You will meet many new people and make lots of new friends as a student. Sort out in advance areas such as finance.

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gov. books.gov.uk Wales: Student Finance Wales . Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced changes to student finance. The UCAS Course Search at www.000 per year. Fees charged vary between courses. Students from families with incomes of up to £25. money.Money. Many universities and colleges will also offer non-repayable scholarships and bursaries to help students cover tuition and living costs whilst studying. Students only start to repay these loans once they are earning over £21. subject to meeting much tougher conditions on widening participation and fair access.uk g g 29 . Do you know how much it is going to cost you and what help is available? The links below will help you find the information you need.000 a year. so it’s important to check these before you apply. As is the case now. Course fee information will be added in early July for each course. the Department for Business.direct. In addition.saas. or you can contact the universities and colleges direct. Check the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) website www. A new £150m National Scholarships Programme will be targeted at bright potential students from poor backgrounds. you normally aren't required to pay tuition fees.www. g g g The purpose of student loans from the Government is to help cover the costs of your tuition fees and basic living costs (rent.co. students in England will not have to pay up-front for their tuition.000 will be entitled to a non-repayable grant of £3.ucas. transport and entertainment. Interest will be charged on a varying rate up to inflation (RPI) plus 3%. Loans to help with living costs will be available for all eligible students. bills.000. Both types of student loan are available to all students who meet the basic eligibility requirements. subject to parliamentary approval: g As a student.600 will be entitled to a partial nonrepayable grant. You should visit the websites mentioned in the section for the very latest information.co. In exceptional cases. as Government loans will be available to most students. money NB.gov. STUDENT LOANS Any university or college will be able to charge a graduate contribution of up to £6. Two types are available: loans to cover the tuition charges and loans to cover living costs.studentfinanceni. you will usually have to pay for two things: tuition fees for your course. irrespective of family income. food and so on).250 to help with loving costs and those from families with incomes up to £42.uk Scotland: Student Awards Agency for Scotland -www. food.www.com/students/coursesearch will be available from mid-May 2011. many other commercial loans are available to students studying at university or college but the interest rate can vary considerably.studentfinancewales.uk for further information.saas. as well as between universities and colleges. and living costs such as rent. If you're studying in Scotland and already live there. THE COST OF STUDYING IN THE UK Important information for students entering English universities and colleges from 1 September 2012 At the time of writing.uk/studentfinance Northern Ireland: Student Finance Northern Ireland www. universities will be able to charge up to £9. The information in this section was up-to-date when this booklet was published. Find out more information from the relevant sites below: England: Student Finance England . Going to university or college is one of the biggest investments you can make.

which means they no longer have to pay up front.tv to watch applicant video diaries case studies how-to guides 30 at the heart of connecting people to higher education .studentcalculator.uk/students or www.gov. They will not be eligible for maintenance support.co.uk/info/money is another useful source of information.uk to help you plan and manage your money.uk. For more information on the proposed changes in England please visit www. NHS BURSARIES The National Union of Students’ website www.ucas.direct.org. you should also visit www. If a university or college offers you a place on such a Want to see UCAS in action? Visit www. course.saas.g All eligible part-time undergraduates who study for at least 25% of their time will be able to apply for a loan to cover the costs of their tuition. the NHS Student Grants Unit will send you a bursary application pack. If you are applying for a course that is funded by an NHS bursary.uk/studentfinance. You can use UNIAID’s www. ADDITIONAL HELP AND INFORMATION There will be extra support for disabled students and students with child or adult dependants.nusonline.gov. NHS bursaries are available to UK students on courses leading to certain health professions.nhsbsa.nhs.

it has broadened my outlook and knowledge. This was on the advice of many who said that having a typing qualification would mean I would always be able to work. As an adult I always regretted not studying for A levels/going to university. we all seemed to be feeling the same. I work in London but Croydon offered evening classes which suited me. we all find we miss the banter and college life and find ourselves at a bit of a loose end! I decided to study initially to achieve something personally. I am now in my final year and can't believe how quickly time has gone . Secretarial Certificate. however as time has gone on. I have found I have enjoyed learning again.Case study NAME: AGE: STUDYING: QUALIFICATIONS: Paula A 41 BA Hons Business at Croydon College HNC Business. therefore. I would have chosen the A levels! It was on the internet that I began to research higher education. At the age of 38 and not having studied since 17. NVQ Level 2 in Computer Studies. We help each other along and encourage each other at times when we find it all a bit overwhelming . I have benefited from the course both personally and academically. The other students seemed really friendly. However. I am now looking forward this year to celebrating with a BA Hons! It is worth all the hard work and I have made some incredible friends and learnt a lot about myself along the way. the hard work. I did not know what I wanted to do apart from start work asap so I opted for a Private Secretarial course at Croydon College. I also thought it would be a way of meeting people. The lecturers are very supportive and committed also. has given me a sense of confidence and. I loved travel and also looked at a two year travel course but typing won. even though we were a very mixed group of ages and backgrounds. I felt unsure about studying when I started the course but the course leader and lecturers soon eased my concerns and I felt quite excited at the thought of starting the course. I decided to study and wanted to achieve something personally. O levels & CSEs I left school in July 1985 at the age of 16. After a long term relationship ended. the thought of studying again was quite a daunting one. My immediate circle of friends and I thought that working and earning money was more exciting than the thought of studying for A levels – for me personally. Some of the younger students taught me some study techniques they had learnt and I finally settled into semester one. I was concerned about how I was going to manage studying 2/3 nights a week on top of my own work and home commitments. I am now in my final year and can't believe how quickly time has gone.actually when it comes to the end of term. if I had the choice again.don't get me wrong the course can be hard work and you have to be committed but the rewards are worth all 31 .

This is sometimes free. Several services are available. and ways to combine study with work and family life.gov.c2careers. EDUCATIONAL GRANTS ADVISORY SERVICE (EGAS) t 0800 100 900 // www.org ADVICE FROM FURTHER AND ADULT EDUCATION If you are currently taking a course in further or adult education. your tutor can help. Some institutions have city centre advice shops. Look in your local telephone directory under Careers Service. contact: The Careers Group University of London Stewart House 32 Russell Square London WC1B 5DN // www. Primarily concerned with helping disadvantaged students.direct.uk CAREERS COMPANIES Provides advice on funding available for post-16 education and training within the UK.scottishwideraccess. For more information. // www. ADVICE FROM HIGHER EDUCATION t 020 7863 6060 e c2@careers. impartial and confidential service provided over the phone and on the web for adults seeking information and advice on courses and careers.uk Information about Access to HE courses in Scotland available from Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP): Operated by the University of London Careers Service.family-action.nextstep.uk enter ‘Getting into HE as a mature student’ in the searchbox and follow the link.accesstohe.lon. independent advice on any matter related to jobs and careers.uk 32 .gov. Wales and Northern Ireland. as can your careers advisory service and careers library. click on “Contact us” // www.com DIRECTGOV – GETTING INTO HIGHER EDUCATION AS A MATURE STUDENT Schools and colleges liaison units within universities and higher education colleges will help mature applicants. Available online: // www.org.ac. EGAS Family Action Central Office 50l-505 Kingsland Road London E8 4AU Some local careers companies offer an all-age information and advisory service. NEXT STEP SERVICE Options for older people looking to get into higher education.uk // www. but open to any graduates at any point in their careers. C2 offers impartial. The Service is a free. but a modest charge may be made.direct.ac. on a sliding scale of charges. t 020 7254 6251 e email via website.Sources of information and advice ACCESS COURSES DATABASE C2 – THE GRADUATE CAREERS SHOP Database of QAA-recognised Access to HE courses in England.

lsc. They offer free information and advice to individuals.co. and voluntary and community bodies.gov. ADVICE & GUIDANCE (IAG) The National Open College Network (NOCN) is the leading credit-based awarding body in the UK.uk Your local reference library will contain many of the sources of information you require and may have specially trained staff who will be able to help you. Contact details for your nearest lAG service are available at your local library.org.uk // www.50 and available from www.nocn. offering high quality. INFORMATION.uk // www. t 0114 227 0500 e nocn@nocn. Saturday and Sunday 10:00-18:00. educational institutions. Major interest in providing opportunities and advice for those returning to learning.uk QUALITY ASSURANCE AGENCY (QAA) FOR HIGHER EDUCATION t Free telephone service. // www. 0800 101 901 – 07:00-23:00.qaa.uk and www.gov. As a help. 33 . each year we produce a booklet called Open Days.OPEN DAYS OPEN COLLEGE NETWORKS (OCNs) Most universities and colleges offer open days which will enable you to get a feel for the institution and to find out more about its courses and facilities. seven days a week. Parkway Business Park 99 Parkway Avenue Sheffield S9 4WG Guidance about training and employment opportunities.learndirectscotland.ac.  NATIONAL OPEN COLLEGE NETWORK (NOCN) Local lAG services for adults are delivered by a variety of organisations. flexible qualifications. LEARNDIRECT The Quadrant.com.learndirect.ucasbooks. It originates from the Open College Network (OCN) movement first established in 1975 to recognise formally the achievements of adult learners.com LEARNING AND SKILLS COUNCILS The agency safeguards quality and standards in higher education.uk // www.uk LIBRARIES t 01452 557 000 e comms@qaa. colleges and higher education institutions to identify local needs and to encourage greater participation of all age groups in training and education.org. t 0870 900 6800 e info@lsc. Learndirect Scotland: 0808 100 9000 – Monday to Friday 08:00-20:00. including Careers Scotland. checking how well universities and colleges meet their responsibilities. priced £3.ac. trade unions. Head Office Southgate House Southgate Street Gloucester GL1 1UB Work in partnership with employers.

org.uk/unistats .uk Northern Ireland t 0131 475 2348 (voice and textphone) e admin@skillscotland.skill.30 to 15.gov.uk • Compare subjects and unis • See job prospects for your subject • Compare UCAS points • See what 220.000 students thought Visit www.uk t 020 7426 3450 e national@wea.uk Wales t 0800 328 5050 (voice) 0800 068 2422 (textphone) e skill@skill.uk // www. 18001 0800 328 5050 (textphone) e info@skill.org.org.direct.org. t 028 9028 7000 (voice and textphone) e admin@skillni.org.30 to 13.30.org. 11.org.SKILL: NATIONAL BUREAU FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Scotland Skill is a national charity promoting opportunities for young people and adults Unit 3. Floor 3 Radisson Court 219 Long Lane London SE1 4PR Free helplines: England t 0800 328 5050 (voice).wea.30. 13.uk Their free information service helplines are open on Tuesdays. and Thursdays. WORKERS EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION (WEA) The UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education.uk // www.

In the UK there came a point in my life where I decided that I needed a change in what I do. but as the course was part time I managed to shuffle things around and made sure that these were sorted out prior to starting. Childcare and family commitments became a worry. but my family have been my back bone. I would say to everyone ‘try’ because I’m glad I did. however I had looked into NHS funded bursaries and found that this could be overcome. and there have been many ups and downs. I have thoroughly enjoyed it. and help financially to my home whilst enjoying my job. I am a couple of week away from finishing my course.Case studies NAME: AGE: STUDYING: QUALIFICATIONS: Jacobus V 27 HND in Business Information Technology at London South Bank University School matriculation in South Africa NAME: AGE: STUDYING: QUALIFICATIONS: Helen P 35 BSc Podiatry at Huddersfield University Access to Health and Nursing I left school at the age of 18 in 2001 after matriculation. and given me the support and courage to keep going. What I would say to other people considering such a step is that the challenges are tough but very helpful if you work hard in completing it. There were times when I thought I could not make the deadlines given but the support you have from staff is great. I then applied for a job as a dental nurse and remained there for 7 years during which time I enrolled on the access to health and nursing course. The biggest concern I had and still have is money worries due to the time in a week that I need to sit in class and having to meet all my deadlines. Other than these issues I was more looking forward to starting than having major concerns.it looked interesting I suppose. but I was fortunate enough to go self employed in what I was doing and therefore can now work whenever I’m available and I can get to all of my deadlines if I put in some hard work. I enrolled at college to do a practical caring course. I have no idea what made me choose Podiatry . Constant interacting with these technologies is what helped me through it. I got employment with one of my placement nursing homes. I started my university life after all my 3 children were born. I left school at 16 in 1992 and wanted to go into a caring career. I decided to go for it when I saw the amount of opportunities to study that are available and when I realised that I was in a dead end job. I would say to everyone ‘try’ because I’m glad I did. so I started looking around for places close by to go and study at and then I just went on their websites and asked for more information on what there is available to study that would work with my weekly routine. in 2006. I will recommend BIT because it is not only computing but also business related giving it a wide area for job opportunities. The other little concern I had was getting used to the unknown technologies used in the university and for the units of the course. Money worries were a concern. I must stress that it has been the hardest four and half years I have ever had. where I stayed for 6 years. I wanted to prove to myself I could get a good qualification. 35 . I decided to go for it when I saw the amount of opportunities.

in association with UCAS. Published by COA. case studies and career advice. career opportunities for graduates.95 FOR A MULTIPLE ITEM ORDER.99 £15. Published by Trotman. grants. study costs. HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR UCAS APPLICATION £12. a step-by-step guide to filling out the UCAS application. in conjunction with GTI Specialist Publishers. The descriptions are written by heads of departments and senior lecturers at major universities. This guide is packed with 80 rankings tables from a variety of sources.and work out a budget you can keep to.99 One person’s perfect uni might be hell for the next. DENTISTRY AND OPTOMETRY PROGRESSION TO NURSING. rating universities on everything from the quality of teaching to the make-up of the student population and much more.99 Unique league tables enable readers to assess strengths and weaknesses of each university. £15. Containing everything you need to know about the entire research and application process. results day and starting life in higher education. Published by Trotman. receiving offers.99 With so many universities and courses to choose from. detailed coverage of Oxford and Cambridge colleges. plus information specifically designed for international students.99 £15. ‘PROGRESSION’ SERIES UCAS. course details. PROGRESSION TO ART & DESIGN PROGRESSION TO ECONOMICS. travel.99 Your guide to loans.99 £15. bursaries. it is not an easy decision for students embarking on their journey to higher education. providing all the information you will need to win your place at university.uk THE UCAS GUIDE TO GETTING INTO UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE £11. TIMES GOOD UNIVERSITY GUIDE £16. applying. guidance on how to apply and pay your way through university. The books cover advice on applying through UCAS. food.99 £15. It guides you through the trickiest bits of the UCAS application. Get a realistic picture of all your likely outgoings . including choosing a course and institution.99 A must for anyone applying through UCAS. INSIDER'S GUIDE TO APPLYING TO UNIVERSITY £12. Published by Constable Robinson. top tips on what admissions tutors look for in applications and what makes them reject some applications.99 £15.99 £15. including advice on how to select a course or university. Published by Harper Collins. useful tips for completing the personal statement. tuition fees and preparing your own budget. this book takes you all the way through the university application process.99 Full of honest insights. academic success and brighter job prospects. useful information on some of the most competitive subject areas. WHICH UNI? £14. Each description in this book contains a wide-ranging overview of the course area. Published by Trotman. HEALTHCARE AND SOCIAL WORK PROGRESSION TO PSYCHOLOGY PROGRESSION TO SPORTS SCIENCE AND PHYSIOTHERAPY PROGRESSION TO TEACHING AND EDUCATION STUDENT FINANCE £7.99 A brand new guide from UCAS to help you through the journey into university or college. Contains advice on the preparation needed.ucasbooks.accommodation.95 FOR A SINGLE ITEM AND £7.Useful publications ORDERING YOUR COPIES ONLINE: www. Published by Trotman DEGREE COURSE DESCRIPTIONS £12. 36 . This guide will offer expert guidance on the questions students need to ask when considering the opportunities available.99 £15. information on the UCAS process. UK P&P: £4.99 CHOOSING YOUR DEGREE COURSE & UNIVERSITY £24. Find out exactly how much university will cost you and how you can fund your studies.99 £15.99 Students need to know what’s relevant to them about the nature of the degree course they’re considering. insurance and socialising . job prospects.ac. FINANCE AND ACCOUNTANCY PROGRESSION TO ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS PROGRESSION TO JOURNALISM AND BROADCAST MEDIA.com BY EMAIL: publicationservices@ucas. routes to qualification.99 £15. Picking the right one means future happiness. and reveals top tips on creating a personal statement. recommended reading and website links. FILM AND PERFORMING ARTS PROGRESSION TO LAW PROGRESSION TO MEDICINE. Advice is provided for every stage. details of typical course structures. has produced these guides to help applicants access good quality.

a bigger income and a broader outlook. So.Transform the end of the day into the beginning of your future Birkbeck opens doors to a better job. We are a leading research university and have the best teaching and some of the most satisfied students in London.000 Londoners fit study into their lives every year.bbk. www.uk 0845 601 0174 London’s evening university .ac. think Birkbeck. and help 19. We specialise in evening learning. if you’re thinking about your future.

Every year we help over 650.000 applicants apply to university or college in the UK.UCAS is the organisation responsible for managing applications to higher education courses in the UK. UC016012 . Choosing what and where to study are very important decisions.

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