As most schools and colleges break-up this week it’s important for students to use their time wisely if they still haven’t applied to university – the deadline is January 15 for starting in 2019.
We asked Dr Lisette Johnston, head of school at ScreenSpace, part of the MetFilm school, to give us some top tips on how to use the Christmas break to make the right decision:
1. Research your subject. Who provides the course that will best suit you? For example, there is a difference between Film Studies and Film Production, so you need to do your homework. League tables give some idea, but also look at uni websites. Most courses give a module overview to give a sense of what topics you’ll cover across the degree. Are there similarities or differences in the courses you like?
2. Research your university. Just because a university offers your degree subject and ranks well doesn’t mean it’s a ‘shoo in’. Reach out to current students via social media and forums – ask them about their experience at the university, try TheStudentRoom.com, groups on Facebook etc... also check-out the university’s Instagram account – get a feel for what people are responding to.
If you haven’t already, as soon as you can book on an Open Day – you’re probably going to have to apply whether you’ve visited the uni or not at this late stage, but before you accept an offer, try to get to the campus – remember you will spend three or four years there, and may have to move from home, so you want to make sure you will be happy.
Knowing things like what the student union is like, if they have clubs and societies you are interested in, how easy it is to get to class and if you will be based on a campus or in a city will make it easier to make a decision when the offers start coming in.
3. Think about your future self: The decisions you make about where and what to study are only part of the story. Find out if you get to do work experience and look at employability rates for the university as a whole and your field of study. At my institution, 87% of our students are working within the creative industries within six months of graduating. This is very different to saying a high percentage of graduates are working – get the facts!
4. Know the process: universities know how scary the UCAS application process can be, so every candidate who applies for our courses is assigned a dedicated Admissions Manager (other unis offer this too) who will help talk you through the process, from researching a course, to personal statements and student finance. Even if you aren’t currently studying a “relevant” subject, don’t discount applying to a course that really interests you. We, like other institutions consider all applications where students have demonstrated a passion for the industry/subject. To help you learn more about the course that you’re interested in, make sure you call the university as soon as you can after the Christmas break. Have a list of questions at hand and make sure you know about any open days, workshops and / or applicant visits before you accept an offer.