HOW TO HAVE A PRODUCTIVE SUMMER By Vicki MacDonald, Inspiring Futures Increasingly you will be hearing about the competitiveness of high ranking university courses and the best way that students can prepare themselves to become the ‘stand out’ candidates. Whilst it may be tempting to kick back and spend the long holiday relaxing after a busy term it is during this break that you can undertake some really excellent activities which may prove to be vital in your preparation for moving on from school. It is also a good time for students heading out to work-based training options to find out if what they are committing to is really right for them So what can you do and where? Firstly it depends on your age, many Year 10 and 11 students will be expected to undertake a week’s work experience. Don’t underestimate the value of this process - it is probably the first chance that many of you will have to find out more about life after school and the quality of the placements on offer may vary hugely, depending on where you want to go and what kinds of experiences you are seeking. Many companies have online application processes, but these can close early in the year so make sure that you do not miss the deadline date. For some employers that can be as early as December the year before you are going. Leave it to the last minute and you may find that you are left with options which are not ideally suited to you. The things that you will learn about yourself from doing work experience will help you immensely to reflect about the way in which you are able to get on with people of different ages and help you to demonstrate reliability and to gather some employability skills to put to your CV. The Student Ladder provides some helpful advice http://www.studentladder.co.uk/ . brought to you by For some careers or courses, work experience is not just a nice to do option but is a pre-requisite of the application process. For example, any student who is applying for primary teacher training will need to have spent at least 10 days in a state maintained school during the year before their application. It is also likely that you will need to provide a Head teacher’s report to demonstrate your aptitude for the course, so not only do you have to do the work experience but you have to prove yourself to be motivated and focused. Some of the very competitive courses at university require extensive work experience with Liverpool University wanting the most for their Veterinary Medicine course; that is 10 weeks, spread between specified settings. If you do not start this in Year 11 it is hard to see how you will complete it alongside your studies. Lots of university courses are the training for particular careers and are funded, so it is reasonable that admissions tutors will expect you to have spent some time finding out what is involved. Taster courses in STEM industries (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) run at a range of universities through the Headstart Scheme details of which can be found at http://www.etrust.org. uk/headstart giving students in Years 10 – 12 the opportunity of experiencing what is involved in university study in certain courses. The Year in Industry programmes allow students to take a paid placement with an employer to find out exactly what is involved. One student, having spent a year with Shell UK, decided that her long held ambition to become a Chemical Engineer was not for her after all and so she headed off to study social anthropology at university. Details about Year in Industry can be found at http://www.etrust.org.uk/the-year-in-industry . The London University colleges also run a whole range of taster courses which are an excellent way of students discovering what is actually involved in studying at university. Their online application process opens 1st January and can be found at http://www. london.ac.uk/tasters . Consider University of the Arts, London for creative arts and fashion courses http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/courses/short-courses/ courses-for-under-19s/ . Students who are considering studying languages at university might consider an exchange programme to give them the experience of being immersed in the language and culture that they wish to study. There are many excellent programmes running but if there isn’t one available at your school and you are feeling brave – go anyway, take a friend or family member or take a course in the language. There are lots of websites which will offer you help and information and many which will provide off the shelf packages. Others might consider a volunteer placement in the UK or internationally, try looking at websites like http://www.gapmedics.co.uk/ . Finally if you do nothing else then do some reading. It is important that you understand fully the things that you might study when you go to university. Many of the courses and subject areas will be new to you and it is difficult to fully understand what you will be experiencing without doing some ground work. Many universities will provide a reading list for their courses so, choose something and read it. Here is the list for BA English at Birmingham University http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/edacs/ departments/english/news/2013/advance-readingenglish-language-2013.aspx . ONE WAY YOU MAKE YOURSELF THE ‘STAND OUT APPLICANT’ IS SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY BUT DON’T FORGET... SPEND TIME RELAXING TOO.
© Copyright 2020