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Student Steps – UNandYou


If you are considering what to do after college or sixth form then maybe Higher Education is your next step. University is one of the best ways to help you gain the knowledge and experience to take you forward with the career you have always dreamed of.


Once you know Higher Education is right for you then you need to consider what it is you want to study. Sometimes it is easier to work backwards – consider the job you want and then research the courses you need to do in order to qualify for this career. If you are unsure about the future then why not choose a subject that you love, that you are good at or even try something completely new! At university there are hundreds of courses to choose from and if you want to study more than one, then a joint honours course is an ideal way of combining two subjects together!

Look at university websites and order prospectuses to look at the full listings of courses. If you are at a school or college then try to attend Higher Education fairs where you can meet a whole range of advisors from different universities to discuss the opportunities.


If you have completed your research successfully you should then have an idea of some universities you want to visit. Universities have several open days a year to allow you to have a look around its facilities such as libraries, the Students’ Union, classrooms, halls of residence, sports halls and more. You can also attend talks to find out about the courses you wish to study to really get a feel of what you will be learning throughout your time at university.


Now its time to decide and apply! You can choose up to five courses and apply to up to five different institutions. You will need to apply for your course either through UCAS, or directly to the university depending on the mode of study and course. You may need help with your application so take advantage of the support on offer to help write your personal statement, as this is your chance to stand out from everyone else and get noticed by your potential lecturers.


Although it can be nerve-racking waiting to hear back from Universities, when they do start to come in, it’s very exciting. Most of the time you will receive an email or a letter confirming whether or not you have received an offer to study at your chosen university.  This will either be a ‘conditional’ offer, based on the exam results you are awaiting in the summer, or ‘unconditional’, when you have been offered a place regardless of awaiting any grades or other qualifications.


You have selected your firm choice university and you are ready to go. If you have chosen your accommodation already then you need to bring with you all the essentials to take to university for studying, sleeping and eating.  Moving into halls is a great way to gain independence and meet people from all walks of life.


When looking back at your experience at university one of the highlights for graduates is the friends they made. As they say, you make friends for life while at university, this is because of what you go through together – not only are they your friend they are also your housemate, teammate, dance partner, gym buddy, project group leader or shoulder to cry on if you’re missing home.


Studying at university is very different to being at school or college as the methods of study are taught differently. For each course the content will be broken down into different modules relating to the subject area. The modules will be taught through lectures and seminars. Lectures hold more students and will include a lecturer presenting to you each topic of which you will make notes. Seminars are more interactive and will include you and other students working together and discussing a topic in more detail. This gives you a chance to talk more in-depth about what you have learnt in the lecture.  Independent study is a big part of university so when you aren’t in class then you will find yourself reading in the library or writing assignments at home.


Universities offer sports clubs and societies, which is an important way to not only meet people, but a way to get your head out of a book and get some exercise or share your passion with others. At the University of Northampton we are one of a few universities that offer free sports clubs and societies to all of our students. These can range from Disney to lacrosse, American football to cheese appreciation or cheerleading to medieval! Continue playing your favourite sport or try something new, either way we have something for you.


Within many courses at university, industry-related field trips are all part of the learning experience. At the University of Northampton we have Law students visiting the courthouses, Geography students surveying flora and fauna in the countryside, Fashion Marketing students meeting with big brands in New York and much more. Gaining an understanding of the outside world is vital to enhance your learning and gain experience for later in life.


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  With all of the pressures of studying, exams and assessments it is important to let your hair down once in a while, so dancing and having fun with friends is a must. At the University of Northampton the Students’ Union includes two bars and one nightclub across both our campuses which host foam parties, comedy nights, live music and much more.


Some courses include a mix of placements and others offer the opportunity to take a year out and work in industry. Being able to achieve hands-on work experience before you graduate will better equip you for your future career.

The University of Northampton has an in-house recruitment agency, Unitemps, which supports students in finding a part-time job whilst studying at university particularly helpful if you find yourself in financial difficulties.


Once all of the assessments are over and handed in, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you have completed, potentially, one of your biggest ever achievements in life. Now you can walk away with your degree in hand, years of knowledge and a whole lot of experience. You can then either choose to continue to postgraduate study and extend your knowledge or enter the world of work. What ever you choose you will then become an alumni of that university which will support you in your future.


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