Empowering Girls

The programme of UCAS support for our Year 12 girls is underway with two talks already this term to give girls a real insight into the university application process.

The Recruitment & Admissions team from Newcastle University talked about the crucial decisions of how to choose both an academic course and a university to attend.

And with nearly 400 Higher Education providers now offering nearly 50,000 courses, the advice on navigating the way through the maze of options was certainly appreciated.

A great starting point for choosing a subject is thinking about what you are good at as there is a very strong correlation that you will enjoy something you can do well.

While it is true that you do need a certain degree for certain careers - medicine for example - it is also the case that 70% of graduates go into work that is not directly degree related.

This gives great scope for you to apply for something you feel you will really enjoy studying - even if it is an unfamiliar subject area that you may have never studied before.

Mollie Richmond, Outreach Ambassador. 

Mollie also outlined the advantages and disadvantages of city and campus-based universities and the importance of checking out the support services that are in place - both in terms of general wellbeing but also for enriching experiences such as taking a year out for an industry placement.

Next up was a talk on university life across the Irish Sea as Recruitment Officer Matt Wetherill set out the many advantages to studying at the prestigious Queen's University, Belfast. His presentation covered the buzzing student environment, low living costs and high academic prestige.

Living in Belfast will cost you roughly half as much as you would be paying in somewhere like London and this can make a huge difference to the quality of experience you have during your undergraduate years.

The flying time and many ferry services coming to Belfast also mean that we are in a highly accessible location  - in fact it is quicker to get here than many mainland university destinations.

Matt Wetherill, Recruitment Officer

Matt set out the many scholarship and bursary award schemes which can also reduce tuition fees, support accommodation costs and pay for travel to and from Northern Ireland.

These talks form part of the UCAS support element of the Year 12 Quest Enrichment Programme to prepare girls for applications in the autumn. Future talks will cover issues such as personal statements, university study skills and how to approach university tests and interviews.

Next week the girls will be making their annual trip to the UCAS Discovery Day to find out about their future Higher Education choices and options but this time it will all be online.

Girls usually attend the busy fair at Manchester's GMEX centre.  This year, however, restrictions mean that the event has emigrated online.

'Girls will be able to join during lesson time using their iPads and we are encouraging them to attend as wide a range of sessions as possible," said Mr Wilson, Head of Sixth Form.

'It is obviously great to meet the Higher Education providers face to face - not least because there are simply so many of them at the fair but this is not a bad second best and we think that there may even be advantages as girls will be able to choose their sessions in advance and there will be no issue with 'finding a seat'.'