Open Days & being UCAS ready

It's open day season at unis this month and bestCourse4me has the low-down on how to get the most out of an open day. And what’s more, we tell you all about the different things students get up to when they aren’t studying.

This month
What to think about if you're in year 12

People sometimes forget that going to uni is about more than just getting a degree. Even if you spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week studying (a decent amount by any standards), then that means you’ll spend more than two thirds of your time at uni not studying. So what are you going to do with all that time? Yes, some of it will be sleeping, eating and washing. But what else?
There are, essentially, three things you can do with your time:
• Sit in a darkened room twiddling your thumbs.
• Do things you already do.
• Do stuff you haven't done before.
Getting involved with activities and sharing interests means you get to meet people and you avoid friction burns on your thumbs from too much twiddling. You also get to try new things. If you're doing a degree in maths, for example, but fancy some management experience, get involved with a society where you can organise events and test your management ability.
There’s a conveyor belt of opportunities offered by uni, both fun and serious, such as student theatre, student newspapers, faith groups, student politics, film watching, film making, work experience, forming a band, going to gigs,  sports teams from football, rowing and rugby to skydiving and ultimate frisbee (it's a real thing, look it up)… the list is almost endless.
Whatever floats your boat, whatever gets you going, whatever you enjoy doing there’ll be people you can do it with and a uni where you can do it. But beware, you won’t be able to do it at every uni. 

Just as it's important to think about what you want to do as a career and how your uni can help you get there, it’s as important to think about what you want to do in your spare time and how and whether your uni will help you do it. And there's no better time to look than now, we've just updated our website to include data on courses, entry qualifications and post-university employment. We know, we know. We're too good to you.


What to think about if you're in year 13
As we may have mentioned before, it’s not the best idea to make your decisions without having visited your unis first. Now, we realise you have already made all of your choices and may not have visited them all. Chances are you didn't have time. That's fine, now's your chance to see the rest.
Even if you've already been, you could do worse than go back for another look. You get a different perspective on a return visit and it can help cement your choice, especially if you’re juggling offers and trying to decide. 
Unis usually hold several official open days a year, but you don’t have to wait for one to visit – most unis are happy for you to come at any time of year. Some will ask that you let them know you’re coming and it's only polite. Besides, they may be able to make sure you're getting the most out of your visit. 
Open days involve a bunch of talks and presentations by lecturers and other staff, as well as campus tours, usually by current students. It's good to get an overview, but, it's also worth breaking away to have a bit of a nose around yourself and see what's most important to you. If you're still having trouble separating the best from the rest, then bC4me can help, allowing you to look again at the courses and directly compare where they might take you.
Don't just think about what they're most proud to show you. Ask yourself how you'll make use of what's here and what you'll need to call it home.

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In the news
U gotta be CASing me!?
140,000 UCAS forms were submitted in the final week leading up to January 15th and 15% of those were submitted in the final 48 hours. When you take into account that universities start handing out offers from the moment they receive their first application, it seems foolish to leave it so late and let all those other people possibly get the place that you deserve. But it would appear that this is hitting a nerve with teachers and students up and down the country: “If a competition had a closing date of 15th January, you wouldn't expect any of the winners to be picked beforehand. But that's exactly what happens with university applications,” said a first year student at Liverpool John Moores. But one admissions officer argued that universities wouldn’t be able to deal with all of the applications after the January deadline.

Read all about it... err... or not
The famed ‘reading weeks’ associated with a lot of courses in which universities allow students on certain courses a week in which they are expected to read all of the course appropriate material, have been called a farce by a controversial blogger for the Telegraph. The Boarding School Beak figures that paying £3,000 a term should guarantee a full term’s work, not least because a full term is only 9 weeks on average anyway. Yet another point to consider when looking around at the different  courses and universities you’re interested in – does a reading week sound like a worthwhile exercise to you? Or too big a temptation to doss around?
That's a job lot
A recent study has shown that 52% of young people have no idea what career they want to follow, and not only that, but 25% have ‘no idea’ where to even being looking. Add to this the 44% of undergraduates who don’t know what industry they would like to work in, and you’ve got yourself some pretty worrying statistics. If you read those last statistics and think, “Yeah, me either!?” why not take a look through our careers section, our degree area or both.
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