"The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated." -James Baldwin

The most successful societies have well-educated individuals who are willing to look at the world a little different and make changes that will greatly benefit humankind. Many scholars and world leaders claim that without an education system that strives for excellence, their part of the world would be stagnant and without any significant progress.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise as to why the United Kingdom has greatly valued education for centuries. Also, it is worth stating that some of the world's most brilliant minds such as Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, and Winston Churchill, and a few of the world's most prestigious universities such as Oxford and Cambridge have all come from the UK.

Following in the steps of the world's most brilliant are over 2.3 million students in the UK. Many of these students will have been thinking about what they wanted to study since before their GCSEs. However, not all students are sure or content with their choices.

It is important to mention that higher education can be an absolute minefield especially considering the fact that there are over 130 different universities in the UK; not including all the worldwide universities for those who wish to study abroad. For adolescents on the brink of adulthood, it can be quite difficult trying to work out what you want to study, where to attend further education classes, and what career you'd like to practise once you've graduated.

Nevertheless, it is important to mention that there are many organisations, resources, and services that be easily used to get more information on making choices. About what? For your studies and career and in the UK. A particular organisation that has attracted many in the UK is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service or simply the UCAS.

What is UCAS?

The UCAS is a reputable organisation whose main goal is to aid British students successfully complete an application to attend a further education course. Students who want to deal with university applications are wise to consider the UCAS for specific assistance.

Also, it is worth mentioning that the UCAS is technically a charity that earns its money from application fees, capitation fees from universities and colleges, and its subsidiary UCAS Media Ltd. The UCAS originated as the Universities Central Council on Admissions (UCCA) in 1961. Then when the UCCA merged with the Polytechnics Central Admissions System (PCAS) and the Standing Conference on University Entrance (SCUE) in 1993, the single UCAS service was formed and it has remained the same to this day.

Therefore, without further ado, in today's article, we shall look at why it is important to study further education courses at a university, a complete guide to the UCAS such as how to get information, find out about your educational options, find courses, and the other educational services available to Britons. 

Find personal development courses with a coach on Superprof.

Why Study at a University?

studying at Uni
The process of studying at a well-known university is life-changing and extremely rewarding. (Source: Unsplash)

"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad." -Theodore Roosevelt

The idea of acquiring further education at a university is completely logical and the dream of many. Nevertheless, on the other hand, there are more sceptical individuals who believe that the education they have received at GCSE and A-Levels are sufficient for them to manage in life and be content. 

Therefore, for those who need convincing as to why university-based studies are important, the following reasons will leave no doubts in anyone's mind:

  • Advantage on the Job Market: since there is so much competition for the best jobs in the United Kingdom, many human resource departments and employment placement agencies do not even consider candidates who have not attended a university-based course. Therefore, having a university degree equates success on the job force.
  • New Opportunities to Discover and Learn: while the National Education System does its best in the UK to provide secondary school students with modern and engaging education, there are simply more options to learn while at a university. For example, there are overseas travel experiences available, research and technology centres with state of the art equipment, and methods that encourage independent or forward-thinking; all of which is mostly unavailable at a secondary school level.
  • Networking: after you have finally chosen your career you'll begin to network with important individuals to create contacts and find connections for future jobs; this is only possible at a university-level. By mixing with the academic staff, guest speakers, and older students, networking becomes easier than ever before.

If the previously stated benefits of studying at a further education centre are not enough to convince students, we don't know what will!

It is important to state that the advantages of studying at university outweigh all of the sacrifices made. Consider speaking with a guidance counsellor to find a university programme that will best suit your unique education needs.

What about the UCAS? Can they help to find educational options? Of course! Read the following subheading to find out more information.

Finding Out About Educational Options with UCAS

While it is true that aiding students with undergraduate applications makes up most of the UCAS' work, there is also something available for students aged 13-19. What is that? The UCAS Progress service.

Designed to help young teens find out more about higher or further education programmes available in the UK, the UCAS Progress programme is a great way for students to discover or compare the distinct options of academic and vocational courses open to all. 

How do you apply to university?
If you want to apply to university, you're probably going to have to go through UCAS. (Source: TeroVesalainen)

Since the UCAS works with local education providers and authorities, students are given the chance to search, compare, and apply for many academic programmes at a young age. Remembering that variety is the spice of life, teenagers can truthfully explore something that will interest and provide them with joy on the job force.

Similarly, you might want to pick up a university prospectus for more info, attend open to the public days, or get in touch with a university's admissions team. Why? All with the goal of finding out what their admissions policy is above all.

It is important to state that the UCAS website has further information on the distinct services offered. Such as further, undergraduate, and postgraduate education as well as alternative studies and career information. Also, if you're still in secondary school, there's information on A-Levels, BTEC diplomas, and NVQs as well as career ideas and information for those thinking about going to university.

By consulting, the UCAS website, the wealth of information is provided.

If you are still unsure about what can be done, it would be wise to consider an academic appraisal.

Finding Courses with UCAS

Help! I need to choose a further education course or programme!

If you live in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland and want to apply for further education classes, you will undeniably deal with the UCAS. Why? With more than three million Uni applications per year, the UCAS processes these applications to guide students on the right path. Also, since the UCAS is so prominent and well-organised, Uni-bound youngsters can use their course search to find more information on different courses and undergraduate admissions and track the progress and status of their application once completed.

Where can you find university courses?
UCAS is the place to go to look at the different courses offered by universities. (Source: JESHOOTS-com)

While it is true that many entry requirements, application deadlines, and contacts for the admissions office for a university can be found on their website, undergraduate and postgraduate students will probably use the UCAS website as the application deadlines approach since it is such a well-made portal.

Nevertheless, the UCAS wants to be viewed as more than just an undergraduate admissions portal since it does offer courses to distinct audiences. 

The UCAS Points System

Those who are completely unfamiliar with the UCAS and its overall purpose have no idea about the UCAS points system. The UCAS Tariff system is used to calculate the points of a student's qualifications and they are used by universities to invite future alumni to attend their established institute.

For those who have studied the A-Levels, the highest results are strived for since they signify the best UCAS Tariff points possible which also means acceptance to the top universities in the UK. 

Therefore, to better understand, the following table shows the equivalency between A-Level grades and UCAS points awarded: 

It is important to state that before applying at a further education centre in the UK, pupils should look at the points awarded for different subjects to see whether they have a chance of being offered a place to study.

The exams you do at a secondary-school level most definitely do count and will be transformed as UCAS tariff points; they are used for university applications and then you will be given a conditional offer. We greatly suggest finding out more about UCAS Tariff points on their website.

Keep in mind that you're also free to decline a place even if you have been accepted into a course programme. Remember that the more options you apply for the better. Some of the following reputable schools require a lot from students who are applying and get an overwhelming amount of potential undergraduate candidates:

  • The London School of Economics,
  • Edinburgh University,
  • University of St. Andrews,
  • University of Southampton
  • Manchester University. 

The following are different since there are surprisingly fewer applicants competing for places:

  • Durham University,
  • Oxford,
  • Cambridge.

Whether you're applying to undergraduate courses, postgraduate courses, or as an international student, you'll still need to go through the application system with the UCAS. We greatly suggest using the UCAS Track to keep up-to-date with your application online. By frequently checking, you'll be informed if your application is accepted, rejected, or are subject to a conditional or unconditional offer from the university in question.

After considering the advice of many and you've decided on the course or courses you want to apply for, you'll have to pay the UCAS application fee of £18 for a single choice or £24 for multiple university choices. It's worthwhile paying the £24 and applying for various insurance choices since it is probable that you won't get your first choice.

For some, it's more important getting onto a course at university than going to a specific higher education centre or university.

For example, rather than applying to several top universities all with similar entry requirements, you may want to apply to a university with strict entry requirements, a mid-tier university, and somewhere that is almost guaranteed that you can get an unconditional offer.

However, for some students, even though tuition fees are all very similar, not all universities are the same and they'd rather wait and reapply later on to attend the further education centre of their dreams.

Wondering what you can do with your degree?

Additional Educational Resources Available from the UCAS

thinking about the right path
By observing the directions and guidance of the UCAS, students are led to the right path of success. (Source: Unsplash)

Above all else, the UCAS is most widely recognised for processing undergraduate applications to further education centres. Nonetheless, they also provide other fantastic services for all types of audiences. Such as?

The following explains some of the other educational resources provided via the UCAS:

  • UCAS Conservatoires: those who have talents in the arts such as music, dance, theatre production, and acting also need assistance through the application process to attend an arts-school that will be best for them. Therefore, UCAS Conservatoires is absolutely perfect for them.
  • UCAS Teacher Training: the service of a wonderful admission known as the UCAS Teacher Training is granted to those who want to further their studies in education to become teachers. It covers full-time and part-time training programmes.
  • UCAS Postgraduate: through the UCAS Postgraduate service, students are provided with assistance on how to search for postgraduate courses and how to track the application they have turned in.
  • UCAS Progress: previously touched on at the beginning of this article, the UCAS Progress service is destined to help youngsters from the ages of 13-17 find out more about further education possibilities.
  • UCAS Media: offering trusted partners the opportunity to find marketing solutions to locate students and influencers. Online advertising, digital platforms, email marketing, student events, and data insight are all offered on this program.

Consider analysing in further detail all previously mentioned services that the UCAS offers to find one that best suits your unique educational goals. 

Also, we greatly suggest that if you need more help putting together a personal statement, doing an online application for a particular further education centre in the UK, or finding out more about how education can be financed, you might want to consider getting in touch with some private career tutors or academic support tutors on the Superprof website. 

Where can you find educational resources?
If you're looking for educational resources, UCAS can help. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

It doesn't matter whether you want to apply now or submit your application later, it's always a good idea to do your research at a young age to not be overwhelmed and miss deadlines in the last few months. Also, before you apply to university strive to get good grades at all times because UCAS Tariff Points are awarded for your exam results.

Need more career advice? Find out about the services from the National Careers Service.

Getting Career Information from UCAS

Being one of the most developed countries in the world, in terms of career services, job seekers in the UK are spoiled rotten from the vast variety of choice.

While it is certain that there might not be plenty of job opportunities in certain fields near your place of residence, there are online job services, career assessment services, and career counselling available to those who need help in the following aspects:

  • Working out what they want to study at a further education centre,
  • How to find a job in their field,
  • How to demonstrate their strengths and weaknesses on job interviews to be appealing to employers,
  • Study skills and homework tips.

The best educators on Superprof are more than content to help others reach their academic goals and become world-class educated professionals. Nevertheless, we still recommend using UCAS as much as possible to find guidance and assurance. 

In addition, many professional development tutors might suggest taking a career quiz if they are unsure about their potential career; this can give them a better idea of what type of person they are and some jobs that suit their personality, strengths, and overall skills.

How can you find out more about university?
UCAS is useful for finding out more about different universities and courses. (Source: kaboompics)

Career Advice from Superprof Tutors

Finding tutors in a city near you in the United Kingdom has become relatively easy due to the experts found at Superprof. For instance, you can find life coaches, career tutors, and academic support tutors.

Generally, there are three types of tutorial available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of tutorial comes with its pros and cons and you'll need to think about your budget and your goals when choosing which one is best for you. The following list briefly describes each type of tutoring:

  • Face-to-face Private Tutorials: private one-to-one tutoring sessions are between you and your tutor. As the only student in the class, you'll benefit from tailored sessions and your tutor's undivided attention. While these are often the most costly type of private tutorial, they're also the most cost-effective thanks to how much time your tutor can spend focusing on you and your unique needs.
  • Online Tutorials: probably the most similar to face-to-face tutorials in terms of the tutor-student ratio; however, the main issue/difference is that your tutor won't be in the room with you. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can now get private tutoring via webcam using video conferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. While not ideal for hands-on subjects or students, online tutorials are great for academic subjects and they're often cheaper than the face-to-face tutorials since the tutor doesn't need to factor travel costs into their overall rates.
  • Group Tutorials: as you may have guessed, group tutoring classes are when you're taught alongside other students in a group. With several students paying the overall price, group tutorials often work out cheaper per student per hour. While cheaper, it does mean you won't get as much attention from your tutor as they'll need to focus on several students at once. Unfortunately, the tutor cannot tailor their sessions to you as they'll need to take the other students' needs, strengths and weaknesses, and goals into account when planning their lessons.

In conclusion, we highly recommend that all pre-university students think carefully about their goals, budget, and learning style before deciding what type of tutorials are right for them. Nevertheless, don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of tuition for free so you can see whether you get along with them and whether their approach is right for you!

Figuring out what to do after secondary school has never been so simple with Superprof tutors and UCAS assistance; we wish you the best dear students!

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