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Congratulations. You survived the British summer and results day. And now the new term is beginning to feel not-so-new. And now we're all back in the swing, this month our key message is that 'it's all about the prep'. A little bit of research goes a long way when it comes to getting what you want out of life. 

bestCourse4me has been having a look at some new data form the Labour Force Survey. You can check out what your lifetime earnings and career could be, depending on what university you graduate from and where you live, and compare it to people who didn't go to university. The main finding is that University Pays!

 

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

We know that making real-life decisions and the whole UCAS commotion might seem a long way off right now, but before you know it these choices will be getting all up in your face and demanding your attention.

Now's a great time to be thinking about two of the big uni questions: what do you want to study and where do you want to study it?


First choose a course you’d be happy doing. We all know the statistics about good degrees equating to good jobs, but you’re also going to spend a lot of time and money on this too. It might as well be something you enjoy... otherwise, why bother? If you enjoy your course, it'll set you up for a rewarding career afterwards. Bear in mind that no two degrees are the same, even if they've got the same name. Studying history at Essex might be completely different fromhistory at Exeter, just as Birmingham's very different from Brighton (you get the idea). Once you've sent off your UCAS application, hopefully you'll start getting offers. Once you know what you want to study, you can get started on the ‘where’ and it’s better to start sooner rather than later, there are around 140 unis to choose from (and hundreds of other colleges and institutions). Choose the one that's right for you: the one that best matches your needs both in and outside the classroom. Sound like a big decision? Why not check out one of latest student blogs and see how you can utilise open days to help order the shortlist of your favourite unis.

What to think about if you're about to start year 13

You’ve got until mid-January to complete your application for most courses, but Oxbridge, medicine and veterinary courses have deadlines which are only a month away (October 15th).

Even if you’re not planning on applying for those courses, all unis can start accepting applications from now, and so leaving it until the January deadline could put you at a disadvantage to the other excellent people who applied earlier than you. Each uni will already be starting their 'yes' and no' piles and by Christmas, some people will have already been made offers. Leaving your application till the last minute looks like you're not serious - and of course you are, so get in that queue early...

If you've made your decision where you want to apply, then it's time to make your application glow.

The way to do this is by writing a killer personal statement. This is the bit of your UCAS application where you get a chance to convince the people who make the decisions (the admission tutors) that there’s more to you than exam grades and a surname.


Are you in Year 11? Check out the bestCourse4me website to see where your A Levels could take you.
 

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In the news
 
One, two, three: G-C-S-E
 

It's all change for GSCE grading in England. Students who started GCSE courses last September in Maths, English and English Literature will be graded 1-9 in these subjects when they get their results in summer next year. 9 is the best score.

That's also when the next phases of the change-over will happen. The next batch of courses to move over to the new system of marking will be psychology, ancient history, business, information and communications technology (ICT), and media studies.

The new courses will include a lot less coursework and much more pressure on the exams than before. 


Not so unobtainable:

The new intake for students at Oxford University will have more students from state schools than ever before.

This year the Uni has offered 59.2% of places to pupils from tax-payer funded schools. This follows calls from the Government for unis — particularly Oxbridge — to be more accessible and diverse with their intake.

It's a major step forward for Oxford, which has a reputation for being elitist as well as elite, but before there's too much back-slapping, it should be remembered 92% of young people are state educated (and 72% of students over 16).  

You are what you... wear?

We all know what we choose to throw on for an interview is important, but a recent report shows that many graduates have not been offered jobs because of their accents and the colour of the shoes they wore to the interview.

These were the experiences of students who applied for top banking jobs in the City of London, where a bias has been exposed for the middle class graduates with polished black shoes and boring ties.

Dodge the discrimination: see our friends over at Push and their advice about what to wear for an interview