If you’re trying to work out if university is for you, then I am sorry, but as cliché as it sounds, university can be for anyone! I say this after working as a Summer School Mentor for two weeks for The University of Leicester, and found myself giving some of the children so many reasons for why they should not consider themselves unable to attend university no matter their background. Below I have put together a lot of questions which were raised about university on these summer schools as you may be wanting to ask the same but wonder when you may get the opportunity!
- “Do I have to do A-Levels to get into university?”
No! If you look on university websites to find their entry requirements, most universities accept EITHER: A-Levels, Access Courses, International Baccalaureate or BTEC Nationals. However, each individual person has their own unique circumstances, so it is always worth getting in touch with the admissions office for the university you are interested in. The contact information for the University of Leicester Undergraduate Admissions Office is firstname.lastname@example.org // +44 (0)116 252 5281. Other useful contacts for the university can be found here.
- “My parents did not attend university. Can I still?”
Yes! In fact, my parents did not attend university! The great thing is, is that you are considered your complete own person, so your family’s educational history and background does not matter at all!
- “Not many people from my hometown go to university so I have not had much chance to talk to any students about their experiences. Does this matter?”
No! There are plenty of ways for you to find out more about university-life – you can visit universities on Open Days, send an email or make a phone call, or it may even be a good idea for you to try and sign up to a summer school or two! This way you can live in university halls for a few days and get a real first-hand experience! We also have a UniBuddy system, available online here, which allows you to find a current University of Leicester student, who may come from near your home or speak the same language as you or maybe even is studying on the course you would like to, and send them a couple questions or even just have a little chat!
- “I am really unsure how to write a good personal statement – what do you advise writing?”
Obviously, I can’t tell you exactly what to write, or even what I wrote, because there would be a real risk of plagiarism! However, it is good to show a range of skills. You want to show that you are passionate about your education (however, my tutor told me NEVER to use the word ‘passionate’!), that you are able to make links between things you are doing/have done at college and the course you want to study, but also that you have a life! There are a limited number of characters available to use in a personal statement, but it is important to show that you aren’t just an intelligent robot, and that you have people skills – maybe you have a customer facing part time job, or you look after your younger siblings or elderly relatives on a regular basis? I think actually that I will write a blog in the future about how to write a personal statement, so sit tight for that one in a couple of months!
- “I am a young carer and so need to live at home but also want to attend university. How can I do this?”
A lot of people I have met whilst working as a Student Ambassador on Open Days have told me when I ask them where they have travelled from, “Leicester”. Some of them want to stay at home for costs, some for ease and family connections, but some also have very important commitments at home, such as being a young carer. I really admire those who I have spoken to who regard their responsibilities as their priority, but still want to be able to attend university. One of my closest friends’ family lives in Leicester and a lot of people do attend university in their home city, so there is no reason why you could not do the same. There is often a lot of help and support available for those who need it at universities, and it is available through the Student Welfare Service at Leicester. Further informational and contact details can be found here.
I hope this may answer some of your questions, but please do comment below if you have any more! Also, look out for me on the UniBuddy website as I will be setting up a profile very soon!