Knowing the type of career that might interest you will help you decide which degree course might be appropriate to study. Use the Careers Resources section to research particular career ideas and find out the types of degree that may be useful. If you don't have any career plans, use some of the careers matching software to generate ideas.
Read around your subject: Don’t just restrict your knowledge to what you are taught in lessons. Universities want to see that you are sufficiently interested in a subject to devote additional time to finding out more about it. You will be spending three years of your life studying a subject at university so need to demonstrate genuine commitment and passion for it.
Communication skills: It is vitally important that your written and verbal communication skills are on par with your academic ability. Many academically excellent students miss out on places at Oxford, Cambridge and other top universities through not performing well at interview or submitting a poor Personal Statement. Use the opportunities available to develop these skills, e.g. engage in academic conversations with teachers and peers, work on your presentation skills, undertake mock interviews, get involved in activities such as debating or public speaking.
Develop other personal skills and interests: Universities and employers want to see good “all-round” students who have something to offer other than just academic studies. Taking part in extra-curricular activities both in and out of school is a good way of developing valuable skills of teamwork, leadership, time management etc..
Work Experience/Volunteer/Part-time Jobs: Organise some work experience/volunteering or part-time work to find out if a particular occupation is right for you and to develop essential employability skills. Relevant work experience will make a big difference to your university application. All Year 12 students are required to undertake a minimum of one week of work experience, but if you can organise additional placements during school holidays, this can be advantageous.
Attend Summer Schools and Taster Courses: There are a wide range of taster courses and summer schools you can attend to help you make up your mind – great to talk about in Personal Statements and CVs as evidence of your initiative, determination and commitment too. Some are free although there are cost associated with many courses. Look out for details in the daily bulletins and on careers noticeboards in school.
Make Use of Labour Market Information (LMI): Use Labour Market Information (LMI) to find out about general employment trends, where the jobs are and what skills employers are looking for. The supply of, and demand for, labour is constantly changing. Young people need to appreciate employers’ ever-increasing demands in terms of skills as well as the likelihood that they will have to adapt and retrain for new jobs throughout their working lives. See Employment section for more information.
Seek Advice and Guidance – from relevant people in and out of school. Family and friends can also be good sources of information and advice.