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Worried about university? Check out some of the questions our Level 3 ICT students asked. - Starting College

“Is university as scary as it seems to be?”

This is a very common worry, whether people show it or not! Everyone feels nervous but there are some things you can do that will help. That could be anything from scheduling regular Skype conversations with friends, to joining clubs and investing in some biscuits. Read our blog post for other ways of settling into university. And just remember it takes time!

“What is the difference between what I get from an apprenticeship and what I can gain from university?”

Everyone is different – some may benefit from learning to be more independent at university (whether from a work or personal point of view), whereas others just want to get cracking in the world of work, so an apprenticeship suits them. Both will provide valid qualifications; the main difference is whether you want to gain industry experience at the same time. Talk to your family and friends as they’ll be able to help with your decision too.

“I would like to go to university but think I would struggle with the amount of work.”

It is a step up from school or College, but the first year is generally a foundation year to teach you how to be independent, how to write and bring everyone up to the same level. Head to a few open days and ask the tutors there; you won’t be unsupported and they are there to help.

“I want to go to university as it will allow me to be more independent but I don’t want to leave home and I am not sure if I am good enough.”

Being independent is a great aspect about attending university – and you can still stay at home if you’d like to. Check out the local university options which you can commute to (don’t forget to check out travel cards and student deals!), or our own higher education centre in Maidstone where we offer HNCs, HNDS and university degree courses too. Talk to others that have attended university about their experience, and any tutors at university open days.

“I am not sure of the reasons why I should go to university as opposed to an apprenticeship.”

Everyone’s reasons are different – and there are no “right” reasons. Consider whether you’d prefer to head straight into industry and start earning a wage, while attending College one day a week or whether attending university (and taking part in the “university experience”) is for you.

“I am worried about not having enough points to get into university.”

Talk to your tutor about what you’ll realistically be getting. Allow yourself a little bit of flex (especially if exams aren’t your thing!). Once you’ve chosen the subject area at university then start to research the different options available to you. Don’t forget – Clearing could also be an option for you; find out more about that on the UCAS website.

“The financial side of university worries me.”

That’s a common worry, so you’re not alone. A good starting point is to look at getting a part-time job now and saving up, and setting yourself a realistic budget at university. There’s some great apps available to help you with this. Also check out the grants and bursaries available for when you’re at university, and consider your loan options too. Check out the following government information site.

“I’m not sure what kind of education would suit me?”

Do your research into higher education (so HNCs/HNDs), traditional university courses and apprenticeships too. You may prefer getting industry experience at the same time as learning, or want to immerse yourself in the full university environment! Look for open days where you’ll get a good vibe – and after all, if you do decide and it’s not for you, then you can always look for other options provided you don’t wait too long!

“I am starting to consider an HND in IT as I prefer smaller classes.” 

A benefit of having smaller classes is that your tuition becomes more personal, and you may feel you can ask questions more easily. Check out your local study options and they will be able to advise you on class sizes. Don't forget to find out whether you can develop your HND later into a full degree. That said, it's worth remembering that a HND is considered a qualification in its own right, and is valued by employers.

Are you thinking about your next step? Whether that’s to university or higher education, then Anna in our HE department is here to help. Just email her your query


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