Statistics for employability consistently show that geography graduates are highly employable, working across a wide range of sectors and roles.
You are allowed a maximum of five choices (either at different universities, or different courses at the same university).
Universities have different entrance requirements: some may ask for A Level grades such as AAB, or for tariff points (a points based system used to report achievements for entry to higher education); others will ask for lower grades. Talk to your teachers to get guidance on what results you are predicted to get, and use this to eliminate those universities whose standards you are unlikely to meet.
Common advice is to apply for two or three courses that normally offer the sorts of grades you realistically expect to get, and two or three others who offer lower grades than you hope to get.
The reason for this is that ultimately you will only be able to hold two offers; these tend to be the university you most want to go to, and one other safety-net offer for lower grades in case things go less well in examinations. You can choose to apply in clearing but this may mean that you do not get to the institution that is your first choice.
Open days provide the best opportunity to talk directly to people studying at a university. Attending open days will help you select your five choices.
Before you go on an open day, it is very useful to prepare some questions. Take a look at the university website and prospectus, and make a note of anything they don’t tell you, particularly things you need to know to make a decision.
Open days can be run by a range of people, so group your questions into categories. You may come into contact with students or lecturers on your course, or those studying other subjects who can talk about other aspects of university life.
Writing your personal statement is an important part of your application. Admissions tutors will often use the personal statement to distinguish between candidates who may have similar predicated grades.
What you can include specifically about the subject:
Why you have chosen the course and the reasons why that subject area interests you.
Evidence that you understand what is required to study the course.
How your current or previous studies relate to the course that you have chosen.
Any activities that demonstrate your interest in the course (field trips you have been on, the topic of your independent study, lectures you have attended, relevant books you have read).
Why you want to go to university or college.
Details of jobs, placements, work experience or voluntary work, particularly if it is relevant to your chosen course.
Other activities you have been involved in (memberships of an organisation, such as RGS-IBG)
Positions of responsibility that you hold/have held both in and out of school, e.g. form prefect or representative for a local charity or member of a sports team.
Attributes that make you interesting, special or unique.
Details of your independent study (why you chose it, what you did), your favourite modules
Any ideas you may have of future plans of how you want to use the knowledge and experience that you gain.
Interviews are not a part of the application for every programme, Where they are held, they vary in length and format, but typically last between 15 and 30 minutes
Selection interviews are academic, subject-focused discussions in which lecturers try to test knowledge and hope to see applicants thinking problems through for themselves
Interviewers are interested in substance, not style, have no hidden agenda and do not try to catch applicants out
If you are requested to attend an interview as part of the application process, resources produced by the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford may prove useful
A gap year can be a useful and rewarding experience if it is well planned, helping your personal development and expanding the skills you will need in your future career. Taking a gap year can be a unique opportunity to do one or a combination of the following:
Earn some money for university costs
Plan and go travelling for an extended period
Take part in a voluntary scheme or charity project in the UK or overseas
Undertake work experience in the UK or overseas
All these will build your knowledge, experience and skills before you continue with your studies. A well-structured gap year can set you apart from others when going to university or looking for future employment. Before you decide on a gap year, consider the following questions about studying geography at university
Are the five university courses you are thinking of applying to willing to accept a deferred entry?
How you considered, discussed or sought advice about gap year plans? In terms of time and budget?
If you need to work for part of your gap year, have you considered what you would like to gain from employment? In terms of skills? Experience? Rate of Pay?
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