College and Sixth Form Students
Information, advice and guidance for those currently studying at College or Sixth From
You’ll find loads of content to help you research, plan and apply to universities and degree providers like us.
On this page you'll find guides on:
- How to choose a degree
- How to apply
- Audition advice
- How student finance works
- What to look for in a new town or city
- What to ask at an Open Day
How to choose a degree
Choosing a degree when there are so many options available can seem a little daunting, especially as you want to make the right decision on what you’ll be studying for the next few years.
If you are heading into higher education but are not sure what to study here are a three tips to help you seal the deal.
1. Identify your learning preference
Do you love the art of essay writing and burying yourself in books? Or are you more of a hands on learner, picking up new skills while completing tasks?
Choosing the right degree means finding a style of learning that suits you and one that fills you with confidence. Some sectors, such as Make-Up Artistry and Special Effects, focus on the practical elements and skills of the job while others, including those in Criminology and Social Justice , help you to explore the latest laws and theories.
At UCEN Manchester, we have a fantastic range of qualifications to help you gain your dream degree no matter your learning preference
Assessments and exams are part of any degree qualification. The key is making that sure you choose the method of assessments that matches your preferences and abilities.
From PowerPoint presentations to practical experiments, 10,000 word dissertations to end-of-year design projects, showing just how much you’ve learned can be done in many different ways. While some people can’t wait to write with flair, others are more comfortable taking centre stage to tell all about their inspiration.
One thing to remember is to be open to new experiences. Being assessed in a new and different way can often improve your skills and help you to stand out from the crowd. At UCEN Manchester, our expert tutors are always on hand to offer academic and personal support every step of the way.
3. Look at your career aspirations
What sector would you like to work in? What careers are available within this sector? What's the growth potential for this area?
It's a great idea to have a grasp of what career you want to pursue so you can work backwards through the qualifications, skills and grades you need to acheive to help you get there.
If you’re a people person, why not explore our Health and Care Professions? Our Computing department is always on the look-out for logical yet creative thinkers to excel in one of the UK’s most rapidly changing industry.
How to apply
You can start your application on UCAS apply – you will need to register and create a user account. This means you can complete your application at your own speed and track your application after you have submitted it.
Remember, you can only submit one UCAS application per cycle, so all the courses you want to apply for have to be on the same application. There are some helpful resources on the UCAS website if you encounter any problems.
If you are applying to UCEN Manchester, you will need our institution code ‘M10’ for when you complete your UCAS application
If you’re currently at school or college, you’ll need a buzzword from your tutor or careers advisor. This is like a password unique to your school or college that allows you to register your application with UCAS. Your school or college will then add a reference and submit your application.
Your tutor or careers advisor can explain how you apply to UCAS and whether there are any internal deadlines you need to stick to.
How student finance works
We know that the thought of taking out a student loan can be daunting for many, however a student loan is vastly different from a personal loan.
Here are the key things you need to know about student finance:
When and how do you start paying it back?
You only start paying your student loan back when you’re earning over the £26,575 (per year) required.
What you pay is only 9% of the amount you earn over this sum, so if you earn £28,000 a year, you’d pay 9% on the £2,214 which is £192, or £16 per month.
If you don’t earn over £26,575 you don’t pay it back until you do.
So that’s: 9% of (Actual Annual Income minus the Income Threshold of £26,575) divided by 12 months = monthly repayment.
This amount is deducted from your pay on a monthly basis in a similar way to tax of National Insurance.
Who’s eligible for student finance?
To be eligible you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
Hold ‘Settled’ status;
Have lived in England for 3 years prior to starting the course*; and
You don’t already have an equal level qualification from the UK or any other country.
If you’re from Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales you apply to Student Finance NI, Student Finance Scotland or Student Finance Wales respectively.
*EU/ EEA nationals will need to have settled/ pre-settled status for courses starting on or after 1 August 2021.
What’s the difference between a Tuition Loan and a Maintenance Loan?
A Tuition Loan is used to cover the course fees, what you get is based on the amount that the university or Higher Education provider charge for their course, some providers charge more than others so if this is a concern check what their fees are on their website.
At UCEN Manchester all our full time degress start at £7,000 – this is the lowest they can be.
Part-time study is charged at half this rate as its spread across the two years instead of one, so you’d pay £3,500 per year over two years.
A Maintenance Loan is used to cover, depending on your personal circumstances (what your parents do and earn) you may or may not be eligible to receive this. Most students take a maintenance loan out where they are planning on moving away from home to cover bills and rent.
You can apply for student finance loans to cover the cost of both your Tuition and Maintenance Loans.
What to look for in a new town or city
While your choice of university will be heavily influenced by your course options, there are other factors to consider when choosing where to live, potentially for the next three years or more.
When the offers start coming in, it’s likely you’ll be deciding between two or more destinations, so take the time to learn as much as you can about each place before making a decision and consider these factors to choose a town or city that suits you.
What to ask at an Open Day
Starting a degree isn't just about choosing the right course, there are a lot of different factors that you need to take into account.
Here's our list of top questions to ask when visiting an online or on-campus open day.
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Top 12 questions to ask
How will the course be assessed?
How many students will be in each class?
What careers have recent graduates gone on to?
How practical is the course?
What experience do the tutors have?
What sort of student support is there?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of living on or off campus?
What societies are available to join?
What job opportunities are there at university?
How much time will I spend in lectures as opposed to self-directed study?
Do you have to interview or audition for the course?
What “weight” is given to personal statement, results and interview performance?