University: Planning the Time of Your Life – and making it better!
- 15th February 2016
- Posted by: prepwork
- Category: Tips & Advice
Applying to university soon? Certainly this is a very crucial yet exciting time for you. University has been foretold by many as the best time of your life, which is true for most. Minimal responsibilities, a lot of freedom, a time to make new friends and discover your true personality and ambitions.
Which makes it all the more essential that you choose the right university and course for you to make this stage completely worth your while. Whilst others have thrived, there are also many who haven’t had such a great experience, and even some who have felt so much struggle and pressure with the course they undertook that they were near to giving up and dropping out. In fact, there are some articles on students from Harvard who were near breakdown or Ivy league students who were even suicidal.
How do you avoid all this? Surely such an experience can’t be a life or death situation, although for some it appeared to be. How are you to avoid the lows as for most high-achievers it is very possible up till this point in their life to have never been this vulnerable to disappointment?
I have had students say they should have started the self-discovery process earlier: I would recommend T-2 years (2 years before you start university). If not, the usual mad-rush has left the important decision to a span of a few weeks. In the end, some subject choices were missed out limiting a few options, a student hadn’t really done enough work experience to know they enjoyed a certain profession, another had applied to a 6th form college hoping it will help them academically but instead it made them feel sad to the point they could not concentrate on their studies. And that is where my 1st advice comes in:
#1 Research, research, research
If it is indeed an important decision, talk to as many experts, your teachers, an education consultant, alumni, and read up on the internet as to where will suit you best. Experiencing the profession is also another form of research: go into the real world and work shadow a doctor or architect. University tutors love to see you have taken time to understand what it really means to study their subject and that you have gone beyond school to find out. Choosing the right course is paramount in determining how fun university will be for you, otherwise most of it will bring your self-esteem down or will be such a bane it gets in the way of the fun university presents.
#2 Get all the preparation you need and start early
This is so you actually enjoy the process, and give yourself enough time rather than rush. Rushing is only stressful and stress doesn’t help your decision-making skills. How do you prepare? Talk to an admissions expert, sign up for a SATs course, get interview skills training, know tutors who can prepare you for the entrance exams – a small nudge in the right direction early on can go a long way and save you a lot of stress and anxiety in the long run. No-one wants to sit an important exam for the first time and realize they are so unfamiliar they won’t do well in it.
#3 Take charge of your own application
This is so you are sure this is what “you” really want, and not what your parents or your aunties or grandparents want for you. If it helps, talk to an education consultant and your teachers to fully understand your strengths, weaknesses, eligibility and potential so you can lay-out all the options you would like to work towards. And nothing is better than first-hand experience so talk to those who have walked the path before you. They not only can tell you about the academics but other less formal yet crucial factors such as the lifestyle, the challenges, the highlights, the ups and the downs of a day in that institution – all the perspectives you would not get off a page on a prospectus. We have that network at PrepWorks so if you decide to start that journey call up for your 1st free consultation today.