Seven character traits of a successful student

Seven character traits of a successful student

Growth mindset Improving attainment Mentoring Post 16 Private tutors What's new? Young people

No one student is alike, some students get good grades and others don’t. Perhaps some students operate with more integrity than others or perhaps some are greater leaders than others. It could be that some children are more passionate and proud and want to make a difference in the world. We are all individuals with different strengths.

Caretakers and teachers are often seen as role models by young people. With no support structure in place to help young people achieve their instinctive goals, their dreams are lost and become embers of a distant fire. But, what if we gave them enough support and stimulated them in the right direction? What if we gave them the skills and the know-how to be able to achieve their ambitions? Amongst most young people are leaders, influencers and change-makers. Successful young people are usually hardworking and ambitious and most of all they want to excel further in life.

Certain qualities can make it easier for young people to learn and grow within their own potential. Investing time and effort in young people can help them realise their qualities and build their confidence, an important factor in determining their future career path.

We have listed seven influential characteristics of a successful student which could help them benefit from the many advantages of private tutoring.

Determination
A mentor or tutor can help you prepare for exams, consider potential future choices and how to deal with the unexpected. They help you develop life skills like determination, self confidence and mindfulness. They will also help you to have the strength to be able to swim upstream and dig your heels into whatever it is that is laid in front of you and help you identify potential procrastination habits and how to avoid them.

Self – Leadership
Looking within yourself is probably one of the most difficult things any human being can do. Before being able to become a leader in the real world you must be able to lead yourself. You need to have enough confidence to pull yourself into gear and get going on the tasks set before you.  You are the one that will decide on how you will handle and behave in certain situations and your attitude towards it. How you will deal with your successes and losses. Seeing the bigger picture of where you are headed in life and working towards your goals on a daily basis can help you lead your way through life. To stand with both two feet on the ground, knowing who you are at all times is vital in a world with so much competition.

Active participant
Be curious and ask questions if you do not understand a concept. It could result in approaching the topic from a different angle or answering a question everyone was wondering about but not prepared to ask. Your teacher and peers might be appreciative of that! Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question and there is no such thing as asking too many questions in class! A distant alarm bell goes off in our minds as we somehow remember these statements. The main point of being an active participant is to really listen and pay attention.

Self -Motivation
Being and staying motivated is one of the most difficult traits to maintain. As a student gets older, there will no longer be instruction and guidance from a teacher or tutor watching over them giving them homework deadlines. Students will need to set their own time-specific goals. Putting focus into moving forward towards goals on a daily basis shows internal motivation. This goes hand in hand with being a successful student, not only during student life but also in the future. Making a conscious decision to switch off from all distractions and focus on the main subject during lectures and tutoring times is vital. If you do not have good listening skills you will not be able to participate and communicate effectively with peers during tutoring and socializing.

Resilience
‘I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down.’ Remember this song? Sure you do. With so much going on in an ever-changing and influential world of young people, it is common that one’s self-confidence can take a knock at times. Many youngsters also experience personal challenges on the home front and this more often than not has an effect on their schooling and social development.

Self – Belief
So many characteristics begin with Self. It is important that young people are stimulated and guided towards finding their inner self and believing that they are capable of anything they put their mind to. If you want it, you can get it. As long as you stay focused and determined and maintain a growth mindset, you will always reach certain goals that you have yet to achieve.

Time Management
Whilst growing up and progressing through your school career, you will start managing your own time and setting deadlines to complete goals. This allows you to start taking responsibility for your own progress in life as you realise once again that only you can make a difference in this world and in your own world. Managing your own time is an important management skill you will need to learn for the career place. Being timeous with your school activities and tasks teaches you a sense of responsibility, a great trait you will need to possess in your future career.

Meeting with a mentor or tutor on a regular basis can help to build confidence and determination to reach your goals and aspirations. Tutors and Mentors who have real-life experiences can guide young children in the right direction when they are faced with difficult choices or situations. Character building is the basic foundation and building blocks of life.

The GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise that tackles educational inequality and improves social mobility. We run an after-school tutoring programme that aims to help young people between the ages of 11-16.  Our programme also includes mentoring and enrichment activities with the aim to help young people prepare for their exams, improve their grades and gain access to the most selective universities and competitive careers. To stay up to date and find out more about our courses and workshops, subscribe to our newsletter.

 

7 Ways to Use Technology for Good

7 Ways to Use Technology for Good

Growth mindset Post 16 What's new? Young people

Parenting can be challenging at times as it is, but parenting in the 21st century certainly brings on board a whole lot of different concerns. Especially when it comes to monitoring children’s exposure to technology. What is the daily limit of allowing your child to watch TV or play computer games?  What precautions can parents take to ensure children’s safety online? At what age are they allowed a smartphone?

Living in the information age where knowledge is freely available at the click of a button, means that children are learning at a much faster pace than before. Years of information and research are now contained within pages of compressed knowledge which has been simplified. There are also images and videos available to easily illustrate complexed concepts allowing children to take in information and knowledge without a long-term commitment.

A study conducted by Info Central in 2016 concluded that the average age for children to own an electronic device with access to the internet is 10, with over 64% of children favouring the tablet as a form of entertainment during car rides or while at home.

Children are very much aware of the World Wide Web and they want in. Trying to deny children access to the internet and technology may not be the best approach and you may end up doing the opposite of what you’ve hoped to achieve.  Parents need to strive towards guiding their children so that they are confident in using the internet and most importantly, be able to identify potential online danger.

The advance in technology is neither a good or bad thing. It is innovative and it simplifies a lot of once complex processes. It is neither helpful nor detrimental in itself, the latter is dependent on how you use it. Technology has revolutionised every sector and industry ranging from the corporate workplace, beauty, art as well as education.

Parents can utilise educational technology to empower their children and contribute to their growth and knowledge. Children should be taught how to use the internet and guiding them through this is the first step to empowering them with the right knowledge.

Here are seven ways to use technology for good:

E-Classrooms
The internet is home to various platforms where children can get the extra help that they need.  From online exercises and courses to online tutoring. E-classrooms often provide a supportive environment for learners and reward systems that encourage a learner’s strengths. Some courses are designed for particular grades and levels of knowledge and may be accompanied by virtual assistants who guide children through exercises and others encourage parent participation which can be a great way to spend quality time together.

Free Podcasts and Videos
Free podcasts and videos are more accessible as most platforms do not require the creation of an account before the information becomes available to the end user. The information obtained from free podcasts and videos may be a little less reliable than official e-classrooms that use curriculum materials pertaining to the country. Be that as it may, platforms like Youtube and scholarly articles shared online still remains a good source of information for young people to learn and improve their knowledge. Since the content of free podcasts and videos have not been certified and approved by scholarly boards, further research on topics might be needed to avoid being misinformed.

Mentoring Websites
One of the biggest advantages of the internet is that it connects people. Mentoring websites connects experienced people who are willing to shed light on industries with parents and their children looking for first-hand information. This can be extremely helpful when children start to consider different career options.  A mentoring website can provide children with answers pertaining to their prospective careers and what they will need to increase their chances of success.

Self Care Websites
The downside of free-flowing information is that it is not censored. Children can sometimes come across content that can negatively affect their confidence and perception of self.  It’s important that children think of the internet as a resource to build good self-confidence and a healthy self-image. There are several websites that offer health tips as well as emotional and psychological care guidelines. Positive affirmation is particularly strong and when coupled with love, support and guidance children receive from home,  these websites can help them distinguish between positive and empowering information and also help them identify and prepare them to deal with negative content.

Technology as an outlet for creativity
Another great way technology can enrich children’s lives is by providing an outlet for the creative and talented. There are great apps available, from online videos to singing apps likes Musical.ly.  Another great app is Soundcloud which allows the user to share audio files, and let’s not forget to mention Apple’s GarageBand! These are all healthy ways for children to stay focused on school and be expressive at the same time.

Calendars
It is beneficial for children to learn how to manage their time appropriately and how to organise their day. Over time they will be able to balance school and their social lives independently. Calendars are now integrated into electronic devices like phones and tablets. Google Calendar allows users to synchronise calendars between family members, friends and even schools. This is a great way for parents to keep a watchful eye on their children’s schedule without seeming too overwhelming and allow children to learn how to manage and organise their time.

Educational Chat Rooms
Apps like Whatsapp are a favourite among preteens and adolescents. Instead of just being used for passing time, they can also be used to network and discuss ideas and help clarify questions for group assignments. This free app is a useful tool because it can be used by children from all financial backgrounds. Parents can create these chat groups for their children within the app and children can exchange images, audio and links to information over the app.

GT Scholars is a non-profit organisation that focuses on social mobility and growth mindset. They also run an afterschool tutoring programme that includes online tutoring, mentoring as well as skill building and enrichment activities for young people aged 11-16. For more information on how to join the GT Scholars programme please feel free send an email to contactus@gtscholars.org

 

The Financial Value of an A grade

The Financial Value of an A grade

Post 16 What's new? Young people

During your secondary school years, you often don’t realise that your decisions and actions can have a long-term impact on your future. Young people are often ignorant of the fact that they are paving the way for success or failure. It is during these years that we start laying the foundations of our lives. The skills you learn in school will stay with you forever. You learn to set goals and apply yourself so that you can achieve those goals. You learn to balance work and play and you learn to prioritize, ensuring that you focus on what needs to be done instead of what you would like to do.

More often than not, young people underestimate the value of good grades and the impact it can have on one’s future. Good grades can open many doors, especially when it comes to applying for a tertiary education programme. With good grades, you can translate a solid education into a rewarding & well-paying career. Many students are not able to access the tertiary education programme of their choice, due to not achieving the required marks in secondary school. That is why it is important for students to understand this and work hard during school to get good grades. The future is yours, and it can be a bright one with good grades.

In addition to opening the doors to a stellar tertiary education, obtaining above average grades in secondary school can also improve your employability. Employers look at secondary school results to determine whether or not a candidate has the ability to perform well academically and if the candidate will be able to learn and thrive in a specific setting.

If you are unsure about which career path you would like to embark on, good academic results will allow you to secure an entry-level job which pays relatively well while you decide on the career that will be best suited for you. This way you will also be able to discover your strengths and weaknesses and also your likes and dislikes.

Universities, such as the Liverpool John Moore University, offers full merit-based scholarships, wherein exceptional students are rewarded for their outstanding achievements in academics. Most of these scholarships offer to settle the tuition fees for an entire undergraduate study programme, leaving the recipient of the scholarship free from any obligation to repay the programme fees. There is a wide range of scholarships available including scholarships for Masters and Doctoral studies.

Young people that excel academically can also consider applying for a scholarship abroad which will, in turn, open up a whole new world of possibilities to consider. Studying abroad will also give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in another country and its culture.
Education is a personal and financial investment and possibly one of the best investments you will make as it makes a huge difference in your life and can secure your future. It can even empower you to make a change in the world as we know it.

Having a good education, with exceptional results can provide a stable career with high earning potential. A recent article in the Telegraph stated that a person without a degree can earn up to £12,000 less per annum than a graduate entering the job market. Furthermore, the report states that this amounts to over £500,000 difference in earning potential difference over an average working life. After a survey carried out by Adzuna, a jobs website, where they’ve analysed a million vacancies, they’ve concluded that there is a widening pay gap between non-graduates and graduates. This demonstrates the difference in earning potential that having a solid education can make when pursuing the career of your choice.

There is a proven correlation between not doing well in school, and not doing well in university or your job. An article by James Rosenbaum on the American Federation of Teachers website states that students who do not perform well in school will probably not graduate from college, many not progressing further than remedial courses. High numbers of college enrolment rates and low graduation rates are known facts in most open admissions and less selective colleges (both two- and four-year). The tight connection between high school preparation (in terms of both the rigor of courses taken and grades received) and college completion are well known to statisticians, researchers, and policymakers who follow such matters.

Education is a lifelong journey, which adds lasting quality to our lives. There are so many different educational pursuits we can follow and so many different fields of study, that the only difficulty is choosing what you want to pursue! The GT Scholars Awards programme focuses on helping young people understand the variety of career and study options available to them and can assist in making an informed decision about your future career.
If you are struggling to achieve good results in school, our flagship programme, The GT Scholars Academic Programme, has been proven to help students to improve by two grades within a year of joining the programme. This unique after-school programme combines tutoring in either Maths or English, Enrichment and Skill building classes. If you are interested in one of our programmes you can register your interest here, and one of our team members will get in touch with you to discuss thing in more detail.

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Growth mindset Post 16 Private tuition University What's new? Young people

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a restaurant. A waiter walks over to your table to take your order, “One double cheeseburger, a medium chips and a regular coke, please”, the waiter jots down the order and reads it back to you, you nod, satisfied and he walks off. As you sit there waiting for your food, the restaurant starts to fill up, a family of four take the table to your left. A young couple is guided to a table directly in front of you. There is a group of ladies; celebrating a bachelorette party, fourteen in total guided to a collection of tables lined up in the centre of the room.

More people come and a few leave as you sit there an hour later and still no food. You notice that the young couple, sitting opposite from you, is staring lovingly into each other’s eyes over two orders of delicious looking ribs and mashed potatoes. You look at the table with the bachelorette and her posse, where one of the ladies is making a toast as the others enjoy an array of starters.

You look to the family of four, study their frowns, their “plateless” table and think to yourself at least you are not alone; they too, are victims of this appalling service. At least that is until your waiter arrives at their table, their orders on a tray. Fuming now, you wait until they are served and then call your waiter over to your table. “What in the world is going on, where is my food?” you demand. The waiter looks at you as if you are crazy, absolutely bonkers, “What are you talking about sir, the chef is starting on your order as we speak?”

“Starting, he is only starting!” You shout, shocked by the complete disregard for you, the casual dismissiveness of your waiter’s answer and the outright injustice of it all. “I’ve been here for over an hour, most of the people you have served came after me, I was first and yet they get their food before me…” “So what?” your waiter says, cutting you off mid-sentence. Of course, you can’t believe what he just said; you are at a loss for words. Your waiter looks toward three of his colleagues approaching, trays overloaded with soft drinks, ten double cheeseburgers and eighteen medium packets of chips

Your waiter smiles, “Here comes your order sir,” he tells you. “This is not my order,” you say as the three waiters carrying the trays begin to offload on your table. “What do you mean sir?” Your waiter seems genuinely surprised, “Did you not order, double cheeseburgers, medium chips and cokes.” “I ordered one double cheeseburger, one medium chips and one regular coke, not this mess.”  You are yelling now, beyond boiling point. “But sir, what difference does it make, whether we serve you first or last, two cheeseburgers or ten?” Your waiter asks sincerely, “Are you not the one who said, you do not need math?” You just sit there, unable to speak. “Oh yes, and this meal will cost you two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds. Now is that going to be cash or card?”

Ok, I admit that this is a bit extreme, or is it? Shakuntala Devi once wrote: “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.”

I want you to ask yourself, what do you want for your future? Do you hope to own a house someday, own a car? Well, those come with payments like taxes, mortgage, and insurance and you will need math to calculate those or risk paying too much, two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds for a cheeseburger as an example.

How about your career of choice? Math is needed for almost every single profession in the world. If you want to be a biologist, archaeologist, an attorney or work as a cashier at Tesco, it is without a doubt that numbers will be part and parcel of the job. Basically, you will never be able to live without math so accept it and try to make learning math fun.

A friend once told me, “I want to be a photographer, what do I need to know about calculus or trigonometry?” Well, that is quite simple actually, a photographer will need to calculate the depth of field, determine the correct film speed, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure, and so much more.

Do you like playing video games, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, and others? Do you have a few killer ideas that you just know will make great games? If so, guess what? Math is a necessity. Aspiring video game programmers will need to study trigonometry, physics, and calculus.

As a boy, I had dreams of becoming an astronaut, “to go where no man has gone before.” If that’s you, then consider this, astronauts use maths in order to make precise mathematical calculations, from how the spacecraft leaves Earth’s atmosphere to how the astronauts pilot the craft. So no math, no Captain Kirk.

Math is a necessity and when considering the uses and benefits thereof there are a number of reasons to learn math:

  • Develop your “lifelong learning” skills:  Asking others for help, looking stuff up, learning to deeply focus on tasks, being organized, etc.
  • Develop your work ethic:  Not making excuses, not blaming others, not being lazy, being on time, not giving up so easily, etc.  This is more important for “success” than raw IQ. There is no shortcut.
  • Get better at learning complicated things.  You are less afraid of complex ideas and classes.
  • Develop pride & confidence in your ability to understand complicated things.  This is not fake self-esteem, but one that is earned.
  • Certain careers in science, health, technology, and engineering require serious Math skills.

Studies suggest that intelligent & motivated people are generally more interesting and happier. Your frontal lobe is not done developing until the age of  25-27. The more things you can learn before reaching that age, the more things you can learn over your lifetime. A survey concluded that 20% to 40% of college freshmen take remedial courses.  Do you want to retake high school courses in college, or do you want to take real college classes?

If you need assistance with Maths or English, sign up for GT Scholars flagship programme, GT Scholars Academic  Programme. This programme not only has tutoring in Maths or English, but also provides skill-building, enrichment and mentoring.  Keep a lookout for our enrichment days and our skill-building workshops by signing up to our newsletter.

In The Know: Holiday Activities!

In The Know: Holiday Activities!

Improving attainment Post 16 What's new? Young people

The school holidays are almost upon us. Young people will get a chance to refresh and engage in other activities that are not academic in nature. With this in mind, we have put together a few activities that are both fun and educational.

Songwriting Competition: Future Music launched this competition for new and established songwriters. It’s designed to find the best songwriters in the UK and get their music heard or get them signed to music labels. The competition is open to everyone who resides in the UK and has additional categories for those younger than 18 years of age. Entry into the competition costs £10 per entry. Participants are required to state the nearest performance date to where they live, when submitting their entries. For more information, click here.

Thought Bubble Comic Art Competition: An art comic competition open to all writers and artists from all over the world. The competition includes a category for young people aged between 12 to 17 years of age and aims to discover new talent. The pages can be created using digital or analogue means and writer/artist teams are also allowed to enter the competition. The deadline for entry into the competition is Friday, 28th July and prizes include £200 worth of comics. For more information on this competition, click here.

Youth Grand Challenges Competition: This programme is part of the British Science Association, the CREST Awards. To take part, students must be between 11 and 19 years of age on the 31st of August. They must also be UK residents enrolled in full-time education and must undertake a CREST project within an eligible topic area. Individual entries to the competition are allowed for all categories except Discovery, which is only open to teams. The deadline for submissions is 26th September and there are various prizes to be won. For more information, click here.

The GT Scholars programme is an after-school programme for young people aged 11-16. Our goal is to help young people achieve excellent grades, get into top universities and enter competitive careers. We’ve still got a few spaces left for young people that want to join GT Scholars next term. If you’re interested, you’ll need to register your interest here or give us a call on 02088168066

We need to make sure students are well informed about their options post 16

We need to make sure students are well informed about their options post 16

Narrowing the gap Post 16 Private tuition Private tutors What's new?

Post 16 options

Every young person is required to be in some form of education or training from the ages of 16-18. These years can be an incredibly exciting period, as young people for the first time are in full control over what subjects and qualifications they take. It is an opportunity to begin specialising in certain areas/subjects and to truly begin down the road to independence and adulthood. We at GT Scholars think it essential for all students to know the options that are available to them post 16, so we’ve made a list to help young people make the right choice for themselves. There is most certainly something for everyone.

A levels –

A levels are the next step for many young people post 16. They are subject-based qualifications, taken at school or college, that open up a variety of options later on. Universities and employers hold A level qualifications in high regard. They are a particularly good stepping stone towards university, as they offer a bridge between the teaching styles of schools and universities. A levels are a great academic challenge and give students the chance to further enhance their knowledge of familiar subjects such as English, Maths, History etc, or perhaps to delve into subjects that they may not have come across at school, such as Psychology or Politics.

Vocational Courses –

Another college-based post 16 option are vocational courses. They are different from A levels in that they typically are more hands-on, practical qualifications. They are specialist qualifications which focus on specific subject and employment areas, a few examples from the long list being business, social care and hairdressing . Vocational courses can help students gain employment skills and also provide a path towards a variety of university courses. They are a respected and well-established option post 16.

Apprenticeships –

Apprenticeships are gaining popularity in the UK, as more and more young people are recognising their value as a legitimate alternative to A-Levels. They offer something very different; practical, hands-on experience in a workplace. The skills you gain through apprenticeships are mostly job-specific and offer a fantastic route towards eventual full-time employment in your industry of choice. As an apprentice you can gain qualifications whilst working and earning money. The scope of apprenticeships has widened in recent years, with roles now available in a wide variety of sectors from engineering to IT to business. The modern apprenticeship is a challenging, rewarding and dynamic post 16 option.

Below are a list of links with further information to help you make the right choice for you-

https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/info/your-choices-at-16
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/16-18-choices/getting-started/what-are-my-options
https://www.allaboutschoolleavers.co.uk/articles/article/100/post-16-options
https://www.connexions-tw.co.uk/moving-forward-options-post-16

The world of free online education

The world of free online education

Post 16 Resources University What's new?

Next month is the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. In the last 25 years, we have seen posted letters turn into e-mail and witnessed the birth of social media. But for students and parents, the internet also brought something far more useful: free online education.

Private tuition can bring about huge benefits to young people but what about independent learning? There is a wealth of research supporting the benefits of teaching students to be self-starters and helping students develop an intrinsic motivation for learning  – learning because they simply enjoy it.

Thankfully there are many places where young people can start to develop their independent learning journey. There are thousands of websites that can provide 24/7 access to a whole world of learning and the best part is that they’re free to use.

Free online education for young children

Crickweb offers fun and interactive educational games for children from their early years right through to Key Stage 2. Subjects covered include Maths, Science, Literacy and History.

If you’re focusing on providing a world education for your children, then National Geographic Kids offers a fun space for children to play games and videos that will teach them more about the natural environment.

Free online education for secondary school students

For children revising for secondary school exams, the BBC Bitesize website has some of the most in-depth revision aids and practice quizzes online. Now with a free app for tablets and smartphones, students have the option to benefit from Key Stage 1 Maths tuition all the way to GCSE level Science tuition.

Another popular free online education provider is S-Cools. Referred to as ‘The Revision Website’, S-Cools not only provides revision guides for GCSE and A-Level subjects, but they also have a forum space for students to group together and tutor each other as peers.

For students focusing on English literature, SparkNotes and EnglishBiz together offer comprehensive study notes on curriculum literature. Perfect for keeping an analytical mind on nights when your child isn’t with their English tutor!

Free online education for all ages

Perhaps you yourself want to study a new language or your child needs to revise their history? Memrise provides free online courses in a wide range of subjects presented as quizzes and games, which also make them fun to complete. Whether you use the website online or via the app, you get to track your progress as you go and pick up at home later where you left off earlier in the library.

If yourself or your child learns best via video courses then the Khan Academy is one of the best free education tools out there. The courses are based on sub topics within Science, History, etc., which gives great in-depth understanding to a topic without the need for private tuition. A similar website that offers free online education in advanced modular topics is FutureLearn.

Further sites that offer free and in-depth learning courses include EdX (which also offers a paid opportunity to earn recognised qualifications) and Udemy. Udemy also offers paid courses, but there is a huge library of free courses on offer on a wide range of topics from business marketing to world history.

The GT Scholars programme aims to help young people develop an intrinsic motivation for learning. We teach young people how to become better learners so that they can attain excellent grades across all subjects.

Why not subscribe to ‘In the know’? This is our weekly newsletter for parents. You’ll get updates on events and academic and career opportunities for 11-16 year olds. Click here to subscribe: www.gtscholars.org/contact-us

7 things to think about when choosing a university

7 things to think about when choosing a university

Post 16 University What's new?

University can be one of the most exciting and rewarding times in your life. But before you get there, there is the challenge of choosing the right university.

I went through the application process a few years ago and understand how tough and stressful it can be. So here are some tips to help the aspiring university student make the right decision

  • Take your time: Choosing the right university is important. Remember you will be studying there for, most likely, three years. Don’t leave the process to the last minute. Deciding where you want to study can be tough, so give yourself the luxury of time to think it over. It may be worth thinking about this as early as Year 9 or 10. Click here to read a blog about achieving your goals by starting with the end in mind.
  • Look at league tables: League tables can be a good indicator as to the overall rating and reputation of a university as well as the quality of any given course. There are a number of respected league tables published every year, such as The Complete University Guide, the Guardian University Guide and The Times Good University Guide. Also, note that different universities excel at different subjects, so make sure you research the reputation of your potential universities in regards to your chosen subject.
  • Do your research! University websites contain a lot of detail about the institution, its history and values. You can also read the university’s prospectus online or order one to arrive by post. Some universities will require you to apply earlier than the usual deadline, other universities operate a collegiate system and expect you to choose a college when applying. Some universities expect you to take an additional entrance exam before being accepted on the course. Remember that the more you know about your potential university, the more prepared you will be with your application.
  • Attend open days. Make sure you attend a handful of open days, so that you have some comparisons. Going to visit a university is the only way you will get a true feel for what life will be like there. The day I stepped onto the campus at the University of Kent, was the day I knew where I wanted to study and spend the next three years of my life. At an open day you get a chance to meet and talk to staff and students and also tour the university campus. Statistics and league tables tell us something, but the first-hand experience of a visit will help paint a more detailed picture of what a university has to offer.
  • Lifestyle & location: Don’t forget to think about location when choosing a university. Ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want outside of your studies? Some may favour living in a big city with a vibrant and varied nightlife. Others may prefer a low key, relaxed environment. You may also want to consider how far away from home you are prepared to live. Some students choose to live at home with their family during their time at university, others want to live within a short distance from home and others are quite happy to move much further away.
  • Societies, Sports & Extracurricular activities: There are usually hundreds of societies in each university and some universities have world-renowned facilities to support these activities eg. Sports at Loughborough University. You won’t be spending all your time studying so if there’s an activity that you enjoy and want to continue at university, it may be worth looking into the university that will support you with this. If you don’t have an extra-curricular that you are particularly interested in, it may be worth looking at the university list of societies to have a think about the kinds of activities that you would want to take part in, in your free time.
  • What else is on offer: Some universities have really good exchange programmes where you can study abroad as part of your course. Some universities have an excellent careers fair and a career centre to support you with getting internships and finding a graduate job. Some universities have really good bursaries which could reduce the cost of your course. Others allow you to take credits as part of your degree so you can study Biology and take some credits in Music (if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for!). Wherever you choose to study, make sure that you look into any other added benefits as this will really help with your decision making.

We hope this is helpful to anyone that’s thinking about going to university in the next couple of years. For more hints and tips on universities and careers, visit the GT Scholars blog www.gtscholars.org/blog

Choosing a university course? 5 tips from a recent graduate to help you make the right choice

Choosing a university course? 5 tips from a recent graduate to help you make the right choice

Post 16 University What's new?

So you’ve been working really hard preparing for university, you’re pretty sure you’ll get the grades and maybe you even know which university you’ll go to… but there’s a huge decision you’ll need to make. Which university course will you study?

According to UCAS, there are 37,000 undergraduate courses at over 370 universities across the UK. There are many factors that that need to be taken into consideration when deciding the course that is right for you. We’ve written a list of 5 things you should consider when choosing your future degree course.

1. Choose something you are passionate about

This tip may seem obvious but I can’t stress this enough. Remember that you’ll be spending at least three years studying your chosen subject. If you aren’t passionate about your subject then you’ll likely find it much harder to motivate yourself and you won’t enjoy the experience. A mixture of passion for your subject and hard work will stand you in great stead for your time at university.

2. Look at the course content

It’s essential to research the specific details of your course. You may find that one university has modules in your subject that interest you far more than the modules in the same subject at another university. Be sure to look at the second and third year modules, as well as the first year as this will give a good indication of the direction of your course.

3. Check league tables & specialities

League tables can be a good indicator as to the quality of any given course. There are a number of respected league tables published every year, such as The Complete University Guide, the Guardian University Guide and The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide. Also, note that different universities excel at different subjects, so make sure you research the reputation of your potential universities in regards to your chosen subject.

4. Think about your career direction

It may seem a little early to think about career decisions but keep in mind the paths your course opens up for you. It is an obvious point, but some professions need people with degrees in specific subjects, so if you know what you want to do later in life, you may want to tailor your qualification to that profession. If you are not sure what you want to do in later life, don’t panic. A degree opens up a lot more paths than it closes, and you are not limited to working in a career which directly relates to your degree.

5. Look into degrees that offer something unique

There are a large number of degree courses in the UK that offer unique opportunities such as sandwich placements where you spend a year working in a company, usually between your second and third year. Other degrees offer credits so that you can graduate with a degree in more than one subjet eg Music degree with Spanish. Another popular choice is a degree with the opportunity to study abroad for a year. This can be an excellent opportunity to travel the world, meet new people and complete your degree at the same time.

We hope this gives you a good idea of how to get started with your search for a degree course. For more hints and tips on universities and careers, visit the GT Scholars blog www.gtscholars.org/blog

Extra-curricular activities to boost your personal statement or CV

Extra-curricular activities to boost your personal statement or CV

Post 16 University What's new? Young people

Your teenage years can be consumed by getting the grades for work or University. But it doesn’t all have to be about studying! Taking part in extracurricular activities not only breaks up the school week but also gives you an opportunity to show how gifted and talented you are to future schools and employers.

The GT Scholars programme knows this, which is why we love providing our skill building days and encouraging you to develop transferrable skills in leadership, time management and working as a team. But if you’re looking for even more ways to boost your personal statement or CV here are five extracurricular activities examples that employees love!

1. Language activities

Travel is more affordable than ever and many companies work internationally, which makes language skills hugely appealing to prospective employers.

As for adding language skills to your personal statement, what’s more impressive than showing Universities that you personally managed your time and studies to learn another language?

2. Sports

Sports are a great way to boost your personal statement or CV because so often they are also fun ways to hang out with friends. Why do they look so good? Engaging in sports outside of school shows your ability to work as a team, motivate yourself to improve and be reliable enough to turn up to training sessions.

3. Volunteering

Showing that you are willing to use your free time to help others and be depended on not only reflects your innate interest in the welfare of others but can also offer a wide range of skills in business and events. Volunteering in the community could give you valuable experience in anything from management of others, team work, money-handling, communication and event organisation.

4. Tutoring

Acting as a private tutor to those younger than you implies strong leadership and support skills. Tutoring others in school subjects also helps you understand those subjects better, which will then come across in your confidence of that subject as well as showcasing your ability to coach others and work for a shared goal rather than just a personal one.

5. Creative experience

With so much emphasis on grades in school, you can forget to spend time being creative. But employees and Universities love to see time spent on creative activities! Whether it’s making and selling arts and crafts, producing short videos for Youtube with friends or writing for a student website, each of these skills shows your ability to take initiative, think outside the box and present valuable skills in business and IT.

A really simple example of this is from my own years at Secondary school when I decided to make tote bags out of left over fabric and then sold them through a Facebook page. Straight away I could add business and online marketing experience to my personal statement for University!

So there you have five extra-curricular activities that look good for University or your CV. And the best part is that you can have a great time with friends who have similar interests!

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme for young people aged 11-16. Scholars receive support through tutoring, mentoring, enrichment and skill-building activities that are specifically designed to improve their grades at school, help them get them into top universities and help them enter competitive careers.

To find out more about the GT Scholars Programme and arrange a consultation with a member of our team visit click here