How To Get The Most Out Of Going To University

How To Get The Most Out Of Going To University

What's new?

University education opens the doors to a bigger, better and opportunity-filled world for its graduates. According to the UN, not only are university graduates better paid in the workplace but compared to high school graduates, they have longer life spans, better access to health care, better dietary and health practices and increased economic stability and security.

Most of us have expectations of what university is like based on what we see in movies and TV shows. But actually, the incredible thing about university is that it can be anything you want it to be!

It can be a creative outlet for artistic expression or a hub for intellectual debate. It can a place for you to discover your strengths and abilities or to discover something completely new about yourself. It can be a place to meet new people from all around the world, and a place to have plenty of fun while also studying something you are actually passionate about.

With this being said, there is also no doubt that transitioning from a high school graduate to a university student can be a little daunting, especially if you are uncertain of what to expect. To help you make a smoother transition from school to university and to help you get the most of your university experience, we have listed 8 useful tips below.

Choose your university courses carefully
Consider your interests as well as which courses would be best for your career choice. Avoid choosing courses because they appear to be an easy option as you may not like or be able to engage with the content. Moreover, avoid choosing courses just because a friend is doing it – you will definitely meet new people and make new friends in every course you do. Take your time doing your research about various courses and ask for advice from academic counsellors to make well-informed choices.

Be the master of your fate and the captain of your ship
Your first few weeks at university will be a little daunting as you juggle various assignments and keep up with numerous classes. One way to overcome this is to view university as a great big ocean with endless wonderful possibilities. You have the chance to try different academic programmes, learn from experts and the best minds in your field, and explore your academic passions. Think of yourself as the captain of a ship navigating through these waters. This means you need to be in charge and take control of this journey or else you run the risk of being swept away by heavy storms. You can do this by keeping track of your deadlines, attending classes and tutorials regularly, and taking a proactive role in your studies. This will make university a calm sea to navigate.

Immerse yourself in student life
University is usually one of the only times in your life where you will have the chance to move out of your comfort zone, try new things, be exposed to new opportunities, and connect with people of diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. Don’t be afraid to push your comfort zone and be open to the many social and networking opportunities that are available for you to get involved in. If you are not sure how to get involved in campus life, get in touch with your university’s student council. Student councils often lead various student associations, societies, and initiatives like sporting clubs, cultural societies, debate teams etc.

Always prioritise your studies
Whilst it may be easy to get distracted by the social and fun aspects of university life, it is very important to remember why you are there. At the end of your undergraduate career, you will need to graduate with a degree, and with good grades as well. It is therefore important to maintain a balance between having fun and studying. Do not risk an assignment deadline or studying for an exam to attend a party or a social event. The wonderful thing about university life is that there are always social events throughout the year, so study first and have fun later.

Attend extracurricular lectures and seminars
Most universities invite guest speakers and lecturers who are subject-matter experts and leaders in their respective fields. These guest lectures are usually freely available and are unique opportunities to learn something new in your field or in a completely different field and to meet some really interesting and innovative people who will be a great source of inspiration. These events will also be a great opportunity for networking.

Make use of university resources
Universities offer their students various resources to help them excel in their studies including well-equipped libraries, study rooms, free internet access, state-of-the-art sporting facilities and so much more.  Find out what your university has to offer and instead of spending your own money on expensive services outside the university, you can utilise the excellent free resources your university provides for you.

Be open to new opportunities
Most universities offer opportunities for students to apply for bursaries, university exchange programmes or to earn money whilst studying.  Find out about these opportunities and don’t be afraid to apply to be a part of them. These opportunities are great for preparing you for the working world and exposing you to new cultures and ways of thinking.

Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Universities offer a plethora of health and wellness resources on campus to help students who feel overwhelmed, homesick, stressed or who are just simply in need of a friendly ear. Your mental and emotional health is as important as your physical wellbeing, so reach out to people you trust or your university’s student health services for guidance.

As a final word of advice, don’t forget to enjoy your journey through university.  The movies and TV shows got one thing right about university- they are usually some of the best years of your life!

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

7 Things to look into if you are considering obtaining your Degree in the USA

7 Things to look into if you are considering obtaining your Degree in the USA

What's new?

Studying abroad has become a very common option for young people over the years with the USA being the most popular student destination. According to InternationalStudents.com, the USA has the largest international student population with over 1 million international students pursuing educational opportunities each year.

Students are said to choose the USA for a number of reasons including academic excellence, advanced technology and research opportunities, a variety of educational opportunities, cultural education and an efficient support service for its international students.

Before you decide to study in the USA, there a number of things that an interested student should prepare in order to be considered as an international student in the USA and to get accepted into an American educational institution. Here are 7 things you should look into.

Do extensive research on the various educational institutions across the country
The USA has a number of state and private institutions positioned in different states offering similar majors and activities. However, it is important to note that these majors and activities also differ due to each states distinct identity which includes factors such as the climate, culture, and the economy. It is therefore advised that a student should read up on states and its institutions, and choose to study in an environment that compliments their personality, preferences and educational interests.
For instance, Washington offers six state universities and 24 private institutions to choose from, each offering a number of different majors and activities. This state can get up to 500 cm of rain yearly, very cold temperatures in winter and heat waves in summer. Universities in Washington benefit from the local economy which means industries such as computer software development, tourism, biotechnology, agriculture and telecommunications are advanced. Washington also offers professional and club sports such as basketball, football, soccer, ice hockey and baseball for sports fanatics. In addition, it boasts beautiful terrain, lakes and mountains where one can hike, camp, ski and enjoy a horse ride. Therefore, students looking to thrive in such industries, sports and activities, and who can easily adapt to this climate, may consider studying in Washington.

Read up on the university that you want to apply to and make sure you have backup options
After reading up on the different states and institutions, you will need to make a decision on the university you want to attend. This can be influenced by the subjects or the fields of study that the institutions offer, internship opportunities, and the top schools offering your degree of choice. You should also include backup options in case you don’t get into your first choice university.

Complete your application to the university
At this point, you would be ready to apply to your preferred institution. Thorough planning and time management is needed for the success of this process as a lot of documentation and arrangements need to be done correctly. The list below shows what this process includes:

  • Give yourself sufficient time to apply. This means to start the application process as early as possible as this affords you the time to read the application instructions and requirements thoroughly and properly. It gives you time to complete the application form with no errors and to provide necessary documentation as per specifications. It is suggested that a student starts this process 18 months before the academic year begins.
  • Institutions with competitive admissions usually require a significant amount of effort in their applications, including writing personal statements, requesting recommendations from your past teachers or tutors, and signing up for entrance exams such as the SAT, ACT and TOEFL to meet application standards. You should prepare for the above tasks by researching how to do them correctly and when to do them so you will have enough time to complete them.
  • School curriculums differ in each country therefore institutions accepting international students need to verify the authenticity of your documents and the status of the school you attended. This means your school may have to submit your transcripts to a credential evaluator who will examine your transcripts and translate them according to the American curriculum.

Apply for a VISA
One of the most important tasks when considering to study in the USA is applying for your VISA. There are different visas that could be issued to a student, namely the F1 Visa, M1 Visa and J1 Visa.
The F1 Visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic programme. This visa does allow part-time employment on campus with a maximum of 20 hours per week and it allows for the student to work on optional practical training (OPT) for up to a year after completing their academic programme.
The M1 Visa is issued to a student attending a vocational school and holders of this visa are not permitted to work during their studies. Moreover, M1 students need to prove that they have sufficient funds to pay for their studies and living costs for the duration of the stay.
The J1 Visa is issued to students who need to acquire practical training to complete their academic programme, which is unavailable in their home country. Employment opportunities are the same as those for F1 Visa students.
A student would need one of the above visas to qualify to study in the USA. Furthermore, they would need to prove they can support themselves financially and provide health insurance evidence to cover any medical expenses they may need.

Understand the costs
Financial stability is important for students considering studying abroad. It is important to calculate how much money you will need for the academic programme, books and overall living expenses for the duration of your stay. There are also many international loans, scholarships and bursaries that institutions and organizations offer to international students which you can choose to apply for.

Set up reliable communication methods
To keep in touch with loved ones back home, you should make sure you set up accounts with different communication apps to keep in touch with loved one such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber. These come in very handy when you start feeling homesick.

Plan ahead for your student life
Finally, plan ahead for your life beyond the classroom. For example, you should include extramural activities and travel in your budget. You should look into public transport options around your university and the amenities available such as restaurants and retail places. You should also research the extramural activities that your university offers such as student clubs and societies so that you can enjoy the full experience.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

LSE CHOICE helps young people get into university!

LSE CHOICE helps young people get into university!

What's new?

The London School of Economics and Political Science runs a free programme to help young people get into university.

LSE CHOICE gives talented young people from London state schools and colleges the tools they need to successfully apply to LSE and other highly selective universities.

Each year, LSE CHOICE works with 180 students from under-represented backgrounds. Students apply for a place on one of five LSE CHOICE subject streams:

  • Economics
  • Government and Politics
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Sociology

The programme includes a Summer School and Saturday sessions:

Summer School
The non-residential Summer School lasts for five days from 19 – 23 August 2019. Participants study a subject of interest to them and take sessions designed to develop their key skills and critical thinking. Current LSE academic staff and research students, external speakers and experienced subject teachers deliver subject enhancement sessions. It also includes university information sessions which are delivered by staff from the LSE Recruitment and Admissions teams.

Saturday Sessions
The two-hour Saturday sessions run on 16 Saturday mornings during the autumn and spring terms of Year 13. Each session focuses on an important area of the subject, encouraging students to think more broadly about the topic. Participants are expected to use the LSE Library and are also encouraged to attend LSE public lectures.

Participation is free of charge and lunch is provided on each day of the Summer School. Students are given an attendance allowance of £20 for each Saturday session, which includes a contribution towards transport costs.

Would your child like to be a part of this fantastic programme? Find more information hereThe deadline for applications is Sunday 10th March 2019 at  11.59pm.

Did you catch us in The Guardian?

Did you catch us in The Guardian?

Our Impact Success stories University What's new? Young people

Just in case you missed it, GT Scholars was mentioned in The Guardian at the weekend! One of our alumni, Micheal, was featured in an article about his perseverance through university despite the challenges he faces. Micheal mentioned how being on the GT Scholars programme helped him achieve some of the best A-level grades at his school and helped motivate him to pursue his aspirations.

The article has been an insight into some of the struggles faced by young people when pursuing their ambitions. In Micheal’s case, since going into university, he’s had to work 38 hours a week in order to fund his studies. No one should have to go through this at university and the article has led to many people reaching out to help him, including the creation of a GoFundMe page to support him through the final part of his degree course. We also hope that there will be further safeguards put in place to prevent young people like Micheal from having to fund their own studies, particularly if it is their first degree.

For us, this article reminds us of the importance of our work at GT Scholars. We feel very privileged that he still remembers what he gained from being on the programme. We believe that every child deserves a chance to succeed regardless of his or her background and this is one of the reasons why we run programmes for ambitious young people and provide free places to young people on Free School Meals.

To find out more about our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programmes for ambitious young people, register your interest here.


GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

In the Know – Ideas for the summer!

In the Know – Ideas for the summer!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Summertime is all about having fun, but it can also be the perfect time for your child to improve their grades, learn something new, or prepare for university during the long summer holiday. Here are three fun summer activities we have found that your child might be interested in.

Study in the USA!
Ever considered studying abroad? Fullbright Commission’s Study in the USA Seminar on the 26th of June offers a complete overview of the undergraduate admissions process as well as funding opportunities. The seminar will take place at the University of Notre Dame in London from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Registration needs to be done in advance. Find out more here.

Stemettes Hackathon
In association with Oracle, the STEMettes Hackathon is a great platform for girls between the ages of 5 and 22 to put their ideas into action and have fun with computer science. This event is free and will take place on 23rd of June from 10am to 5pm at London Connected Learning Centre. Find out more and how to register here.

Digital Photography Summer School
Ravensbourne is running a 3-day creative Photography Summer School from 9th to 11th of July. This course is free and open for young people between the ages of 14 to 18. The course will give young people the chance to explore opportunities to study photography in a higher education setting. Pictures can be done with a smartphone but digital SLR cameras will also be provided. For more information and how to enrol click here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Exciting STEM opportunities!

In the Know – Exciting STEM opportunities!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics offer fascinating learning experiences and rewarding career opportunities. In fact, STEM jobs are expected to grow at double the rate of other occupations creating 142,000 jobs between now and 2023, according to a report published by the Social Market Foundation and EDF. Here are three exciting opportunities for young people interested in learning more about STEM.

Routes into STEM
These innovative 3-day non-residential courses are focused on helping young people in Years 9 and 10 know more about the rewarding and challenging careers Maths and Science subjects can lead to. You will also get to engage with a college, a university and a company to compare routes into STEM careers and visualise your dream career and how to make it happen. Applications are currently open and there are bursaries available. Find out more here.

She Does Biomaths Competition
To celebrate the Year of Mathematical Biology, the University of Cambridge Newnham College and Lucy Cavendish College are inviting female GCSE students and to explore some of the intriguing connections between mathematics and the biological sciences. The competition is open to girls studying at a standard age UK state school who are starting Year 11 or Year 12 in September 2018, and there are two projects that they can choose from. Applications are open now and you can find out more here.

Inspire Courses
The Engineering Development Trust offers courses for young people in Year 11 who have a passion for STEM to be inspired at a leading UK university. During the course, you will be introduced to engineering or science through project work and workshops to give you a flavour of what to expect at university, and you will get to meet engineers, scientists, researchers and professionals. There are non-residential and residential options available, with bursaries also available. Applications are still open and you can find out more here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Upcoming scholarship opportunities!

In the Know – Upcoming scholarship opportunities!

In The Know Parents What's new?

University can be quite expensive, but there are many different ways young people can access funding for tuition, accommodation or books. One such way is through a scholarship programme. Here are three scholarship opportunities that are currently open for young people looking to join an undergraduate engineering programme at a university.

The Kingsbury Scholarship
The Kingsbury Scholarship is a highly prestigious engineering scholarship aimed at bright and dynamic students who intend to study at Imperial College London. With a total value of £20,000 per year for up to 4 years, eligible candidates must also agree to take part in one or more internships or work placements in a UK engineering industry, either before their start at Imperial, as part of their course, or in two or more summer breaks. Online applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday, 1st June 2018. Find out more here.

Chris Seymour Bursary
The Chris Seymour Bursary aims to support one UK female student in financial need who wants to study electronic or electrical engineering at University College London. The award will be £10,416 per year, based on a three-year programme and is subject to satisfactory academic progress. Applicants must hold an offer of admission to UCL to study a full-time undergraduate degree within the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences. The deadline for the application is Friday, 6th July 2018 at 5pm. Find out more here.

IGEM Undergraduate Scholarship
The Institute of Gas Engineers & Managers Undergraduate Scholarship is open to students who currently hold a conditional or unconditional offer for an undergraduate Engineering Council accredited course at any university in the UK. Successful students will receive up to £9,000 for full-time study. Renewal of the funding after the first year is conditional on satisfactory progress being made. Applications must be submitted by Saturday, 30th June 2018. Find out more here.

GT Scholars offers after-school programmes that focus on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

Apprenticeships should be promoted as a strong alternative to university

Apprenticeships should be promoted as a strong alternative to university

Mentoring What's new? Work experience Young people

One of the main questions asked by recruiters around the world is whether a job applicant has the relevant experience for the role applied for.  Experience can be one of the crucial deciding factors within any job placement. Although there are many companies who still require that employees undergo internal training, they would still like to know whether the candidate has had some previous experience in the field and whether they are familiar with job requirements and responsibilities associated with the position they are applying for.  An Apprenticeship is a great way to give young career enthusiasts the opportunity to gain knowledge in the field even before their career has started. This allows them to apply for jobs with confidence, knowing they have some sort of relevant experience that will count in their favour.

Apprenticeships allow young people to gain practical experience and put their theoretical experience to the test. In the United Kingdom, apprenticeships are entitled to the minimum wage rate for their age, which allows working-class students to set aside their financial worries whilst gaining a degree on the side. Internships are there to give students the opportunity to gain practical knowledge of something they are learning in their academic world. A company will provide them with an opening in a department where they are able to start learning more about a certain career. Experience for post-school careers is then gained, which makes applying for jobs in the future a lot easier.

Young people considering an apprenticeship can benefit in many ways:

Getting to know your abilities & skills
It is one thing to identify your strengths and discussing them with your tutor or mentor.  Putting these strengths into practice and developing them is something completely different. During an internship, you will work closely with experienced people who have already been in the industry for some time. Use this time to observe and learn from them.  You need to use your time to grow, professionally as well as personally. An apprenticeship serves as a window into the working world where one will have to make decisions, take responsibility for them, and facing the consequences that result from them. You will get to know yourself and how you operate under pressure. You will begin to understand how the things you have learnt in the classroom are put to the test in real life. On the job training will provide you with real-life situations to test your abilities and skills.

Gaining Confidence
Being given an opportunity to work in a professional environment with professional people is a great recipe for self –confidence. Your assigned supervisors will contribute a great deal to your internship experience. They know that you are there to learn and gain knowledge, without the pressure and responsibilities of an employee in a new job, where you need to prove yourself, you will be allowed to be yourself without too much pressure.

Each company works differently, but most have performance-based feedback sessions for apprentices or internship employees, as this is a way that most companies evaluate their employees and make them feel important and appreciated within the workplace. You will have constant feedback session on a weekly/monthly basis to see how you are performing and coping in your department. This, in turn, helps you to mould your professional confidence.

Networking Skills
Networking and acquiring new connections within the business world is vital for your future growth within any industry you would like to excel in. Meeting new people and gaining industry-specific insight is a valuable way of building up your knowledge.  At the end of the day it boils down to that old saying, ’’ knowledge is power’’. Apprenticeships allow you the opportunity to gain knowledge in your professional field. One of the other important advantages is that you will also receive a reference letter once your apprenticeship is completed. The reference letter will be an added advantage for your curriculum vitae. During an apprenticeship, you will most likely move between departments so that you can get a better understanding of the company as a whole. Each department works together to deliver the final product or service. Therefore, it is vital for employers to move you around during your time at the company.it also allows you to meet all kinds of different people in different ranks and chains of command.

Future Job Potential
Starting your career at a young age can potentially give you a head start,  especially when you consider that your career would actually be on hold if you were only attending university and not working at the same time. Apprenticeships allow you to have a head-start in the future job market especially when you come from a lower income household.

Gaining Industry Specific Knowledge
There is only so much the textbooks can teach you. Practical experience is crucial.  On the job training will give you insight into things you would never learn in a classroom. You will be able to work with experienced staff members, who you are able to learn from. You can then practise these skills within a professional environment and put yourself to the test. If you are studying for a university degree on the side you can still obtain your degree whilst gaining experience at the same time.

Over the last decade, apprenticeships have fast become a popular new way of climbing up the corporate ladder. It is also a lot quicker than the traditional route of first studying and then applying for jobs afterwards.  A mentor can guide you step by step on how to apply for these positions and help you decide which positions are the best and worth applying for.

The GT Scholars Programme is a not-for-profit social enterprise  that offers various programmes and workshops to provide young people between the ages of 11 to 16 with the necessary skills to set them on a successful career path, improve grades and enrich their mentoring experiences. Our GT Scholars Awards Programme offers one-to-one mentoring sessions and free access to our enrichment or skill-building events. Our mentors provide young people with ongoing coaching so that they are equipped with the strategies and tools they need to achieve their personal goals. This helps our scholars discover their strengths, it develops their resilience and it helps build confidence in their own abilities. Sign up here and look out for our enrichment days and skill-building workshops.

In the Know – Resources for aspiring doctors!

In the Know – Resources for aspiring doctors!

In The Know Parents What's new?

The medical profession will always be considered to be well-respected and noble. You get to save lives and what can be more precious than that? Doctors will always be needed, so there will always be job opportunities. And with the variety of specialisations becoming available, the profession offers a wide array of options. Here are a few useful resources and events for aspiring doctors.

The British Medical Association
The BMA website offers loads of resources for young people wanting to study medicine. It includes information on what life is really like as a doctor, how to apply to medical school, and other common questions on medicine as a career. It also includes useful links to organisations that offer work experience placements, which is vital if you are planning to study medicine as all UK medical schools now require applicants to have experience in a caring or service role in a health or related field. Find out more here.

InvestIN Young Doctor Programme
The Young Doctor Programme aims to give you a deep insight into life as a doctor, both through sessions with current professionals and through practising some key medical tasks yourself. You will also be directed in how to maximise your chances of gaining admission into a top UK medical school. After the programme, InvestIN gives you lifetime access to their platform for you to ask their professionals any questions. The programme takes place on Sunday the 22nd of April 2018 and is for 15-18-year-old students. You can find out more here.

Student Ladder
Student Ladder offers links to work experience and internship programmes. Since most medical and dental schools require you to have some relevant work experience in a health or related field, it is important for young people wanting to study medicine to enrol in a work experience programme. This website provides information on work experience programmes in the medical field and links to existing programmes in the UK. Find out more here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Scholarship opportunities for young people!

In the Know – Scholarship opportunities for young people!

What's new?

Scholarships are important for two obvious reasons – the financial assistance it provides for students wanting to study and the benefit of being part of a programme that recognises your academic success. But, scholarships can provide many other benefits, including work experience programmes, post-university work placement, travel bursaries and extracurricular merit. Here are three great scholarship opportunities for young people to apply for this term.

BeArt-Presets Scholarship
BeArt-Presets is a group of passionate photographers and designers specializing in photography. They want to help a student to attain their educational goals and reach their full potential by offering them a £3600 scholarship. This scholarship is for any student applying for any degree at any accredited university in the UK. In order to apply, you will need to fill out the online application form and submit a short essay explaining how the scholarship will impact your life. Applications close on the 1st of April 2018.

Bird & Bird Bursary Scheme
Bird & Bird is an international law firm that seeks to address the financial hurdle that often deters bright people from attending university. Their bursary scheme offers aspirational law students a £7500 award paid in instalments over three years, a mentoring scheme with their current trainee solicitors to give support and career guidance, and a place on their summer vacation scheme which will take place at the end of the second year at university. Applications close on the 31st of May 2018 and you can find more information here.

(ISC)² Undergraduate Scholarship
This scholarship offered by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education aims to ease some of the educational financial burden of aspiring information security professionals. It offers students wanting to study a degree in IT specialising in information or cyber security up to £3600. They can be studying full-time or part-time at any accredited university. Applications close on the 15th of March 2018 and you can find more information here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. Registration for the January programme is now open. You can register online by following this link.