pre-university
9751 Pre-University Preparation Courses: Get Set for University

For many current A-level students, preparing for university is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking times of their lives. With so many questions running through your head – ‘will I make friends?’, ‘Will the course be too hard?’, ‘Will I get too homesick and miss my mum’s cooking?’ – it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of starting university for the first time.

One really good way to make sure you feel academically ready for the beginning of university is by taking on a pre-university preparation course, either just before you start university or in the years leading up to your application.

These courses usually take place over the summer holidays before term starts and offer several weeks of top-class teaching from an expert in your chosen university subject. On top of this, these courses often offer excellent extracurricular opportunities, the chance to meet motivated students from around the world to learn alongside, and – not to be underestimated – a truly fun way to spend a few weeks of your summer.

Read on to see how a pre-university preparation course could help you with the academic transition to university, boost your confidence and offer you a host of new experiences and the opportunities to make new friends too!Get to grips with academia and boost your confidence!

For many students, the academic challenges of university are a substantial step up from what they are used to at A-level. With this in mind, a pre-university preparation course can give you a taste of what the academic standard is likely to be like at university, whilst being specifically tailored to offer as much personalised guidance as you need to help with this transition.

A lack of confidence can often hold back new university students in seminars, who are not used to speaking out in class and feel that their opinions do not matter, as a result of not wanting to ‘stand out’ from the crowd at school.

If you are studying a humanities or social sciences subject at university, I can assure you, your opinions absolutely do matter and it is definitely best to speak up in seminars rather than taking a back seat. A pre-university preparation course will help boost your confidence in this respect, meaning that you are ready for your voice to be heard when term begins.

After several weeks of stimulating academic courses from expert tutors in your field, you are bound to leave feeling inspired about your subject and eager to learn more when term starts properly!Find your passion ahead of the game

A major advantage of these university preparations courses is that, by choosing one which is closely related to your chosen subject, you will explore material similar to that which you would study at university. In fact, if you are not sure which subject you want to study at university, or are deciding between two courses, taking on a university preparation course in that subject might be the ideal thing to help you make this all-important decision.

For many students, the A-level syllabus is too restrictive and does not let them discover what their true interests are within their subjects. With this in mind, a university preparation course offers you a taste of this in advance, setting the wheels in motion for when you get to university. Turning up to seminars already passionate about an aspect will certainly make you stand out in the crowd, and mean that you have a far better academic experience too.

Bonus: Fine-tune your university applications

If you’re still in the process of applying, or are waiting for your university interviews to take place, you’re in luck! Some pre-university preparatory courses – such as that offered by Immerse Education – also offer university applications advice and guidance as part of the programmes.

Through Immerse Education’s optional Interview Skills Workshops, students gain an insight into the core skills they need to articulate their viewpoints under pressure – such as that experienced in an Oxbridge university applications interview – and help you practice your debating skills in a safe and friendly environment, before the big day!

In addition, Immerse Education also offers optional Personal Statement Consultations where students receive feedback from trained mentors about how to tailor their personal statements for their chosen course and universities. These services will boost both the quality of your application, and your confidence that it is the best possible application it can be, which really showcases who you are to your universities of choice.Get ahead of the pack with the skills you gain

Not only can a university preparation course make you look excellent on paper (by helping you improve your personal statement through mentoring) but it can also help you stand out from the crowd through the skills you gain during the programmes.

On these courses, you will learn lessons which go well beyond the framework of the classroom, encouraging you to develop both intellectually and personally, through boosting your confidence, interpersonal skills and your social network too.So with all of the above in mind, it might be worth thinking about whether a university preparation course is right for you this summer: you never know what lessons you’ll learn while you’re there, but I bet you’ll have a fantastic time finding out.

university courses Categories: Articles, University Advice Tags: , , , , , 9349 Pre-University Confidence Boosters

Going to university for the first time can often be a difficult time even for the best of us. The whole process from university application to university interviews is complete and now it’s time to soak in some knowledge on how to build confidence before university! It’s a new environment with new people and new challenges that you can’t really imagine until you’ve experienced them. You’ve just come from a place in which you had just worked your way to the top and where you’d grown comfortable and familiar with the teachers and facilities. Most importantly, you had a support group of friends.

Of course, the same thing will happen at university as well, but that’s little consolation when you step onto campus for the first time to a sea of new faces and only a map to show you around. Add on that the day-to-day real-life responsibilities of paying rent, securing student loans, arranging for things like broadband connections, and things can become quickly overwhelming. And then there’s the workload and the stress of figuring out what to do with your life when all’s said and done.

In short, university is a major life change that can end up being a blow to the confidence until you get your feet back under you. Here are a few strategies you can follow to help speed the assimilation process.

  1. Acquire Real-Life Skills

After the whirlwind of exams and chasing grades to improve your chances at getting into the university of your choice, it’s common to come out of the storm feeling somewhat like an academic automaton. Your entire focus has been on academics for so long that when you arrive at university and realise that your academic accomplishments aren’t necessarily top of the heap compared to your new peers. The qualities and accomplishments that once made you stand out are now the norm, and you’re not feeling as special as you once did.

One way to help turn your confidence around is to learn a few practical skills, of which university students in general are notoriously lacking. Things like cooking, sewing, carpentry, and the like are all skills that will stand you in good stead once you’ve arrived at university as well as setting you apart from a large majority of your fellow students.

When you’re already feeling somewhat inadequate in your new surroundings, it can only make matters worse if you’re also struggling to adequately feed yourself. But, if you’ve garnered the skills necessary to put together a nutritious meal, not only for yourself but for your new friends as well, it can give you a sense of accomplishment and help boost your confidence in other areas of your life as well.

In short, just knowing that you don’t need to look elsewhere for a solution when confronted by some of life’s everyday pitfalls helps you realise that other seemingly insurmountable obstacles may not be quite so bad as you thought.

  1. Tackle Your Problems Like an Assignment

You’ve spent the past several years learning how to be a student. When you’re faced with an academic problem, you know exactly how to approach it. So, why not take that same approach to solving your crisis of confidence?

It may seem daft at first, but given a chance, the academic approach can help clarify and resolve any number of problems. Break a seemingly huge concern down into more manageable, smaller chunks as you would if you were completing a writing assignment or preparing for an exam. Put together a mind map of whatever is bothering you to help clarify exactly what’s weighing upon your mind and where it’s coming from. Be creative. Identify the problem and attack it with whatever study skills you can muster.

Just as your single-minded focus on studies may have contributed to your current crisis of confidence, it can also be harnessed to help resolve it.

That’s the academic circle of life.

  1. Take on Real-Life Responsibilities

It’s no wonder one might feel a bit low in the confidence department when going to university for the simple reason of your station in life. You’re only just over the age of 18, and up to this point, most of the real-life responsibilities of your existence have been handled by your parents. One way to turn things around is to take control of certain responsibilities of life yourself (you can begin small). Taking responsibility for the mountains of paperwork that accompany enrolling in university and securing living arrangements, etc is one good way to begin.

Other confidence-boosting activities you might pursue include choosing and planning an evening’s activities for your family or a group of friends, or volunteering to coach a local youth sports club, or to babysit younger relatives or neighborhood children.

The more you can demonstrate to yourself and others that you are capable of these sorts of responsibilities, the more capable you’ll feel when faced with other, bigger responsibilities. Confidence is built by meeting and overcoming obstacles. The more you can do that in the every-day portion of your life, the more your confidence will grow in general.

  1. Find a Mentor

Part of the loneliness of stepping into university for the first time is the irrational feeling that you’re the only one who ever felt this way. The upper-classmen seem to be so relaxed and happy as they effortlessly navigate the campus with their tight-knit coterie of friends. Even your fellow first-year students seem to be much more put-together than you feel at any given point in the day. Rest assured, however, you’re not the first. One good way to navigate the novel mysteries of beginning university is to look into acquiring a mentor.

A mentor is someone who has been through, and survived, exactly what you’re going through, and then graduated successfully into the real-world. They can be alumni of the university and course of study that you’re entering into or alumni of other similar programmes of study. Most importantly, they can demonstrate for you that what you’re feeling and going through is not unique, and that it is, in fact, just a necessary stepping stone to bigger and better things.

And, of course, you can continue to benefit from a mentor throughout your university career and beyond.

  1. Be Master of Your Own Social Life

It’s a well-known fact of life that, when you move on to university, your social life will consist solely of gazing blearily into the bottom of a pint glass at every opportunity.

Or is it?

While this will most probably be true of many of your fellow students, if the allure of such pursuits is lost on you, it need not be true of you. Just as there’s not one course of study to fit all university students, neither is there just one means of socialising in your free time. If you know for a fact that the drinking culture is simply not for you, consider what kinds of things you do enjoy doing with your free time.

If you’re not accustomed to actually having any free time, ask yourself what interests you in general. At most universities, there are bound to be a plethora of clubs and societies focused on a broad range of topics where you’re sure to find like-minded people with whom to socialise without permanently compromising the integrity of your liver or winding up driving your car into a tree.

  1. University Services are There to Serve

When attending university, it’s easy to forget that University Services even exists. It’s even easier to have no earthly clue as to what it is that they do. To put it briefly, University Services is there to serve students like you – in whatever way they can.

Whether you’re trying to navigate the complexities of campus housing, are having a rough time financially, are worrying about your next steps post-graduation, or even beginning to think you’ve chosen the wrong course of study altogether. University Services is not just some ephemeral concept housed in a building on campus that nobody ever enters, it’s an active component of campus life that offers solutions and resources for these and countless other problems and concerns.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, or just confused, by any aspect of day-to-day life while at university, University Services is the place to start looking for a solution.

  1. Talk to Someone

As we mentioned in the Mentor section above, it’s easy to become so entrenched in your own worries and insecurities as to convince yourself that you’re the only one who feels the way you do. Humans, in general, tend not to broadcast the fact that they’re feeling insecure, a tendency that may have served us well in the distant past when showing weakness might be a life-or-death mistake, but your survival no longer depends upon being quiet and stoic.

Whether it’s your friends who’ve gone elsewhere, your new friends on campus, a trusted teacher, or a family member, you’re virtually surrounded by people who understand what you’re going through right now. And even if your friends don’t have any more of a solution than you do, it can still be endlessly comforting just to know that you’re not alone. It should also be pointed out that the “two heads are better than one” adage generally holds true; you’re more likely to find a solution to your concerns if you’re working together with a friendNo matter the reason or extent of your crisis of confidence as you venture off to university, the take-aways to remember from the above tips are that you’re most certainly not the first or only one to be feeling as you do at the moment, and that there are techniques, services, and people who are not only able, but willing and specifically waiting for the opportunity to help.
But the most important take-away, if you benefit from nothing else you’ve read here, is not to keep your feelings to yourself. Whether it’s friends, family, mentors, or a stranger on the bus, sharing with others helps you to feel less alone and isolated in your feelings, and also is generally a good first step to resolving them.

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