Choosing a University is a huge decision and it will change the course of a life. The whole UCAS system is a very different experience to when I headed off to Teesside some 20+ years ago. Chloe still had to apply for five courses and this was done back in December. Whereas back in the day we then waited for weeks for a letter in the post, Chloe was offered all five places within a couple of days via email.
Choosing a university is a time-consuming process. Firstly it is a case of finding the uni that offers the course you are interested in, for Chloe this is criminology. Then we were looking at the entry requirements and being realistic about the grades Chloe could achieve. Then it was a case of looking at where the hockey team is in national leagues. Then Chloe was able to pull this together when choosing a university.
The offer she was most interested in was Plymouth. It ticks the boxes and pretty importantly the hockey is first class. I am a firm believer that if the hockey is right everything else will just fall into place.
The marketisation of University is a thing now too. Chloe has received Christmas cards, birthday cards and other little postcards. It demonstrates how much money is now at the center of the choosing a university process. The Universities need bums on seats to receive the funding and obviously, they want your tuition fees. The student is now very much a consumer and there is a great deal on offer to attract applicants.
Another difference from when I applied to now is that there are now applicant days that take place after open days. Therefore last Friday we found ourselves travelling south to Plymouth. Saturday morning was an early start with registration at 9am. We then attended talks on accommodation and there were sessions on student finance before a course session. We were shown around, we were fed very well and were definitely out to impress.
Plymouth have a policy that all first years that make Plymouth their first choice are guaranteed a place in halls of residence. Therefore we had a look at the rooms and Chloe has made some choices. She can actually apply for her accommodation from today. This all suddenly seems very real and very imminent.
Now that we have seen some Universities Chloe has to decide which is her first choice and which will be her insurance (back up choice). The insurance place needs to have lower entry criteria than the first for obvious reasons. The other three options just fade away.
Choosing a university has been an interesting process and to see how much it has changed has been eye-opening. We really enjoyed Plymouth and now it is just a case of getting the grades! No pressure then Chloe!