UCAS… What next?

Hello everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while, I’ve been concentrating on my courses and all the work that comes with doing A Levels, fellow strugglers, you know what I mean! I have sent my UCAS application off and have received offers back. But, I have been asking myself, what next? What do I do in this long wait between now and results day (aside from revision for my all important exams… obviously!)? And then I thought, maybe if I don’t know the next steps, others don’t either. So I thought I would do some research and compile a little guide as to your next move closer to starting University!

Of course, I know that not everyone chooses to go to university, and that’s great! Some people are suited to different styles of learning, others want to travel and work. Whatever you choose to do, as long as it is what you want to do, then it’s going to be okay! But, this post is focused on people who have applied through UCAS (hence the title) so if that’s not you, please feel free to either stay and read anyway or skip this post!

Receive your offers:

This will be dependent on a number of factors, such as how your predicted grades align with the grades the University is asking for (or tariff points if that’s the system they use). They will also consider how many places they have on offer, and if they have fewer applicants than they expected, they may offer you the place but on lower grades, which is great! They may also give you a ‘contextual offer’ if you attend an Aspiring College or Sixth Form, of which there is a list online for each University if your institution fits the criteria, or if you make that University your firm choice, then they will perhaps lower the grades too. All in all, the Universities are really searching for the people that show they want to be there and even if their grades aren’t ‘up there’ they will still be given a fair opportunity to bag a place!

Reply to your offers:

Congratulations if you have had offers back from Universities saying that they would like to give you a place! There are three responses you could have received; Conditional, Unconditional or Unsuccessful. Depending on which you have received will determine your next steps.

Conditional means you’ve got a place! That is, as long as you achieve the grades that the University are after.

Unconditional means congratulations! You’ve got a place at the University with whatever grades you get! Some people automatically assume that this means they don’t have to turn up for their exams, BUT! I would strongly recommend carrying on revising and working hard, not only because Universities can withdraw their offers, but it will also make the first year so much easier, having a strong base of knowledge at a higher level!

Unfortunately, if your application has been unsuccessful, that means you haven’t got a place at that University. But, the other 4 applications may be successful, so don’t lose hope! I have had unsuccessful applications and everyone sort of tiptoed around the topic if it came up, but the first thing I said was “Don’t worry! I’m sort of happy I got rejected… it makes choosing my top two easier!” You’ve just got to look on the positive side of these things and you’ll be fine!

Applying for Finance:

I will go into more detail about this on a separate post, but the basic gist of this is explained really well on the UCAS website, and through various emails advising you on the best course of action. UCAS will email you with the 16 digit code you need to set up a student bank account (this is slightly different to applying for finance but I’ll explain later). Other information you will need to apply is your UCAS Personal ID number, Passport number and National Insurance Number. The process takes about half an hour, and you then print a form to sign and send to the Student Finance HQ. They suggest that it will take roughly 6-8 weeks to process, but as soon as the application is in, it’s one less thing to worry about!

So there you have it, the next few steps after you have sent in your application. Of course, there is accommodation, applicant days and lots of revision, among other things, but I’m going to be writing some more in-depth posts for these bits as I think they just need their own posts. I know lots of people are quite daunted by the process, but it honestly isn’t that scary and once you do it, you feel so much better for being on top of it!

Thank you for reading and keep an eye out for new posts under the University tab on my page and I’ll be posting more content soon!

Imogen S.

Boardmasters 2017

I just got back from Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall with some friends from college, and it was absolutely incredible! I had such an amazing time and I made so many new friends; I can’t wait until next year.

It was my first festival, and I had been really excited about it for months. I spent months listening to the artists on the lineup and buying everything I would need for the 5 days I would spend there. The artists I was most looking forward to were Two Door Cinema Club, Alt-J, Becky Hill and Youngr. Somehow, I still managed to forget things that I really wish I had taken, so I am going to write a kind-of survival list of things that I would recommend taking. Just the basics though, because the list is endless!

Clothes:

Make sure you have something that not only will be cool if it’s really sunny and beautiful weather but if the weather turns nasty, you need clothes to keep you warm and dry. You might think that shorts and a crop top will be fine with a rain coat on top, but bitter winds coupled with cold rain is not nice on bare legs. I recommend a pack-a-mac and a jumper, long trousers, like jeans, and long sleeved t-shirts. Just generally, something that will keep you warm and things you can layer together.

Shoes are the same, but I wouldn’t recommend taking summery sandals or anything similar, as it can get pretty muddy even if it isn’t raining, so trainers and wellies are my staple festival footwear choice. To add some luxury, add wellie boot socks that will act as an extra layer of warmth on your legs!

Makeup & Toiletries:

I took minimal makeup, so no foundation, concealer, contour etc. I took plenty of highlight and glitter, in fact probably enough glitter for the whole campsite, but you can never have enough! I also took things like colored eyeliner from NYX.

For skin care, I took moisturizer, face wipes, extra sensitive baby wipes, deodorant, hand sanitizer and dry shampoo. I didn’t shower whilst there because the queues are crazy long and they are probably more dirty than clean! A baby wipe and deodorant is perfectly acceptable at a festival because everyone is the same, so don’t worry! And of course, I also took 50+ sun cream, but somehow managed to burn myself anyway so I would say to take after sun just in case.

Comfort & Sleeping:

My biggest lesson learned from this experience; take a tent that is designed for more people that you are putting in it. I was in a two man tent with two of us, and our luggage and it just did not work. Luckily there was a backup plan, but it would have been uncomfortable otherwise. I took a self-inflating matt rather than an air bed, as then I didn’t need a pump, a sleeping bag, and a blanket which I doubled as a pillow at night. Another huge regret? I didn’t take a chair, so I either sat on someone else’s whilst they queued for an hour for the portaloos or I sat on the floor, which was no fun at night or in the rain! It might seem a hassle to lug around a camping chair, but it will be your best friend by the end of the weekend!

Food & Drink:

This has to be one of the things I struggled with packing the most because I wasn’t sure what I would feel like eating. I took cereal bars, rice cakes, and pringles. It doesn’t sound appealing, but when I had had a few drinks, that’s all I really fancied. My friend also brought Chocolate Soya Milk and Coco Pops so we could all have a half-decent breakfast and I’ve never been so excited to eat cereal out of a cup with a plastic spoon!  There are so many different foods stands there too, and yes it might be slightly more expensive than a McDonalds, but it’s hot food. When it’s raining and cold, a greasy burger is heaven. They even had a halloumi stand and I fell in love with the veggie burgers they were selling too.

I drank a lot of water (and maybe a little alcohol too!) but I made sure to stay hydrated in general, mainly because I didn’t want to ruin my weekend with headaches and sickness. It’s obviously up to you how much you drink, and whatever else you do, but just remember that there is the morning after and all you have is a portaloo and maybe a dirty shower to help your hangover!

I don’t think you can ever plan perfectly for these things first time, so mistakes are bound to happen, but preparation is key and I was really glad about the things I did remember to take. Make a list the week before, and make sure you have everything you need from the shops etc. and you don’t leave it to the last minute.

Mainly though, have fun and go to artists you might not normally listen to because I can guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself even if you don’t know who they are! It was honestly one of the best weekends of my life and I can’t wait until next summer when I do it all again! I hope every body that went had an amazing time too, and I might get to see some of you there next year!

Imogen ❤

Your Own Winter Wonderland

Winter is almost upon us, and I am certainly starting to feel the change. The clocks went back, the temperatures have dropped and cold’s are everywhere. There are two kinds of people in the world; those that hate winter, and then those that love winter. I have to admit, I am the latter of the two and therefore am going to have so much to share with you over the next few months, so keep an eye out for new posts.

Today’s post though, I think it’s safe to say that most people associate winter with Christmas, and you know when Christmas is coming because everybody slowly starts getting more and more festive. The John Lewis advert is released, songs suddenly start popping up on the radio and you stumble across the decorations from last year, somehow managing to avoid them for the past 11 months. On this note, I would like to quickly mention that I have already started the run up to Christmas, and am very excited for December to arrive so I can start celebrating without getting strange glances from all the people that wait until December 1st!

I thought I would share with you 4 little changes you can make to your bedroom, to make yourself feel just that little bit more festive, ready for December 25th.

  1. Buying a Christmas themed duvet set is always a brilliant way to start, as often your bed is the main feature in the room, so festivising, yes, I made that up, will be a small change but will make a big difference!

I bought this duvet set last year, and have one other with beige tones throughout and a reindeer pattern. The one above is reversible so one day I might prefer the red, others I might prefer the white. It has a really thick feel to it, and paired with a winter duvet, snuggling up when it’s bitterly cold outside is no problem. And the best part is, I bought it for only £14 in Primark! Even though this is from last year, I am still going to have a cheeky look for another one, as I love them!

2. The next step, as you might have already picked up on, is to buy multiple Christmas throws to go on top of your bed. Not only do they look super festive, but they keep you warm if your heating breaks down, you want to lounge around the house or perhaps it is just especially cold. I have two, one from my beloved Primark from last year, which is the white one, and then the other is from Tesco and is available in red or blue.

3. Next, lights! By lights I mean little strings of Christmas fairy lights, that you can hang, scattered, cluster and everything else you could possibly think of doing with them! When it gets to December, and I fully decorate my room, I use Christmas tree lights and wrapped them around the feet of my bed. You could use white, arctic blue or even multi-colored lights and it just adds something more to the room. The lights I have up now are two sets of 20 from Primark at £5 a box. I have a set of blue stars, and a set of white snowflakes and I put them along my bookshelves and around the edge of my mirror.

4. My last thing (until December) is scented candles, which I place around my room in groups or just large ones alone. My candles are not Christmas scented, but yours could be! I like mine because they add a beautiful glow to corners in my room, and the scents on them smell gorgeous! My favorite two that I have are ‘Coastal Walk’ from M&S for £15 and ‘Honey & Chocolate’ from Glade for £2. I will be investing in Christmas scented candles soon!

Thank you for reading my latest post and as I mentioned earlier, I love the festive season, so be expecting much more to come!

Imogen ❤