Choosing your firm and insurance choices
My brother is in his last year of sixth form at the minute and – while he’ll always be my baby brother in my eyes – the realisation that he’s going through the dreaded UCAS process right now means that I have to accept he’s not so little anymore!
Seeing him going through the nerve-wracking time of writing his personal statement, going for interviews, and receiving offers and rejections has brought back to me just how terrifying the whole thing can be. And even once you’ve heard back from all of your prospective universities, you still have to make the decision of which two to make your firm and insurance choices!
For those of you that are going through the same thing at the minute, here’s my top tips on how to choose:
1. Firstly, be sensible. Obviously, it depends on what offers you’ve received and what conditions they entail, but you ideally want to choose two universities which have different grades. I know this sounds really obvious but you need to remember that the purpose of the insurance choice is to be there as back-up in case you don’t get the grades you need for your first choice, so it should have lower entry requirements. You wouldn’t believe how many people forget that!
2. Remember that, in the majority of cases, this is a decision which you will have to stick to. Unfortunately, if you get the grades for your firm choice but suddenly decide you’d prefer to go to your insurance choice, you will have to be prepared to do a lot of work to make it happen! Sometimes if the uni still has spare spaces on your course, it’s possible, but it will involve a lot of phone calls and your place is in no way guaranteed so try not to rely on this!
3. Likewise, only choose a university as your firm choice if you truly want to go there. If you hate it but someone/something has persuaded you to choose it anyway, it’s important to remember that you are the one who will be studying there, not anyone else! Whatever anyone else tells you, it’s so important to remember that your health and happiness come first. A degree is not more important than your own welfare.
4. Take your time! This is a really big decision which will affect your life for at least three years. It’s okay to take time to really think (but be wary of the deadline too!) to make sure that you’re making the right decision.
5. Choose a university – ideally two universities – which you can see yourself at. The university itself is equally as important as your course: you will be living there, studying there and spending a whole lot of time there. It has to be the right place for you. If it feels like somewhere you could be happy, you’re on the right tracks.
I hope this has helped to remind you of the most important factors in choosing your firm and insurance choices and I wish you all luck in the next few months!!