Welcome!

The day is finally here results day has been and gone and you’re on your way to starting at Edge Hill University! Firstly massive congratulations, A-Levels are a really tough time and your results are something to be proud of, especially for getting you to where you are today. 

Edge Hill has won numerous awards for its environment and accommodation. If you are staying on campus you are so lucky. The halls are amazing and living in really helps you to make friends and mingle with other people. Make sure during your first week you try and take the time to look around and take in your surroundings, send some pictures back home this will stop your parents from worrying and also let you show off your new home. If you are at home don’t feel as though you are missing out many people chose to commute and by midway through the first semester everyone will be jealous of your home comforts. Don’t isolate yourself just because you aren’t living in, you can get just as involved.

Ormskirk is an amazing location. It is a small rural town but is only 30 minutes from Liverpool and about 30 minutes from beaches such as Formby or Crosby so you’re literally getting the best of everything. If you’re living on campus you can get the free Edge Hill bus into Ormskirk then you can either get the bus or train and explore the North West. I would highly recommend seeing as much as possible when you get the opportunity your time at university will go by so quickly so seize the moment.

There is so much going on in the first week it’s important to take a minute for yourself, don’t be afraid to go to your room, close your door and have an hour. The socialising, new routine and new surroundings can be overwhelming, remember to take time for you and your wellbeing and ensure you are doing things for yourself. Everyone needs some me time, and establishing these boundaries with your flatmates will help you develop your relationships.

Amongst all the excitement I just wanted to say good luck! You’ve come so far and achieved so much and the next stage of your journey will be just as exciting.

What to do whilst waiting for results day

In the time approaching results day it can be nerve wracking for everyone involved. As I have mentioned before making sure you are prepared for results day is one of the most important things to do. Make sure you have clearing numbers, numbers to contact the university and and any other information that’ll help you secure your place.

Other things that you can do include updating your CV. If you move to a new city there are always plenty of job opportunities and at Edge Hill there are lots of jobs available within the university so it’s definitely worth being prepared to make sure you are ready to apply. Include any relevant experience including previous work experience or volunteering. You may wish to print copies of your CV ready to bring to university with you so you can easily get a foot in the door and apply for jobs straight away if you are wishing to work. If you aren’t it’s still beneficial to have a CV ready, placements may wish to see it or you may see a job that you wish to apply for in the future. 

Start to think about what you may need, the time after results day leading up to move in day will go by in a flash. Use this time to think about what you wish to bring with you, sites such as Pinterest or the student room have lots of helpful lists and suggestions. Remember that if you are moving into halls you will need to consider items such as bedding, towels and kitchenware. I would suggest thinking about your budget and then working around this, get the essentials and then use what you have left to get decorative items to make it feel more homely. 

Think about what you may do with your current employment. Many people have part time or even full time jobs before starting university. You may need to find out about a period of notice that you may have to give at work before coming to university and whether you could continue working. You may wish to have an informal discussion with you manager about your intentions and see what they can offer you in terms of your future. Some may keep you on record to return during holidays or busy periods but not all employers can offer this. Think about writing a letter of resignation as this is a formal process and also discuss the possibility of references with your employer if you do decide to leave. 

Another thing to do is look at the getting started area on the Edge Hill website. There you will find lots of information about welcome Sunday, moving in and about the university itself. It’s the go to place for anything you need to know before you arrive on welcome Sunday.

And lastly enjoy the holidays, make the most of your time at home, spend time with you family and friends and relax before you start the next stage of your education.

Results Day Survival Kit

1) alarm clock – results are usually released around 7am. I was lucky enough to have mine emailed to me but some schools prefer you to go in to collect results. Set your alarm so you can be prepared to collect results or view them online without the stress of being late or unorganised.

2) tissues – whether you are happy or sad tissues are a must. There are a lot of emotions on results day ranging from excitement/disappointment about results, the realisation of getting into university and potentially moving away and the overall need to celebrate getting through A-Levels.

3) number for UCAS – in my previous blog I spoke about clearing and how for some students getting into university isn’t as straightforward as it is for others. Keep the number for the clearing service to hand and keep ringing, it is a busy day for them and remember you can contact your university directly also so keep their contact details handy.

4) notebook – for me I tried to contain my excitement for university until after I had received my results. Once I knew I had gotten into Edge Hill and I was definitely going there I bought a notebook to record important dates, contact numbers and any information about my course. It’s also a useful place to keep your correspondence together to take out when you need it.

5) keep checking UCAS – in some cases your offer may change before you receive your results or may still change even if your results are not what you were hoping for. Make sure you wait for your offers to change on ucas before ringing the clearing the service or university.
And most of all stay calm. It is a very stressful day with many changes being thrown at you in a short space of time. Remember if you don’t get your results it isn’t the end of your journey to university there is the clearing service and the option to repeat your studies or add to your qualifications before trying again the year after.

Good Luck!

Results Day, UCAS and Clearing

For most people results day is a happy day where you get what you were hoping for and make it into your first choice university. For some though results day bring stress and worry, either through not getting the results you had hoped for or having second thoughts about your university of choice.

Getting different results does not mean that you are not going to university. It just means that you may need to take an alternative approach to get into university. UCAS offers a service called clearing. Clearing allows you to access courses that have spaces left across a range of universities after the release of results, this ensures that universities fill their courses and gives you a second chance to find a place at a university.

Firstly if you have to enter clearing take your time, don’t rush. Think about what you want to do and look at some other courses and universities that may appeal to you and your interests.

Once you have thought about this you can search the database, this will be listed as ‘Clearing 2017’ and will allow you to search all available vacancies. If you see something that interests you, I would recommend ringing the university and speaking to them directly about it to find out more, if you make a good impression they may offer you a place verbally over the phone.

Once you have been given an offer either by ringing the university or through clearing your offer will update through UCAS track and you will be able to accept or decline. You can speak to as many universities as you like but you can only add one clearing choice at a time so make sure it is the one that you want to accept.

In some cases however there may not be an alternative option and you may wish to wait a year and reapply to your first choice university. In this time you may wish to undertake extra training, resit an exam or complete some volunteering to improve your chances of getting into university the following year.

UCAS: https://www.ucas.com/

Exam results helpline: 08081008000

Advice on how to call universities: https://university.which.co.uk/advice/clearing-results-day/ucas-clearing-how-to-call-universities

10 things that only happen in halls

1) all night conversations – if you are lucky enough to a have formed friendships within your flat you will often find yourself staying up until the early hours having DMCs (deep meaningful chats) with your flatmates. These are a great opportunity to bond and you will often find yourself opening up and finding things out about your flat. During these conversations I can almost guarantee that you will say ‘I need to go to sleep now’ at least 10 times before actually ending up anywhere near bed.

2) your wardrobe multiplying by 2 or 3 – the benefits of communal living are that you will often be able to get anything you need without even leaving the flat. Whether you are male or female you are bound to be sharing with your flatmates whether it be a nice top you’ve had your eye on, a toilet roll or spoon of sugar for your tea. Friendships formed on sharing and borrowing clothes are formed on trust and anyone who brings your items back in one piece is someone who can be relied upon.

3) random objects that appear out of nowhere – whether it be from a night out or something that someone has brought home from a lecture there always seems to be something in the kitchen that no one takes ownership of and after a while it  becomes a sort of mascot for the flat.

4) your patience will increase by 1000 – living in halls can be testing for everyone, it takes a while to acclimatise to new people, new surroundings and a new routine. You can expect a few hiccups in the beginning as you start to form friendships and freshers flu kicks in but once you are at home in halls you will find yourself looking past things that would once bother you, your uni work and social schedule will take over from your worries of who left a dirty spoon in the sink.

5) the fire alarm will go off at the most inconvenient of times – my advice always be prepared, keep shoes by the door and a coat nearby you will never be more grateful for it than when the fire alarm is going off at 4am and you’re in a blind panic trying to get out the door as quickly as possible.

6) you will forget your keys – everybody does it and the day you do it everyone will probably have gone out and you will be forced to walk to security and get the spare the set. On the bright side you will probably only do this once, the embarrassment of walking all the way to security and explaining your situation will stay with you and prevent you from making the same mistake twice.

7) you will learn new skills – for some people this will include simple things such as doing your own washing or budgeting the weekly shop for others the skills may be far more advanced and include waking up at 8:58 and making it to a lecture for 9:00 or writing 3000 words in less than 24 hours.

8) you will want to give up – whether this happens in the first week when you’ve been out every night since you moved in and suddenly felt that first pang of homesickness or towards the end of the year when exams are looming and you feel unprepared. Everyone has these moments and it’s okay. Remember there are people at uni to help you through the hardest times and you should never suffer alone.

9) you will spend hours deciding on a takeaway – Ormskirk has some great take away choices and I can almost guarantee that someone will disagree with your choice and make the wait for food even longer. From my experience it’s best to go to a few places, keep everyone happy and it prevents the arguments.

10) you will meet your best friends – a lot of people worry about not meeting people or not fitting in at university. You will make friends and these friends will be friends for life. Whether it be the people you live with in halls, people from your course or people from societies or clubs.

DBS checks

As we are approaching the new academic year there are lots of things to prepare and think about before starting or coming back to university.

Many courses including medicine or education require you to have a DBS check, DBS stands for the disclosure and barring service and has the same function as what used to be the CRB check.

It checks your eligibility to work with young people and assesses any criminal convinctions to ensure that you can be trusted to work and maintain strict safeguarding laws that are in place.

If your course requires a DBS you are often required to pay for this yourself. What many people do not know though is that this DBS is often not transferable. So for example your DBS will cover you during your time at university but if you wanted to undertake volunteering in a school or another setting during this time you may be required to obtain another certificate for this setting.

A way to overcome this is when signing up for the DBS check you need for university is to also pay the additional £13 to join the disclosure update service. This allows future employers to view your DBS online in its most current format. This makes getting a job much easier as it prevents you having to keep reapplying and may increase your employability as you can be hired quicker without having to wait for additional checks to be carried out.

The DBS check costs £44 for the enhanced and £26 for the basic. The basic checks for unspent convictions, reprimands and warnings whereas the enhanced also covers any additional information held by police about an individual that may be applicable to a role.

I would highly recommend that if you are applying for DBS to only to do it through the official government website which can be found here:

gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/overview

As some websites can charge more or even be out to scam you. It is best to always go through this route to ensure you are getting what you pay for and it doesn’t prevent you in coming to university or starting placements.

Moving Out

When coming to university there is a lot of focus on what you should bring with and how to prepare your new accommodation. Although this is very important you also need to consider how things will be left in your room at home. 

If you are planning to travel home often or even for long periods of time like the holidays you need to think about what you will need and whether it is worthwhile buying duplicates. For some this may not be an option due to money or space restrictions but you will then need to consider how you will get these things home for the holidays, especially if you are relying on public transport. 

1) Your TV, most rooms on campus come with a TV that doubles up as a computer but for people moving into student houses you are often required to bring your own. The obvious option is to bring the TV in your room if you have one. If this is not the case you can easily watch television on an iPad or computer using catch up services and save yourself money on a TV license at the same time. You are not required to have one if you are watching catch up TV on a portable device so long as it isn’t plugged in. The most expensive option would be to buy a cheap duplicate television to bring to university with you. Small TV’s can cost around £100. But when university is over with they will generally retain their value and could easily be sold on to recoup some of your costs. But if you go for this option remember you will also need to purchase a TV license to watch telly legally. 

2) Duvet and Pillows, this is a requirement for all rooms on campus and you are expected to provide your own. Most students will bring these straight off their beds at home and this can prove difficult if you return home. When I came to university I brought the duvet from my bed at home and bought a new one to replace it and keep at home for when I travelled back. This worked well for me as my duvet was due for replacement anyway and would last me through university and then be thrown away afterwards. If this isn’t an option for you when you return home you could easily use a sleeping bag or other blankets on your bed to make your stay comfortable if it is only temporary. Remember travelling on a train with a duvet and pillows is not an easy task so make sure you have something at home even if it is makeshift. 

For me these are the two things that would most likely cause difficulty for students. But there are also other things people might bring including, decorative items, soft furnishings and even lamps that they might struggle without during periods at home. Always think about how you will function in your room at home without items you cannot easily travel back with. If you don’t travel home frequently then many of these things shouldn’t be an issue but most people do go home for Christmas or Easter so think about how you will live at home during this time. 

Keeping in touch/ Getting in touch 

The friendships you make whilst at university can be said to be friendships for life. It is important to get off on the right foot and maintain these friendships throughout your university life. 

The build up to university can be very a exciting but anxious time. Later in the summer once you have receieved your results and applied for accommodation you will be allocated a place in halls. This usually happens on results day so you will find out where you will be living for the next academic year. Halls at university are generally in clusters of 4, 6 or 8 so it can be exciting finding out who you will be living with and getting to know them. The university sets up official halls pages and you should be directed to these through communication from the university or through existing Edge Hill Facebook groups. These groups allow you to find the people you will be living and start getting to know each other. Obviously not everyone will have Facebook but I would definitely recommend getting it even if it is just for this purpose as it really helps get over those initial worries and put your mind at ease knowing everyone is in the same position as you. These Facebook groups provide a space for you to get to know not only your flatmates but your SA (student assistant) who will be your guide and go to during your time in halls and will be there to answer and help with any of your queries in the run up to welcome Sunday. 

These group chats give you the chance to ask questions you might have been afraid to ask anywhere else or provide answers to questions you hadn’t of even considered. Try and make the most of these opportunities and be as social as possible as it will help you build those initial relationships.

Once you get past that stage and have moved in, I find it’s really important to try and mix with your flatmates. Spend time getting to know them as you will be living with these people for the best part of 10 months so it’s better to do this on good terms. Attending freshers events, having nights in and even just chatting over dinner can be a great way to make friends. You will find that despite trying your best you can’t get along with everyone and there may sometimes be arguements this is only natural when strangers come to live together. Often arguments don’t last and are made up over night but if there is ever a problem your SA will be on hand to help. 

I personally feel very lucky to have lived with such amazing people who I can honestly say have felt like a second family during my time in halls. They have made my time at university more than enjoyable and I couldn’t thank them enough. As summer is now approaching it is important to maintain these relationships and try and keep that friendship alive. Arrange day trips to visit one another, come back to university for the day or even FaceTime especially if you are living together again in September. For most this will come naturally and you will miss those you have been living with as soon as they move out. 

What to do before University

There is so much to think about before coming to university that things can easily be forgotten, I’ve put together a list of things that I wished to have focussed on more and things that can often not even be considered.

1) Make sure you’ve applied for student finance, the deadline has currently passed but don’t let this stop you from continuing with the process of coming to university. Get in contact with student finance as soon as possible, explain your situation and hopefully you’ll still be able to pursue your studies. Student finance is something that needs to be reapplied for every year so it’s worth making a note in your diary or setting a reminder on your phone as it’s often the last thing people think about yet one of the most important for many students.

2) It might be the last thing on your mind but if you have a job try and work as much as possible. Once you get to university depending on your course you may not have the time you previously had to work or you may be too far away to regularly commute. Working over the summer will provide you with those extra savings or essential money for when you arrive at university. It’s always a bonus to have an extra fund to rely on whether it be for spontaneous nights out, to put towards a house deposit or to supplement your student finance allowance.

3) Start shopping slowly but surely. As stated in Emma and Ashley’s blog it’s important to think carefully about what you need to bring to university and subsequently what you need to buy. Don’t over do it, don’t buy everything in one go. Make lists and stay organised, this will prevent you from overbuying and bringing things to university that you don’t really need. Remember there are shops in Ormskirk and they will have that thing you’ve forgotten or that thing you think you can’t live without.

4) Make time for family and friends. A lot of people wish away their summer waiting for the start of university. For many this will be your first time away from home for a substantial amount of time. Consider this when allocating your time over the summer months, spend time with family and friends as they may also be feeling apprehensive about the big move. Seeing people over the summer rather than a big event close to your moving day may help with home sickness and ease the transition for everyone.

5) Lastly prepare yourself. Spend some time finding out about Ormskirk and Edge Hill. There’s so much information on these blogs, on twitter and on the University website. Getting a feel for where you will be living can really help the moving process and help you share your future plans with family and friends allowing them to see where you will be attending. Finding out about the area will help those first few days or weeks seem so much less scary and prevent you from feeling lost in a new town.

How to get the best from your Primary Placement

You may think that 8 weeks on placement isn’t enough time to make any changes within a school. Now I’m not saying you should walk into a school with an attitude that you should reform everything but having goals and a can do attitude is very important.

Despite the placements being short it is important to remember that you are being watched at all times. This is not a bad thing it just means that you need to take every opportunity to shine and show that you can put yourself above the rest. As you enter into second and third year placements it is also important to remember that schools are always looking for people to join their staff, and if you are showing that you are outstanding you have the potential to be considered for a role in that school. Other teachers can go off sick or go on maternity leave at any time and if you are showing that you are capable and fit in well it is likely that you could be considered for these roles if they become available.

In order to be considered there are a few things that you can do. Some people think that staying at school for all the hours god gives is enough to set you apart. In reality this is unrealistic and if you are not being productive it won’t show you to be an outstanding candidate, obviously if you need to get work done then stay but don’t ever stay for the sake of it.

Another thing you can do is start a club or activity for the children this shows responsibility and resilience and can be a great way to get involved with other memebers of staff and different school years during your placement. A club can be a great way to show case an extra curricular skill or talent that you may have.

As well as this, getting involved with all aspects of school life can really show how committed you are. For example don’t sit in the staff room in a morning right up until the children arrive, get in there and talk to the children as they arrive, it is a great way to have more casual conversation, meet the parents and get to know the children who are in your class. Another thing you can do is sit with your children at lunch time, this is not always possible but can be used as a form of positive reinforcement for those children who have been good and could be used as a treat at the end of the week.

Lastly creating displays around the school is an excellent way to leave a lasting impact. Children and staff will see these displays even after you’ve left and can be a great memory of what you have taught and what the children have learnt during your placement.

Overall I would say that it is important whilst on placement to consider the lasting impact of everything you do. Make sure you are giving your all and always have employability at the back of your mind – think to yourself am I being the kind of teacher that could be employed?