Top Tips for Applied Health and Social Care Applicants

As I work on the final pieces of coursework to complete my second year at university, I can’t help but notice all of the buzz around interviews and applications. It feels so strange that two years ago I was interviewing at Edge Hill and hoping my application for BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy would be accepted!

When I accepted my offer to study at Edge Hill, my programme leader from the Applied Health and Social Care Department sent out lots of recommended reading and advice to prepare for my course. As a prospective Counselling and Psychotherapy student, one of the recommendations was that we start a journal of thoughts and feelings as this is a big part of our course that forms part of some key assignments. They provided prompts and advice to get us started.

The reading list was admittedly intimidating, but it isn’t intended to be! It’s likely that you have never read academic texts of that nature so please don’t freak out. You will be shown how to read and interpret these in a Study Skills module in semester one. Read the ‘abstract’ of a few papers and make notes, find excerpts and free chapters of your core textbooks online and make notes on those, too. It may differ on other AHSC courses, but I did not buy any books until I got to university in September and clarified which ones would be most useful. They can come at a huge cost so it is best to wait to see what can be borrowed from the Catalyst and which books you will use so frequently that it’s worth buying.

If you are feeling lost or lonely, search ‘Edge Hill Freshers’ on Facebook and put a call out for people starting on your course. We gathered up a few of us and started a group chat that is still used to exchange ideas, deadlines etc two years later. It made a world of difference having some familiar faces to meet up with and walk into the lecture hall with on day one. Some of those people are now my closest friends! For questions on workload, study tips or what kind of assessments to expect I highly recommend searching your course on The Student Room where past and present Applied Health and Social Care students can answer your questions in a casual, neutral space.

Good luck in your application – I might see you around the Health and Social Care building next year!

Sam xo

How I got to University: A Non-Sixth Form Route.

After a month of blogging I thought it was an apt time to post a blog about how I got to university as it may inspire some of you reading this. My path to Edge Hill differs from the norm, to the point I didn’t actually know it was a viable path until I moved in and realised it wasn’t an admin mistake that I got into university.

At high school I was given the idea one of the only ways to get to university was through sixth form, but that is not the truth. After completing my GCSEs I failed to get into the sixth form I intended to go to, this shook up my life plans quite heavily but I managed to recover and enrolled at a college. There I did a Level 3 Extended BTEC Diploma in Business Management that I thoroughly enjoyed. Upon enrolment, I had no idea this would let me go to university after finishing it. I completed my first year, even won a student of the year award, and then got told to apply for UCAS. This is where I realised university was once again an option. Obviously you all know the end to this story, I got into Edge Hill University with a hard earned D*D*D*, but this is a route I knew nothing about until application time came along for UCAS. Not only did I get into Edge Hill, I’m one of the recipients of the High Achievers Scholarship given to new students with grades above a certain point. College was an experience that nurtured my academic abilities, to the point that when university came along, I truly felt ready.

The purpose of this blog is to inform you, the reader, that there’s more than one path to university and even if you didn’t go to sixth form, its still a possibility. I enrolled on a college course with little idea uni was still a prospect and now here I am: deep into my first year, achieving grades I’m very proud of, and blogging my university life directly for the university.

If you’re at college now, reading this, and were unaware of your university prospects, take a look at the Edge Hill website and see what your desired course would require, you just might surprise yourself.


The Unexpected Benefits of Applicant Visit Days

Edge Hill University’s applicant visit days can feel daunting. Open days are bright and exciting when you get prepared for them, and applicant days should feel the same.

March 2019 was my applicant day, a day I look back fondly upon. Leaving the house at seven-AM, to travel miles and miles to arrive at the uni on time. I took part in a mini tour like I did during an open day, getting to grips with the layout of the campus again, before heading over to the business school where I met two people I can still call my friends almost a year on.

The amount of people on my degree is equivalent to a GCSE class, around 30 maximum, but on that day it felt like there were far more, as people filed into the room my taster sessions was going to take place in. I sat myself on a circular table near the door as I had arrived early and had the choice of whatever table I wanted. For a while, I sat alone, until my table gained two people, the two people I kept in contact with after the session because we got along so well, but also the two people I can easily call my best friends at university. Every Monday morning since September we’ve met, gone to our lectures together, shared time outside of the timetable together and got to know each other really well.

Edge Hill University's Business School
Edge Hill University’s Business School

The friendship I have now with my two best friends, was formed thanks to an applicant day I was scared about. If you’re scared about your applicant visit day, bite the bullet and attend, even if it’s a bit of a journey to get here. You’ll be able to understand the course a lot more, see the campus again and make sure of its amazing Starbucks and Catalyst coffee (53.3 Degrees) but also possibly make friendships ahead of September when the new year starts. Some people I didn’t talk to on applicant day are also now my friends because I recognised their faces from that rainy morning in March.

Applicant visit days are one of the best things offered by this university during the end of your sixth form or college experience, and you should totally make use of that.


Five Top Tips for Completing Your Student Finance Application

Hi everyone, since Student Finance has opened, I thought I would use this blog to provide five top tips for completing your application!

 1. You don’t need an offer to apply

If you are still waiting for offers, no problem, you can still apply! Complete your application using your first preferred university and course, and if this changes you can update your application later on.

2. Make sure your application details are correct

Have your UCAS course code to hand and choose the correct academic year and mode of study i.e. full-time – this is very important if you don’t want your loan delayed.

3. Provide any supporting documentation quickly

You might be asked to send original documents with your application, if you are, send any documents requested from Student Finance by recorded delivery and track the delivery as you definitely won’t want them to get lost in the post.

4. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions

Lots of support and guidance is offered by Student Finance themselves in the Student Finance Zone – scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to your correct student finance as they are different depending on where you live in the UK. Just make sure you apply before the deadline to get your money on time.  In my case I applied through Student Finance NI. Additionally, if you still have any questions you can email [email protected]

5. Enrol promptly to release your funding in September

Your first payment is usually made around 3-5 working days after you are registered on course and the Uni has confirmed your attendance with Student Finance so it is important you complete your enrolment. Details are sent out to firm choice students over the summer so look out for that.

Thanks for reading and good luck 🙂




Primary Education Interview Process

On this day 2 years ago I had my first interview at Edge Hill for Primary Education with QTS. Today I have been in the same room as around 100 applicants answering questions, discussing the interview process and seeing the nerves and excitement that I had when I was in their position. This led me to think about my interview process and how I found my experience at Edge Hill.

Out of all the universities I applied for Edge Hill was the first interview I attended. One of the things that stood out to me about the interview process here was the level of organisation and how important you were made to feel from the outset. I came to the interview with my Dad and travelling up from Nottingham it was one of the first times I was actually able to look around the university also. The campus was one of the main things that stood out to me on the day, with everything being contained together and the country surroundings, I knew that this was somewhere I could see myself for the next 3 years. The day was structured well and when I first arrived I had to hand in my exam certificates to be checked and then went into one of the lecture theatres. On the day you are given the option to have a campus tour or stay for a question and answer session with current students (something that I am currently doing with new applicants). On the day I choose to stay for the question and answer session, this was really informative for me and having the session led by students put me at ease as there was an informal tone. They allow you to ask any questions and give you their perspective of life at Edge Hill and life in Ormskirk. Following on from this I was taken into another lecture theatre to complete the test aspect of the interview. Many people worry about these tests, but there is nothing to be scared of. Of course you should try your best on them, but the purpose is to not only identify areas of strength but to also see where you can improve. As a teacher you are not expected to know everything especially at this early stage and if you are successful in your interview these tests provide the basis for extending your knowledge and identifying targets to ensure you are making progression in your subject knowledge.

Following on from this you have your interview with a member of staff at Edge Hill, this part of the interview is normally based around a task or scenario. For my interview I had to bring in a book or an object and identify cross curricular links and discuss my lesson ideas for this. When you are invited to interview you will be fully informed of what the task involves and be given plenty of time to prepare. This is often the area that people find most daunting. It is important to remember that nerves are okay, the interviewers understand how scary the process can be and ultimately they want you to do well. The interviewers are not out to get you and it is basically just your chance to show your potential and passion for the subject. My main advice would be to dress smart to make a good impression from the start, have eye contact this shows you’re interested and engaged and be yourself, they want to see what you have to offer and understand that we’re all human.

After the interview it can take up to four weeks before you receive an offer. Whether you are successful or unsuccessful you will receive a notification via UCAS. As well as this the university will e-mail providing you with feedback regarding your interview and results from the tests in which you participated. As this was my first interview the feedback I received was really beneficial in preparing me for future interviews and helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses prior to starting the course. Another thing I found really useful following my interview was the e-mail communications from Edge Hill, this included advice on gaining experience, things to do before starting the course as well as information about open days.

Overall the positivity of the interview was one of my main reasons for choosing Edge Hill, I knew that if I could feel comfortable in that situation that I would be able to fit in as part of the course and part of the university life style.


App of the day: Google Drive

Recently on Twitter, Stephanie McKellop shared a scenario in which her students had used Google Docs to simultaneously take lecture notes in a collective file. Her Twitter thread went viral, with many praising her students for using their initiative to work together. For someone like me, who is so obviously invested in education, seeing the varied response to this was incredibly interesting.

It is as a result of this tweet, my own love for google drive, and because I’m very excited about a technology conference I’m attending in a few weeks, that I decided to talk to you guys today about it.

There are a number of sections to google drive:

  • Google Docs (Word)
  • Google Slides (PowerPoint)
  • Google Sheets (Excel)

In brackets, I have put the programme which this is most like that the majority of you will be familiar with.

How have I used it?

  • At university, we have to do a lot of group presentations, but we aren’t always on campus at the same time, mostly because a lot of people commute. Google slides allows us to do our research and add to it from home, without having to send all of the work to one person to put together, meaning we’re all doing our fair share of work.
  • My friends and I are pretty nerdy, and very busy people, so we actually used Google sheets over the summer in order to coordinate timetables! It really helped us organised the eight of us, who were all on holiday and working at different times.
  • We used google docs during my History A Level, so that we could get feedback in real time from the teacher whilst we worked.
  • I can access google docs from anywhere and, more importantly, it saves automatically. If my laptop dies or has a hissy fit, I can login to another computer and won’t have lost anything as a result!

How do I think YOU can use it?

  • Get your friends together and set up a docs, whether that be docs or slides, for your revision notes; being able to teach another person really makes you learn a topic.
  • Use the sheets to begin budgeting for university! It works exactly like excel, except this can be shared with your parents, who will be able to help you out!
  • Suggest to your teacher that you use it in class as a way to submit your work.

If there was one app I would recommend from during my time at university, it would be this one, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start using it now!

Making my final UCAS choices

Anyone applying for university this year has some quick thinking to do! I can’t tell you what is best for you individually, but I can tell you about my experiences and what was best for me, and my thoughts looking back two years later…

One thing that helped me massively when making my decision was attending different university open days. Luckily, my dad was able to either drive or accompany me on the train for a number of them. Being able to physically experience the university and the surrounding area was a huge aid in my decision making process. I visited both campus and city universities, and honestly most of the city uni’s weren’t for me. Living just outside of London for most of my life, and taking frequent excursions into the capital, had got me used to the bustle of the city. But as a place for me to study in a university setting, the cities I visited weren’t for me, and I would never have known that if I didn’t visit them personally.

Then again, some of the campus uni’s felt too secluded. Edge Hill felt like great middle ground. Despite being a campus university, it is only around 10 minutes from Ormskirk town centre (and although Ormskirk is small, it has good character) and only 30 minutes on the train from Liverpool – a city I’ve also come to love. As soon as my open day at Edge Hill was over, it already felt a tiny bit like home – I knew it had earned a place as either my firm or insurance choice.

In the end, I chose Edge Hill University as my firm, and a uni with much lower entry criteria as my insurance. Now, I don’t regret my firm choice for a second, as Edge Hill is a fantastic uni and I know I’ve already grown as a person just from my year and a half studying here. However, I do regret my insurance choice. I should’ve aimed a little higher and been more confident in myself to achieve the grades I had set out to acquire. After all, if I did end up falling below my expectations, I could’ve always looked at Clearing.
Like I said earlier, I can’t know which decision is right for you. Ultimately all I can do is wish you luck, and hope that you found some of my experiences helpful and worth reading. So with that in mind… Good luck!

January calls… And so does the UCAS deadline!

Hello all!

I hope you’re all enjoying festivities this season and being with your family and friends.

I know that at this point last year, I was eager to forget completely about UCAS just for Christmas, however, it’s important you keep the UCAS deadline in mind so you don’t get caught out! The deadline is Sunday 15th January at 6pm- which seems far away, I mean it’s a month away right? But it will sneak up on you over the holidays!

So, I thought I’d compile a bit of list of things you need to ensure you’ve done and tips that you can check off and breeze your way through the New Year instead of overly stressing;

  • Choices, choices, choices- The most important thing about applying through UCAS is the choices of Universities you make! You get up to five choices, so make them count! Just bare in mind that these choices will effect your education for the next few years, and even though there are things such as UCAS Clearing to fall back on after results day, it’s a lot more stress to rely on that, so make your choices wisely! I couldn’t be happier with my choices, and I couldn’t be much happier with where I’ve ended up!
  • References- make sure you have some references! I used my form tutor as a reference, just make sure to ask whoever you want as a reference if they’re happy to do it first and get the details they’re happy to share with UCAS.
  • The dreaded personal statement; it’s like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. I’ve known people who had their first draft written before you could even apply, then I’ve known people (for example, me…) who did hundreds of drafts and didn’t get the finished product until close to the deadline. So if you haven’t quite cracked it yet, don’t worry! Lots of students are usually in the same place as you. One thing I did to make sure that I was writing in the right way about myself so that the Universities I applied to would be interested in me was to show my form tutor some of the drafts and ask her opinion. If you are able to do that, I’d definitely recommend it. If your form tutor is unable to do this, another person you could ask for opinions from would be friends or family that are at or have been at University and have experienced it first hand. It’s important that the University gets a sense of who you are from this, so include lots of things such as your hobbies and pastimes, work experience, qualities as a student and why you think you’d be a good <enter course title here> student!
  • If you’re wanting to study a course and you have extra qualifications outside of your schools, include them on your application! As a Performing Arts student I included my Trinity Guildhall Drama exam grades, my guitar and dance examinations. Universities are looking for what would make you a good student, so these usually help! Don’t worry if you don’t have these though- you still have your GCSEs and A Levels!
  • Ensure that you’ve completed each section of your application- there’s a lot of stuff you have to fill out so go back over it when you’re done to make sure you haven’t missed anything or said you’d come back to it when you had the information and forgot!

I hope that list has helped ease the weight off your shoulders in some way, I remember the huge stress UCAS put on me! Once you’ve made your application, as long as you keep up with interviews and auditions and applying for things such as Student Finance, it gets less stressful, trust me 🙂

Now keep UCAS in mind, but go enjoy Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful time and enjoy your holidays.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Rhiannon 🙂

BA, Bsc, BMus, BEng, LLM, MPhil, MEd, MBA, PhD – The Different (Music) Degree Types

I think the best way to explain these types is through applying them to the broad discipline of MUSIC as I think nearly every type of degree can be applied to it… There seems to be a general (seriously, I am generalising here) creative to technical spectrum when it comes to Music and Audio in higher education.

me in library 2
Be aware of the differences between BA, BMus, BSc and BEng “Music Technology” degrees – They might have the same title, but they aim at different skill sets!

BA (Hons)

The BA (Hons) in Music / Popular Music / Commercial Music / Music Production is highly creative and culturally minded. These degrees typically use three themes – Production, Sociology and Business. Some degrees focus on one theme more than the other of course, such as Popular Music usually focussing more on Sociology, and Music Technology usually focussing more on creative Production. There are also BA (Hons) ‘s in Music Education.

BMus (Hons)

Similar to the BA, the Bachelor in Music is designed for usually classical musicians and the focus is on Composition and Performance. There can be an academic element where music in the context of history, sociology and technology is explored. Mostly the approach is practical with musicianship coaching, workshops and assessed performances. BMus degrees are common in Conservatoires.

BSc (Hons)

The Bachelor of Science in music usually gets applied to Music Technology and sometimes Music Production. Although there can be a slight creative side to these degrees (it is not unusual for a BSc Music Technology degree to have modules where you build your own instruments and record a short soundtrack ect), the focus is of course on the Science of music. It’s highly practical and you may be asked to use a soldering iron to build music hardware like circuits and synths, build a working speaker, and even create interactive Sound Art and so on. Think of it like a music degree for electricians and / or technicians.

BEng (Hons)

At the other end of the spectrum is the Bachelor of Engineering. This is more Sound territory than Music as the focus is on hardcore scientific technologies, so I recommend applicants are those who want to pursue a career as a super advanced audio technician. Sound is broadly about technology, perception, reception, acoustic space and even maths. You may be required to design (and build) complex audio systems, apply mathematics to acoustics design, and apply computer coding.

LLB (Hons)

The Bachelor of Law can be gained is you want to go into say Entertainment Law. I’m no expert on Lawyers (or even law degrees) but it is common knowledge that Lawyers get massive rewards, but I assume finding an job as an Entertainment Lawyer is a soul destroying process because that job is, for obvious reasons, extremely competitive.

Postgraduate Options – PGCE, MEd, MBA, MPhil, PhD

It may be that postgraduates apply for Master of Education (not necessarily teacher training, although some Universities offer the opportunity to add credits from a Post Graduate Certificate in Education to some additional modules afterwards, so students can be ‘topped up’ and awarded the MEd quickly afterwards), or an Masters of Business Administration for developing an innovative business mind. An Master of Philosophy or Masters by Research are research masters in which applicants can lead their own route of study instead of doing taught Masters. And finally if you want to be an Academically qualified Doctor, a Doctorate of Philosophy being successfully gained can grant this. Just remember postgraduates usually fund their own studies and living costs.

So there we have it! As I have said before in a previous post it’s one thing to read the letter code before the degree title and something very different to experiencing the course itself. In my experience, the differences between course types only hits you properly when you visit an Open Day / Applicant Visit Day for that course!