Motivation for course: Why do you want to study these courses?
For some students this might relate to careers ambitions, for others it may be a simple love of the discipline. In considering this question, students will be ensuring through their research on courses that their options really do deliver against what they’re looking for – whether that’s sector body accreditation, a pathway to a specific profession or the opportunity for a deep dive into a subject area that fascinates them. Providers are looking for evidence that students understand that no two courses – even those with the same title – are the same, and that their course is a good match for the student.
Preparedness for course: How has your learning so far helped you to be ready to succeed on these courses?
This is an opportunity for students to highlight what they’ve gained from school/college or other formal learning opportunity. This might be an A level curriculum helping them understand the breadth of a discipline and pointing them to further research into where their interests most lie. It may be specific skills and competencies related to the courses they want to go on to study. As always, answers will be personal to each student but key here is demonstration of understanding of what will help them succeed.
Preparation through other experiences: What else have you done to help you prepare, and why are these experiences useful?
The experiences featured here are likely to be varied and may include activities such as self-directed extracurricular learning, involvement in sports or social clubs, and employment or other work experience. What all responses should include is a reflection on why the activity is being referenced – what has been learned from it? What skills have been developed? What critical thought has been sparked, and what did the student do next as a result? Why will these things help them on their courses?
Extenuating circumstances: Is there anything that the universities and colleges need to know about, to help them put your achievements and experiences so far into context?
Not all students will feel the need to respond to this question, but for those who strongly feel that they would like to contextualise their application in their own words, this space allows them to do this without 'spending' words they could be using to articulate their skills and suitability for the courses.
Preparedness for study: What have you done to prepare yourself for student life?
Here students are encouraged to reflect on their transition to higher education with more independent learning and in some cases independent living. Again, providers are seeking to understand the extent to which applicants appreciate these changes and understand what they need to do to succeed.
Preferred learning styles: Which learning and assessment styles best suit you – how do your courses choices match that?
Some students may favour high levels of contact time; others will thrive through independent study. Some may work best through group projects and others through solo work. Frequent practical assessments may suit some while long written examinations may be the preference of others. Again, providers want to see that students have considered this in making their choices, and want to be confident that the course and student are a good match.