Hi, I’m Elizabeth and I am currently in my third year studying English and Related Literature. I am also currently the Muse (magazine) Editor for Nouse which is the oldest paper on campus. In this blog I will talk about receiving a contextual offer as well as giving some advice and top tips for your next steps in the lead up to starting university which I know can be both an exciting and daunting prospect. With this in mind I just want to remind you that you’ve done incredibly well to receive an offer and should be really proud of your achievement.
Receiving my offer
Even though I’m now in my third year I can clearly remember the day I received my offer from York. I was standing in my kitchen at home after a tiring day at sixth form. Scrolling through my phone as usual I noticed an email pop up from UCAS that included the words ‘update’ and ‘University of York’. I was excited but also really nervous as I had my heart set on York and knew this could be a make-or-break moment. To my relief it was confirmation that I had been accepted. York also happened to be the first university I heard back from which I thought must be fate.
As I indicated that I was completing the EPQ Qualification, my offer to study English Literature was reduced from AAA to AAB if I was able to achieve an A or above in my project. I actually managed to get an A* and the highest mark in my cohort which was a big achievement for me.
Choosing your firm and insurance choices
However, as you’ll know, you need to apply to five universities. So I still had to wait to hear back from my insurance choice as well as the other universities I had applied to. Deciding which institution to select as your firm and insurance choice is important. You need to spend some time researching each university and making a list of the pros and cons. I would highly recommend making sure the required grades for your insurance choice are lower than your firm to give you that safety net should things not go as planned on results day.
I heard stories about people I knew choosing an insurance choice that had the same and sometimes even higher-grade requirements than their firm choice, I really wouldn’t recommend this. It can cause added pressure if you don’t get the grades you had hoped for and means you are more likely to need to go through Clearing.
Practicalities aside, when deciding which university to list as your firm and insurance choice I think the main factors aside from grade requirements are the course and the city itself. I chose York because of the gut feeling I got when I visited. It was the only university I could genuinely see myself studying at and walking around the campus confirmed this. I was also intrigued by the wide variety the English course offered and the small number of exams. My insurance choice offered grade requirements that were two grades lower. So I knew that if I didn’t get the results needed for York, I still had a good chance of getting into university.
Applying for accommodation
Once you have accepted your offer the next decision will be about your accommodation. When I applied, the application for accommodation opened at the start of March. I received a detailed email clearly talking me through the required steps. You are encouraged to apply as early as possible and can then change your selection later on if you need to.
Although York does have a collegiate system it is different to other universities in that the college you are in is not connected to teaching. For example, if you study English Literature, although the department is based in Derwent you can live in any of the other colleges.
The main things to consider are your budget, whether you want to be catered or self-catered, and then your preference of a shared bathroom or en-suite. On the same note, you can choose to live on either campus regardless of your department. The bus between the two runs every ten minutes meaning the commute is straightforward and fast.
If you take anything away from this blog post I hope it will be that you should take time and listen to your gut feelings when it comes to making the right decision for you. Good luck!