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Higher Education mythbusters

Applying to university

Myth: Students have to add five choices on their UCAS form

Fact: Students can add up to five choices on their UCAS form, but it is not compulsory to use all five choices. However, students are unable to enter UCAS Extra until they have used all five choices.

Myth: Universities can see where students have applied to

Fact: Universities are not able to see which other institutions a students has applied to. Universities appear alphabetically on the UCAS form and not by preferred choice.

Myth: Universities don’t actually read the personal statement

Fact: Only a small proportion of universities hold interviews as part of their admissions process, meaning that most universities will take a holistic look at your application. Your personal statement may be your only chance to express why you want to study your chosen course and demonstrate your motivation, suitability and potential to study at university level. The more competitive the course is, the more likely your personal statement could be the deciding factor.

Myth: Students must apply by 15 January deadline to apply for a course

Fact: Students can make an application after 15 January; however their application may not receive equal consideration to applications that were submitted by the deadline. Students applying after the deadline will need to check whether the university are still accepting applications.

Student finance

Myth: Student loans will affect a student’s credit file

Fact: Student loans are not recorded on credit files; therefore if a graduate wishes to apply for a credit card or a loan in the future their student loan debt will not be taken into consideration.

Myth: Students will be lumbered with a large debt and will struggle to make repayments

Fact: Repayments are calculated on how much the graduate earns, and not how much money they have borrowed. Graduates only start making repayments once they are earning over £21,000 per year. Repayments are calculated as 9% of anything earned over £21,000. All borrowed money will be wiped after 30 years if it has not been fully repaid.

Myth: Debt collectors chase students who don’t make their repayments

Fact: All student loans are repaid through the payroll just like income tax. If the student is employed, the employer will deduct the repayment from the student’s salary before it goes into their bank account.

Myth: Your student loan will be cleared if you move abroad

Fact: Whilst this would be amazing if true, unfortunately you are still responsible for making repayments even if you decide to move abroad. Failing to do so may result in the Student Loan Company imposing fines, and even asking for your loan to be repaid in full.

Myth: Students face penalties for repaying their student loan early

Fact: Students can repay their loan early and will not face any penalties.

Myth: You have to be wealthy to go to university

Fact: All UK students regardless of family income are entitled to the Tuition Fee Loan to cover the full cost of their tuition fees. All students can also access the Maintenance Loan to cover the cost of living; however the amount provided will depend on several factors, such as household income and whether the student is living away from home.

Studying at university

Myth: The first year at university doesn’t count

Fact: Whilst it’s true that for a lot of universities your first year grades won’t count towards your overall degree classification, you do still need to pass the year. It’s also worth considering that a lot of the learning you do in the in the first year will provide the foundation for the work you do in the second and third years.

Myth: University does not prepare you for the work environment

Fact: There are lots of opportunities at university to help students gain the necessary skills required for the work environment. Some courses include a compulsory or optional placement year to help gain those industry skills. DMU provides a placement service for students along with initiatives such as #DMUglobal and DMU Square Mile to help students develop their professional skills.

Myth: The subject that a student studies will only allow them to apply for a job in that field

Fact: There are some careers, such as Nursing or Midwifery, where it is essential that the student chooses the relevant degree programme. However, there are many employers who accept graduates from a wide range of subject areas.Just having a degree qualification opens the door to many different career paths.

Myth: You will never find a job after graduating

Fact: Whilst there are no guarantees in life, graduate employment levels have increased over the past four years.* Aside from working hard to achieve the best grade possible there are many opportunities available at university to help boost your employability. Taking part in extra-curricular activities such as volunteering, joining a club or society or going on a global trip are all useful ways of developing your employability skills.

* Source: The Graduate Market in 2017 – High Fliers Research