If you’ve decided to continue studying maths after you leave school then you’ve already taken the first step on an exciting journey, but where will that journey lead? There’s a lot of information out there to guide you on your way. University open days can help you choose where to study, and work experience gives you an idea how mathematical skills are applied in the real world.
Picking a course
Do you want to study maths by itself, or combine it with another subject? Many universities offer maths with a language, with a science, or even with music. You can search for courses with a maths component on the UCAS website. This will help you find the one that’s right for you.
You don’t need to study Further Mathematics to get a place to study mathematics at university but extra study is always an advantage. Some universities may require Further Mathematics so make sure you are aware of the entry qualifications when choosing a university and course.
Picking a university
Since you’ll be spending at least three years at university, where you study is just as important as the course. Deciding between a campus or city university, whether to live at home or move out, and many other factors, can seem a little overwhelming.
The best way to make up your mind is to get informed. Visit the university websites and get copies of prospectuses. There are also web resources which many find invaluable such as: the Unistats website which provides a comparison of all UK higher education courses and the Which? University guide to higher education . Many universities also have ‘unofficial’ prospectuses, written by current students to let you in on what university life is really like.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to get out and about. Open days give you the opportunity to visit universities you’re interested in, and to see if they measure up to the promises of the glossy prospectus. It can be useful to go with a friend who is also considering the same university, so they can give you a second opinion and keep you company as you wander around campus.
You’ll likely be shown around by some of the university’s current students, so it’s a great time to ask them some questions. What’s the workload like? Is it a fun place to study? Are there good opportunities for activities outside of lectures, like music or sport? Try to make a list of questions before you go, so that you don’t forget to ask anything important. Opendays.com has more advice on what to do when you visit.
If you’re wondering where studying maths can take you, why not try a work experience placement? A placement gives you experience of maths in the workplace, and looks great on your CV. You can do one before, after, or even during your university degree, and there are loads of schemes around to help you find one.
- The Year in Industry helps post-16 and university students find nine or 12 month placements all over the UK. You can work at places like Shell, Rolls Royce or L’Oreal – and even get paid!
- The Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme gives university students the real-life experience of teaching in a school.
- The National Council for Work Experience works with organisations to provide placements to university students. They also have case studies of students who have done placements.
- Prospects has information about finding placements, including a search for schemes on offer.
The Open University’s Young Applicants in Schools and Colleges Scheme (YASS)
YASS gives able post-16 students the chance to study at a higher level without leaving friends and family behind. Study fits around school work and social lives, encourages independent learning and builds confidence.
A well-established education programme whose aim is to encourage students interested in mathematics or science to consider technology-based careers. It provides an opportunity for those in Year 12/S5 to spend up to a week at university prior to making their UCAS application.
Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information
Helping students in England understand the cost of their education.
Includes official data on each university and college’s satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey, jobs and salaries after study and other key information for prospective students.
The website is a free-to-use, independent source of information and advice to help you find the right degree course and university – featuring a simple-to-use search tool that lets you filter course results on the things that matter most to you, real-life student insights from nearly 300 UK universities and colleges, plus expert advice on everything from applications to student finance.