“In school we learn that mistakes are bad, and we are punished for making them. Yet, if you look at the way humans are designed to learn, we learn by making mistakes. We learn to walk by falling down. If we never fell down, we would never walk.” - Robert T. Kiyosaki
In 2017/2018, there were 2.3 million students in higher education in the UK. However, around 14% of students drop out before their second year. While there are plenty of reasons for students dropping out, choosing the wrong course or feeling like you're on the wrong course is one of them.
It's very difficult to remain motivated at university when you don't feel that your course is right for you. While you can weigh up the pros and cons of having a degree and decide to just stick it out until you graduate, it's probably a better idea to think long and hard about what you want to study before you apply to university.
However, if you're already in university, you might have no idea what you want to do with your degree and be too close to graduating to feasibly change courses. Fortunately, there are resources for students looking for guidance and Prospects.ac.uk is a useful website for those looking for a career and academic guidance.
In this article in our series on career counselling, advice, and online career resources, we’re having a look at Prospects.ac.uk as a useful resource for your career.
What is Prospects.ac.uk. for?
Even students in Year 9 need to be thinking about their future in terms of their GCSE, A Level, and degree choices. There are also tutors and career guidance available in schools. The problem is that different schools have different tutors and advisors and not all of them will have all the information. Better schools may have better resources for advisors and tutors and more time to focus on their students’ careers and prospects.
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I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember getting tonnes of advice from my tutors at school. I got the impression that you were just supposed to continue with the subjects that you did best at. By A Level, you’re expected to know what you’re doing.
So what student services are there for those needing career and study guidance?
Students have a lot of choices when it comes to what to study and what to do and your academic advisor at school might be able to help you work out some career goals, but they cant be expected to know degree requirements off by heart.
Fortunately, there are lots of services that can help you find academic success and, as you may have guessed, Prospects.ac.uk is one of them. This site exists to give students information, advice, and opportunities after their studies.
Their main goals are to:
- provide a market-leading portfolio of graduate career and postgraduate study recruitment options
- work in close partnership with HE and further education (FE) professional bodies and government
- deliver unique services that benefit the sector as a whole
- inspire career choices throughout the student journey
Secondary school students, university students, and graduates can all use the service.
What Services are Available from Prospects.ac.uk?
Prospects.ac.uk works with the National Union of Students and career services and can be found on most university campuses. There’s also plenty of services such as:
- Search tools for apprenticeships, graduate jobs, internships, and postgraduate courses.
- Career planners
Jobs and Work Experience
Since Prospects.ac.uk focuses on graduates, there's a comprehensive graduate job search, job profiles, work experience and internships, and even an option to work out what jobs would be good for you. You can also look at working abroad, taking a gap year, or working for yourself. If you're still sort of lost, you can even look at different job sectors.
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When it comes to career development, you need to look at jobs and internships, employment opportunities, career fairs, and online career services. Looking for a job can be tricky and it can be even harder to find a career!
You'd be surprised just how many jobs you can get just because you have a degree.
If you've graduated your undergraduate degree, you can search postgraduate courses on prospects.ac.uk. Additionally, there's plenty of information on funding postgraduate study and the different universities and departments. Much like with jobs, there's also information on studying abroad and conversion courses for those who are interested in postgraduate study in a field unrelated to their undergraduate degree.
There are also plenty of resources and information on law qualifications, masters degrees, MBA courses, and PhDs.
If you're wondering what you can do with your degree, trying to get a job, writing your CV or a cover letter, or applying to jobs, Prospects.ac.uk has useful information for job seekers including interview tips and information on events like jobs fairs and careers fairs. A career fair is a great thing to look into attending after graduation or even while you're still at university.
A careers fair is an event where employers advertise positions and are a great opportunity to meet the people who may be responsible for your new career. There are also plenty of larger companies offering graduate schemes where students can move into a job once they finish their degree and they'll probably be in attendance looking for promising students.
You might want to contact a career advisor or career coach and to help you navigate the job market, complete career assessments, and search for jobs. Make an appointment with a career counsellor if you're still feeling lost! You can always sit down with them, do a skills assessment, and see what kinds of courses would be suitable for you.
Of course, you can't just choose a course based on what you're good at; you also need to think carefully about what you're passionate about. If you don't like what you're doing, it can be almost impossible to succeed at it!
Need more guidance?
Find out about academic appraisals.
Applying for University
If you're thinking about studying at university, there's information on choosing courses, getting into university student loans and finance, university life, changing or leaving a course, and the alternatives to studying at university.
If you're looking for job opportunities or something to do after graduation, Prospects.ac.uk is a fantastic resource for career planning, career management, and is one of the best online resources for career opportunities. Have a look at the website and get in touch with your student union for more information!
If you need more information on applying to uni, check out our article on UCAS.
If you're still asking yourself “What can I do?”, then you might want to consider getting career coaching from a private tutor on Superprof. They can help you explore career options, find a job, apply for jobs, develop interviewing skills, and find networking events.
On Superprof, you can find life coaches, career tutors, and academic support tutors. Generally, there are three types of tutorial available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of tutorial comes with its pros and cons and you'll need to think about your budget and your goals when choosing which one to go for.
Face-to-face tutorials are between you and your tutor. As the only student in the class, you'll benefit from tailored sessions and your tutor's undivided attention. While these are often the most costly type of private tutorial, they're also the most cost-effective thanks to how much time your tutor can spend focusing on you.
Online tutorials are similar to face-to-face tutorials in terms of the tutor-student ratio but your tutor won't be in the room with you. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can now get private tutoring via webcam using video conferencing software such as Skype. While not ideal for hands-on subjects, online tutorials are great for academic subjects and they're often cheaper than the face-to-face tutorials since the tutor doesn't need to factor travel costs into their rates.
Finally, group tutorials, as you may have guessed, are when you're taught alongside other students in a group. With several students footing the bill, these tutorials often work out cheaper per student per hour. While cheaper, it does mean you won't get as much attention from your tutor as they'll need to focus on several students at once. Unfortunately, this all means that they can't tailor their sessions to you as they'll need to take the other students' needs, strengths and weaknesses, and goals into account when planning their lessons.
Think carefully about your goals, budget, and learning style before deciding what type of tutorials are right for you!