Taking up opportunities to attend university open days and summer courses will open up your mind to the possibilities of going to university and also provide you with some real experience that you could comment on in your personal statement.
Below is Tom Hyatt's experience of taking up one such opportunity.
In the spring term I was made aware of a new and exciting opportunity being run by UCL Horizons – in the summer term. The application process was a little daunting at first, knowing that there would only be 15 places available for this years’ course. I had to write a 600-word summary of why I would have been the ideal candidate for the course, and why I wanted to attend. This then had to be sent off directly to UCL with a reference from Miss Beer, and within two weeks my place was confirmed. The University is a very welcoming place, with all tutors and general admissions staff being approachable and helpful.
The course ran every Wednesday evening for 7 weeks at the University itself. The timing of the course allowed students to experience what travelling to and from UCL was like, on a normal working day. Each week I learnt about a different area of the brain through: visual, practical, group, and independent tasks. In the first session, I was given a topic to research and present to the rest of the group on week 7, which was to be done in my own time. I had to create a 10-minute oral presentation (visual aids were allowed) and write a 1600 word essay on my topic – of which I chose eyewitness testimony. I found the cerebellum and the prefrontal cortex the most interesting as they contribute to so many unique functions, that a human being performs on a day-to-day basis. I would strongly recommend anyone that’s thinking of applying to go for it. Throughout the course I picked up and improved many other skills alongside knowledge of the brain; meeting new people, speaking in front of large groups of people, essay writing, and advice on what makes the perfect UCAS statement.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and would recommend it to any Year 12 hoping to go into psychology/neuropsychology in the future.