Thursday, 29 August 2013

Linking up with the CU and local church

Today my daughter received in the post a great little book from UCCF (The Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship) called ‘Uncover – Starting Uni edition’.  It’s a copy of Luke’s Gospel, but with extra notes that would be useful for new students.  She had signed up online at  Through this site new students can be linked up with a Christian Union at their university.  You can also find links to the relevant CU facebook page – well worth a look for information on events they’re putting on in Freshers’ Week.

Some CUs operate a ‘buddy’ scheme, whereby a current student will be assigned to the Fresher and can meet up with them and generally be a friendly face in the first few days and weeks.  The CU facebook page or website will probably be the best way of finding out about this.

I would suggest that it’s definitely worth your son/daughter finding out now what CU events are happening in Freshers’ Week.  They will also be receiving information from their course around now and from the Student Union, so they can start planning what events they can attend when in Freshers’ Week. 

Similarly, it’s a good idea to start a bit of research now on churches in the area.  The UCCF website has a helpful little film on finding a church.  Another useful site is Fusion  This site has a really helpful search tool, which lists local churches and gives a bit of information about each one.  The university CU may well organise a ‘Church crawl’ or ‘Church search’ in the first few weeks to help new students find a church that suits them. 

As a parent you can help with the research, suggest the websites etc, but in the end your son/daughter will need to have the motivation themselves to actually go along to a CU Freshers’ Event/Church event once they get to university.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."                    Deut 31:8

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Well, how was Results Day for you?

My daughter’s A Level results were online at 7am.  She did very well – very proud of her – but did drop one grade (only by 2 UMS!!), so we then had a nail-biting half hour wait until UCAS Track came up at 7.30am.  The university confirmed her place despite the dropped grade, so major relief all round!!  I could then go off to work to deal with other students whose situations weren’t so happy.

There seem to have been a lot more places available through Clearing this year, even at top universities, but the Student Number Controls have meant that some students just missed out on their place despite getting a points-equivalent or more (I saw one student on Thurs who’d got A* A* C, but the university wouldn’t accept him because he missed getting the B for his Maths).

If your son/daughter is still looking for a university place see for places available and see my previous blog for the Helpline details.

Back home, my daughter quickly received her accommodation offer by email.  Unfortunately none of the options she’d put down on her application, but it would seem that swaps are possible a couple of weeks into term if it really doesn’t work out.  There was a 7 day reply window (another argument for not being away on holiday with no internet access!).

A little later she heard from her friend (currently at Soul Survivor) that she’d also got her place confirmed at the same uni, so that’s really lovely.

I’m thinking that enrolment information will also come fairly soon.  Certainly my older daughter’s enrolment was all done online (not like our day – I remember queuing to do this on campus in the first few days).
The other thing to do this week, I think, is to get the student bank account set up.  Banks need proof of the confirmed university place, but I’m thinking we should check which banks are on campus as that might be an advantage.  If you’re also at this stage, check the deals online (eg free railcards etc), but for the best up to date advice go to

So in celebration of the confirmed university place, yesterday we had a jolly day out at Ikea and got kitchen stuff, bedding a good number of other things that weren’t actually on the list (as you do!), though it has to be said, it wasn’t all for her…

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.    Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Results Day Advice

I’ll be a bit busy tomorrow, whatever the results in our household, as I will be in College supporting students who are disappointed by their results and who need help and advice.

So…, this is my advice if you’re in the same boat and results aren’t quite as expected:

·         Don’t panic!
·         Make sure your son/daughter has checked Track on UCAS, which should be live from 7am tomorrow.  The university may still have confirmed the place even if a grade has been dropped.  If no decision has been posted yet it could mean the university is still considering.  If this is the case try phoning them to see if they are still likely to offer a place.
·         Your son/daughter will need to do the phoning and will need their applicant number handy.  Your moral support may or may not be welcome at this point!
·         If the first choice is unsuccessful, do they meet the grades for the insurance choice?  Yes?  Great – assuming they’re still happy to go there.  No?  Then they’re eligible for Clearing.
·         The procedure for Clearing is clearly explained on the UCAS website
·         Seek advice from school/college staff who should be available on results day.  They will also be able to advise on script recalls/remarks and resits. UCAS also have a helpline – see
·         Initially your son/daughter may be too distraught to do anything.  Advise against any hasty decisions.
·         Courses available in Clearing should be considered as carefully as the original choices.  Try to visit if you can before making a final decision.  Bear in mind that halls of residence may not have spaces left.
·         Places available in Clearing may be slightly different day to day, so keep looking.
·         Rather than rushing into a hasty decision, how would your son/daughter view a gap year, applying again in a couple of months’ time?

Let’s pray for peace of mind and a good night’s sleep for all concerned tonight!

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.                        Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Waiting Game

Since my first post we’ve had a few days away – just the two of us.  The shape of things to come (not the going away bit, unfortunately, but the being just a couple.  I’m really really not looking forward to no children at home).

So… a week to go till results day.  Hoping for the best, but trying to prepare mentally in case the required grades do not materialise.  The course still seems to be recruiting (if the new-style UCAS Course Search is to be believed), so I’m taking this as a good sign.  Maybe they’ll be more prepared to drop a grade if necessary…

Preparations in the form of collecting ‘stuff’ continue.  I’d forgotten that my Mum had acquired a tray of cutlery at a fete earlier in the year, and we bought a clothes airer while we were away.  Older daughter has unearthed the checklist she had a couple of years ago, so that’s helpful.

While they’ve been on their own this week, the two of them have taken the opportunity to practise menu-planning, food shopping and cooking, using recipes from the ‘Nosh for Students’ cookbook.  (see  This book comes recommended by elder daughter, particularly as there is no need for any weighing – all you need is a mug to measure out ingredients.

Do you have any views on ‘stuff’ that is/isn’t essential?
Or a good, basic recipe book to recommend?

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8