Help! I’m about to finish Uni/college – what do I do now?

Save money for your future during Covid-19…

This pandemic is awful for everyone. We hear heartbreaking reports every day of those directly affected by it. Once again, all of us at Loans2Go applaud the tremendous efforts of the NHS and other key workers in all that they are doing to look after the rest of us during these difficult times. 

So if you and your family are currently safe and well, then that is something to be truly grateful for. But if you – or your son or daughter – were about to leave Uni or college when lockdown started, what on earth do you do next? You were on the brink of a whole new start in life and now it feels like all the doors have slammed shut.

Let’s take a look at where you might go from here.

I have a Uni place for September. Can I still go?

At the time of writing, no-one knows how long social restrictions will be continuing for. In the situation of university campuses not being able to reopen by September, universities will have contingency plans in place to start degree courses online. The best thing to do is to keep in touch with your university so that you are fully up to date with what is happening.

Going to Uni also depends on the type of offer that you have been given. An unconditional offer means that you have already met the entry requirements, so the place is still yours if you want it. 

If you have a conditional offer – ie have to achieve certain grades to be accepted – then your place depends on your A-level results. The grades awarded this summer will be treated exactly the same as grades awarded in any other year, so the Uni admissions process will continue as normal.

I’ve decided that I now want to apply for a Uni place for September. Can I still do this? What about my results?

The UCAS deadline for applying for an undergraduate course for this September was 15 January 2020, so has already passed. However, the UCAS clearing process begins on July 5th and will continue through to September, so you will still be able to apply then. Check the UCAS website here for details of how to apply for a Uni place through clearing.

A-level results day is Thursday 13th August. Even though your results are now being determined by your teachers rather than by you taking exams, the results will still be published on this same date. So they will be available to be considered by universities during the clearing process.

I am just finishing college or Uni and want to look for a job. Where do I start?

Being honest, it is a really difficult time to be looking for your first job. According to Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), young people leaving college or university are entering the job market “in probably the most difficult time in living memory”.

So you need to be prepared to work hard to find the right job for you. There are still some jobs being advertised now, so check the major job websites – and also websites of companies that you are particularly interested in – on a daily basis. Once lockdown ends, and businesses reopen, there will be more jobs available. But, either way,  you need to get ahead of the game. 

Here are three things that you can do now to get yourself ready for the job market:

 

  • Increase your skills 

 

If you have time on your hands during lockdown then put it to good use and increase your skills. Try and learn something new that is relevant to the kind of work you want to do. For example, Google Digital Garage lists over 120 courses – produced by themselves and many other providers – on a wide range of business-related topics. Some of these courses are free, although if you are able to save money by not going out during lockdown, paying for a course could be a worthwhile investment. Another option would be to take an online language course. Check out providers such as Duolingo or Babbel for free fun courses.

Also consider whether there is anything that you could also try to earn some money from? Look into earning money from a hobby or talent through websites such as Upwork or Fiverr. Or perhaps now is the time to start blogging or vlogging about a particular interest to see if that leads anywhere?

 

  • Write a winning CV

 

There will be lots of other people applying for jobs: yours needs to stand out from the crowd. Take a look at our article A New Job for Autumn for essential advice about how to write a good CV. Even though you may not have very much work experience so far, make sure you include information about other things that you have done where you have demonstrated valuable work-related skills. For example, any teamwork or positions of responsibility either in school/college/Uni or outside.

 

  • Prepare for interviews

 

Our New Job for Autumn article includes some excellent tips for interview preparation. But the additional thing you now need to bear in mind is that more interviews are likely to be held remotely, using phone or video technology. This is nothing new in terms of the early stages of career recruitment, but may well be the norm for the main interviewing stage for some considerable time to come.

This may all sound a bit daunting so the more you can do to prepare for this situation, the better. If you do get offered a video interview then ask someone to help you prepare remotely for it. This will get you used to talking confidently and feeling more natural about it. Use a trusted friend or family member who will also give you feedback about how you come across and anything – for example, annoying habits – that you might need to change.

When it is time for the interview itself, treat it as if you were going to meet the company face to face. Dress smartly, smile and be polite and punctual. Make sure you are in a quiet, clutter-free, and well-lit environment and have all the relevant documentation (job description, your CV etc) to hand in case you need to refer to it during the interview. Check all your equipment, including volume settings, before the interview starts.

 

I am just finishing Uni and already had a job offer. Will this still be there when all this is over?

Hopefully yes, but all we can advise you to do is to keep in touch with your new employer and work things out with them. So much is changing on a daily basis during Covid-19, and different companies are being affected in different ways. But lockdown won’t go on forever, so your job offer may well still be there at the end of it all.

We hope that the above tips help you to navigate your way through the current situation, and come out the other end with the course or job that is right for you.

Stay well, and remember to check back here soon for more financial and lifestyle tips from Loans 2 Go.