Take the next steps in your student journey

Guest posts

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
Category: Health

8 October 2015

Hopefully, you are reading this blog after attending our open day. I had a lot of fun in the William Harvey Building greeting the many FHSCE visitors and trying to convince some of you to try our photo booth.

Some of you were very photo shy, but I just couldn’t resist the allure of this new gadget so you can see my photo booth picture here! Now that you have visited us, I thought it would be useful to outline what you need to do next.

Do more research

Einstein pointed out that 'If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research'. Hopefully after the open day you now feel that you know a bit more, but probably still not enough. At this point you still need to gather more information.

First, and if you haven’t done so at the open day, you may need to check that your qualifications will give you entry into your chosen course. If you’re not sure about this, our admissions team can help. Contact admissions@aru.ac.uk

If you are looking at one of our education subjects, you should look more into the different areas the modules cover and make sure that those are of real interest to you. You should also really look into career prospects, and what type of jobs you can go into once you’ve finished the course.

If you’re looking at health and social care, you don’t need to worry quite so much about the career prospects. However you still need to acquire a realistic understanding of what people in your chosen professions do on a daily basis. You could do this by arranging conversations with people you know who are already nurses, midwives or social workers. Or maybe your school or college will arrange guest speakers for you.

You also need to understand the wider context in the NHS, social work practice or education as it is so important to the professions you want to join. In order to do this, you need to read the relevant news, on a weekly basis. Don’t be that person who is frantically trying to cram in 6 months of news in 1 hour the night before their interview! Reading a few articles every week will only take a few minutes and will help you be aware of the context. Most news websites have got dedicated areas for health and social care or education. Also look at professional websites such as the NMC, Ofsted, RCN, RCM or HCPC. You’ll be proficient in all those acronyms!

If you’re feeling really brave, also look at some entry level text books that students would be using on the first year of their studies, anatomy and physiology is always good for the health subjects. But if you would rather start with some lighter reading, go to our student blogs. We have some students from all different subjects blogging and reading about their experience will help you in your research.

Join the UCAS kingdom and write your personal statement

All undergraduate applications have to be made through UCAS. You will need to register and will soon become proficient with the system. If you’re at school or college you will likely get ample support on how to use the system. But if not, the UCAS website will be helpful to you and they also have a great YouTube channel. Or you may want to use social media to get in touch with them.

Arguably the most important part of your UCAS application is your personal statement. You really need to spend time planning and amending this. For more information, read Lissie’s advice about personal statement. If you’re not sure about the content of your personal statement you can always come back to the next open day to get more advice. Academics will not read and comment on specific personal statement but they can give pointers if necessary.

Experience is the source of knowledge

Another Einstein thought! This is directly linked to your personal statement as experience will go a long way towards making you look convincing. Ideally you will be able to get some work experience in the field you want to study. So babysitting, youth leading, coaching sport are all good experiences both for education subjects and child nursing. Working in a nursing home or a relevant charity is good for nursing and social work.

In some cases though, getting direct experience is difficult. For example if you want to study midwifery it is very unlikely that you will get access to a delivery ward and be able to experience this part of the role. Therefore sometimes, it’s important to be a bit creative. Experience can take many forms, it doesn’t all have to be work experience. Trying to arrange to shadow someone for a day could work out for you. And sometimes in terms of health, it will be easier to shadow people in a community service rather than in a hospital. Also use your personal experience and talk to people you know that had occasions to come in contact with NHS/social care services.

Finally, think about transferable skills. Maybe you work in a supermarket and have had to handle complaints in the past. While the experience is not directly related to health or social care, show how it would help you in a situation where a patient would be complaining to you, being difficult or maybe just distressed. Maybe you practice a sport regularly and this has helped you develop team and leadership skills that would be useful to you as a nurse, or an early year professional. Make sure you reflect on how you can make your current skills and experience relevant to your chosen course. Here is a quote from Nick Wrycraft, our mental health nursing admissions tutor:

Don’t underestimate the transferable skills that you already have in a non-nursing setting that might be relevant to nursing, for example working in retail in direct contact with the public and sometimes dealing with complaints or people that are angry or upset“ 


For some subjects, you will then have to attend an interview. Luckily, if you have already completed all the research advised above, you will be in an excellent position for the interview. We interview for nursing, midwifery and social work. The process is currently changing for nursing and midwifery, so keep an eye out for our blog on ‘the new interview process’ which we will publish in the next month.

Stay in touch

Do let us know how you are getting on, we want to know! Our social media team will pass on relevant Twitter and Facebook queries and we will help you as much as we can.

You can also attend other university events. Offer holders will be invited to either specific days or welcome days as part of their journey, and those are great opportunities to meet other students and learn even more about the university. Don’t miss out!

A student journey’s is a long and sometimes complicated but also exciting and we hope that you will take yours with us. After witnessing three fantastic days of graduation here on our Chelmsford campus I really feel that it is a journey worth taking. Seeing the happiness of graduating students as they celebrate their success with their friends and family is always a lovely experience. So if you’re just starting your student journey stay positive and remember the end goal. This could be you!

graduates throwing their hats in the air


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.