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This content is taken from the UCAS's online course, Smart Choices: Broadening Your Horizons. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second Hi there. My name’s Mark Newman, I’m a team manager in the Customer Experience contact centre. This is the nerve centre of UCAS, where we answer thousands of student questions and queries every day. I’d like to warmly welcome you to this two week course. We have designed this course to help you better understand the study and training opportunities open you, and to help you make the decisions ahead with as much confidence as possible. Exploring your choices and making decisions can be pretty daunting - the range of subjects, study options and destinations available can be overwhelming. We’ve designed this course to help you make really informed choices about your next steps, and progression towards your careers and working life.

Skip to 0 minutes and 36 seconds To do this we want you to feel inspired and excited about the options available to you so you’re able to find the best one for you. In this first week, we’ll concentrate on exploring what’s available to you in the UK – course types, subject areas and everything you’ll need to consider before starting to consider your choices. It should take around two hours to complete the tasks this week. This includes watching videos, joining discussions, reading articles and completing any exercises. If you have more time, there are also links to other resources you might find useful. week, we have careers advisers and university admissions teams sharing their expertise with you.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 seconds You will also hear about the how careers are changing in this country – all to help you get to grips with your decisions making. Throughout the course you’ll be able to share your thoughts and get interactive with everyone else who is taking the course so get social and help each other out! Hello! Welcome to this Massive Online Open Course otherwise known as a MOOC. I’m Clare Marchant, Chief Exec at UCAS. So - what is a MOOC? Well, first of all it’s available to everybody and secondly, it should be completely doable, because it’s over a series of weeks in real bite-size steps that you can access one go at a time.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds I do encourage you to see it through, but just remember as you go through it that’s there’s loads of support. There’s the MOOC, but there’s also teachers, some of the people that you come into contact with through clubs, your parents, friends and family that have gone through study and on to employment themselves. But also remember there is no “right” decision. Don’t let anyone tell you that there is an absolute right decision, it’s a decision for you. We’re all individuals, we all have different paths in life. My sons have gone through BTECs and into employment, my brother has gone from an apprenticeship to employment, I personally went to university and into employment. It was a hugely enriching experience.

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds If you’re going to go to university or college to study a degree, it’s not just going to be about getting to the employment choice that you want, it’s going to be about some of those generic skills about being disciplined and organised, and also the friends and experiences you have along the way. So - I hope you enjoy the MOOC and use it as a learning as experience to get to that right decision for you.

Welcome and introduction

Mark Newman, a team manager in the Customer Experience Centre at UCAS, welcomes you to the course and sets out the starting point and learning aims around the key question ‘how do I best explore higher education as an option?’

Whether you are living in the UK, Europe, or in an international setting, you need information and advice that is up-to-date, comprehensive, and impartial so you can understand the study and training opportunities open to you. Exploring your choices and making decisions can be quite daunting – the range of subjects, study options, and destinations available can be overwhelming. This two-week course is here to help.

In Week 1, you will be concentrating on enhancing and extending your awareness of all the available post-18 options and your knowledge of higher education in the UK. By considering all the options, you will be able to find the best way forward for you.

In Week 2, you will hear from experienced careers advisers and university admissions teams, and to help inform your thinking, you will also learn more about the changing careers landscape. All this will help you focus on how you can get to grips with your decision-making, reflect on your interests, motivations, learning styles, skills, abilities, and aspirations, to make the right choice for you.

This course will be facilitated by Mark Newman. You might want to ‘follow’ Mark and other UCAS mentors, to make it easy for you to find their contributions in the discussions and comments. There will also be careers advisers and higher education experts on hand to contribute.

Please make use of the ‘like’ feature in comments and discussions, if you see a comment you like or a question that you want to ask too. This will assist us to answer as many of your questions as possible, and the posts with the most ‘likes’ are more likely to receive a response.

The comments sections can be a little overwhelming if there are lots of responses, so we recommend reading the first page of most recent comments, then the first page of ‘most liked’ comments – this will help you keep up-to-date with the newest and most popular comments in the course.

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Smart Choices: Broadening Your Horizons