Click here to go to the main StudentGems site

Friday, 29 July 2016

5 student loan tips for new undergraduates

Entering the world of higher education can be daunting for all sorts of reasons. The money side of things is a big one. You need to make sure you’ve got funding in place for your tuition fees and that you’ve got enough to live on for the year ahead. You’ll be sorting out accommodation and setting a weekly budget. But don’t worry, this is all part and parcel of the university experience. Here are a few tips to help you out.    

1. Plan ahead
Consider your finances early and put your application in for your government student loan as soon as you can. You don’t need a confirmed place to do so. The whole system can get pretty busy over the summer and you don’t want to be chasing up your tuition fee payments come September when your priority should be settling in to your course. If the government loans aren’t enough – and for many people, they’re not – you can always apply for a Future Finance loan to help towards your tuition fees or living expenses.

2. Don’t max out on maintenance
Tuition fees are non-negotiable, but you might be able to manage your living costs so that you don’t need to take out the full maintenance loan. Remember, it’s not free money – you’ll need to pay it back with interest. If you can live on less, great. It pays to budget and only borrow what you need.

3. Look long term
Getting a good degree can really boost your future earning potential. So do your
Copyright samotrebizan / 123RF Stock Photo
homework on the kind of salary you might expect in years to come. It’ll help you figure out how much debt you can afford to get into now and when you’ll be able to pay it back.


4. Don’t stress
Yes, you’re accruing a debt – perhaps for the first time in your life – and the seemingly mountainous sums can be scary. But this is your pathway to a brilliant, successful and enriched career. Think of it as an investment and embrace the opportunity.

5. And don’t bottle it up
If you do find your struggling to cope financially during term time, don’t suffer in silence. There are many ways and means of funding your uni education without resorting to the nastiness of payday loans and high-interest credit cards.

6. See what funding is available
There are not many options available for student funding in the UK with the majority of students can avail of government loans. If however you are ineligible for student loans from the Government, or you find that they simply are not enough, there is another option. Future Finance is the only specialised student loan provider in the UK. They offer loans designed for students, which means lower capped repayments in study, repayment holidays and a loan plan based on your course and university. Application is completely free and will not affect your credit score.

Friday, 24 June 2016

I’m Qualified — So Why Am I Not Getting Any Job Offers?

It seemed so perfect: You had all of the qualifications for the job advertised in the UK and thought you nailed the interview. You’re sure you’ve found the perfect job, so you eagerly wait for the phone call . . . but it never comes. Eventually, the dreaded email arrives, telling you that you have many great qualities, but they’ve opted to go with another candidate. You try not to feel discouraged, but it’s hard not to wonder what you did wrong.

It might not help when the sting of rejection is still fresh, but take a sigh of relief in the fact that you aren’t alone in the UK. While sometimes it’s obvious why applicants don’t get the job (and admit it, you’ve applied for jobs you’re not qualified for too), more often than not, they have no idea why they aren’t getting offers. Most employers don’t take the time to tell applicants why they aren’t selected, and asking for clarification is generally frowned upon. Still, if you are consistently receiving replies of “thanks, but no thanks,” you may want to consider how you’re presenting yourself to employers in the UK, and what you can do to improve your chances of actually hearing “you’re hired.”

Factors That Are Out of Your Control

Before we can talk about the changes you can make to get more jobs in the entire UK, it’s important to address the elephant in the room. Sometimes, rejection has nothing to do with you, and sometimes the rejection stems from factors like the company opted to go with an internal candidate (and maybe intended to go that route from the start), changes to the organization or the budget that occurred after you applied, or a simple lack of chemistry. Even if you felt like you clicked with the interviewer, they might not have felt the same way. It’s not a reflection of you or your abilities, but sometimes personalities just don’t connect, and the fact that you didn’t get the job may actually be a good thing.

What You Can Fix

It’s probably easier on your ego to assume that you didn’t get a job because of factors outside of your control. But since that it isn’t always the case, you have to at least consider the possibility that it was due to something that you said or did. According to HR managers in the UK and employment experts, these are among the most common reasons that people don’t receive offers.

1. Your Physical Appearance Has Issues. It’s awkward, especially in London, and no one is ever going to say it out loud. But if you have bad breath, body odor, or a disheveled appearance, you aren’t going to make a good impression on interviewers. Make sure to always spend time giving yourself a once over before heading to the interview. Some positions will also require you to dress up even more than you might already be. If you wanted an executive assistant position, you’ll want to dress even snazzier than you would if applying for an administrative assistant.

2. You Lack Something Another Candidate Has. Obviously, you may never know what other candidates have on their resumes, but in many cases when an employer in London or other needs to decide between two otherwise equal candidates, they will look for any little thing to push one ahead of the other.

Different industries in the UK will require different experience or knowledge from candidates. In the IT industry, for example, you may have as much experience as other candidates, but if they have UK based certifications that help prove their competencies in specific fields, that might make all the difference to the hiring manager.

Continuing with the IT example, there are numerous certifications one can earn to put them ahead of other applicants, just make sure you earn relevant certifications to the position you desire. Thanks to online IT training, you can easily study for career-enhancing certifications that might be just what you need to land that dream position.

3. You Come Across as Arrogant. Confidence is important, especially if you’re after a position in sales, but it’s very easy for confidence to veer into the territory of arrogance. To avoid coming off as a know-it-all who will be unpleasant to work with in any company in the UK, be sure that you can back up your claims with evidence, and ask plenty of questions to show your interest in the position and your willingness to learn.

4. You Didn’t Prepare for the Interview. It’s interviewing 101: You need to do your homework on the company. At the very least you can expect to be asked why you want to work for the company, but you should be able to weave your knowledge of the organization into your answers. Doing some research also allows you to better demonstrate how you can benefit the organization, using specific examples and information.

5. You Aren’t an Effective Communicator. Finally, the way you speak is just as important as what you say. Not only do you need to practice answering common questions, but you should also be aware of any vocal habits that distract from what you are saying. These include being redundant, ending every sentence like a question, and speaking too loudly or softly, all of which are not liked by employers in the UK. Practice with a friend who will give honest feedback, and correct any issues before your interview.


While correcting these issues doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get every job you interview for, they certainly increase the chances of getting an offer. Even when you don’t, don’t take the rejection personally, and focus on what you can change — it will happen eventually. Visit cheapessay.net to enhance your communication skills and become successful in your interviews!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Could students swing the vote? 70% say they’ll vote REMAIN

“It’s our future”: Engagement peaks as majority want a voice on Thursday
  • 70% in student poll want the UK to stay in the European Union
  • 60% think leaving will hurt them financially
  • Propaganda, racism and older voters listed as reasons for concern
  • 1.83 million UK students (Source: HESA, 2015)
Political engagement is peaking among students, with Brexit fears likely to propel the majority to the polls on June 23rd.

A survey by savethestudent.org reveals 94% have registered to vote, with almost three-quarters saying they’ve already made up their mind to vote ‘remain’. 17% would prefer to leave, with the remainder still undecided or not voting.

More than half (61%) of those surveyed think they’ll be financially worse off if we leave, with comments explaining:

“Students of our generation already have enough set against us, we don't need racist irrational members of the older generation voting out on a whim which will ultimately make little difference to their lives, but could seriously damage our own.”

“As a student the EU will give me more financial aid on my year abroad (Erasmus funding) than our government has for my years studying in Britain.”
“The EU offers us so much in terms of low-cost trade, funding for students and job opportunities; why should we leave that?”
Despite what could be a potentially massive student turnout next week, just 10% think the campaigns have been clear and fair:

“I think it’s ridiculous that both sides can get away with confusing the public so much and not giving clear, truthful, honest and fair answers to something which will heavily effect everyone.”

The lack of clarity may explain why so many students don’t feel positive about the outcome – 88% said they were concerned by the outcome either way.

Owen Burek, Save the Student’s Chief Editor, says:

“Students are clearly very worried about the Referendum, and with good reason. They’ve been saddled with substantial debts for degrees, with the promise of better jobs in a strong economy. Uncertainty, particularly around leaving the EU, has compounded anxiety along with the fear-mongering and confusing talk from politicians.

We’ve always encouraged students to speak up and be counted at political crossroads. It’s your future that’s being decided. If you’ve registered, you’ve already done the complicated bit. Now make sure your voice gets heard – vote on June 23rd!”

Most students do see this as a chance to protect their future, and not just for themselves: “a united Europe is something worth fighting for,” one student writes.

Survey results

  • Survey polled 1,828 students via savethestudent.org (15-19 June 2016)
  • Registered to vote: 94% (Not registered: 3% | Not eligible: 3%)
  • Will vote to stay: 71% (Leave: 17% | Undecided: 8%| Not voting: 4%)
  • Concerned about the outcome: 88% (Not concerned: 12%)
  • Campaign information from either party clear and fair: 10% (Not clear and fair: 90%)
  • Financially worse off if we leave EU: 61% (Better off: 12% | Not sure: 27%)

Monday, 14 March 2016

Top student-friendly events for 2016

With the cost of tuition fees, textbooks and accommodation, life as a student in the UK can certainly be prohibitive. And if you’re looking to let off a little steam after a day at university, the options can often seem out of most of our budgets.

Thankfully, there are certain institutions and businesses who are more than willing to give you a helping hand in getting out and about. So from discounts on sporting events, to cinema attractions that can entertain and even provide you with some fun betting options, here are some ways to enjoy yourself in 2016 without breaking the bank.

There are plenty of online resources such as StudentGems, StudentBeans and UNiDAYS who can highlight which UK shops provide a discount for students so that you can enjoy a little retail therapy. In addition to this, escaping the confines of the halls of residence can be made a lot cheaper thanks to a 12% discount on a 16-26 railcard and 25% off National Express coach tickets.

We all know that a lot of sporting events can be prohibitively expensive. But if you’re looking to attend a top-level football match, be aware that many clubs such as Nottingham Forest offer a free student membership scheme so that you can gain access to the ground on a much more student-friendly concession rate.

Thanks to the ever-reliable NUS, you can get 25% off cinema tickets at Odeon cinemas across the UK between Mondays and Thursdays. This can be a good way of killing time in the summer months where many of the big blockbusters comes to our cinema screens. And now you can even take bets on which movies will be the biggest hits of the year, so see Betway.com for more details on some great tips for the world of cinema, sports and beyond.

Many other entertainments offer some tempting student discounts too. Although the majority of big music venues will often scoff at the thought of a special student rate, certain more forward-thinking venues such as the legendary Parish rock club in Huddersfield have introduced their own student discount card. This not only gives you money off selected shows, but you can also get a discount on food and drink at the venue too.

So whether you’re adding some excitement to your cinema discount by having a bet, or just checking out the best cutting-edge sounds at your local music venue, with a bit of research we can all enjoy some great discounts that make life as a student a little easier.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Studying abroad can give you the edge in today's competitive jobs market

A university or college degree is a must-have qualification in order to stand any chance of jumping onto even the first rung of a meaningful career ladder in the UK. But in the economically straitened and fiercely competitive times we all find ourselves in, when even degrees from the best business schools of the UK barely cut it with some of today's ultra-choosy employers, what can give you an edge in the jobs market?

In other words, what can make you stand out from the crowd? A high GPA, a polished CV, smart and tidy appearance, and the ability to sell yourself without sounding overbearing? Yes, to all of that, except that'll likely be taken as read by most prospective employers, particularly if the interview process has more than just the one stage.

International Experience

According to the Institute The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in the UK, globalization is changing the way the whole world works. So, more and more employers are looking for people who have international skills and experience. And there you have it, in a nutshell. There's how you stand out. Be one of the less than 10% of the 1.1 million British students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year that have actually studied abroad.

QAA Chief Executive Douglas Blackstock said, “International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century education, and study abroad should be viewed as an essential element of a college degree. Learning how to study and work with people from other countries and cultures also prepares future leaders to contribute to making the world a less danger place.”

But the QAA plans to change all of that over the next four or five years through their Generation Study Abroad campaign launched earlier this year. And as well as putting millions of pounds into the project, the QAA has already made contact with hundreds of educators and educational bodies both at home and across the world in a bid to double the number of British studying abroad by the end of the decade. But it's a huge challenge.

Fastest growing region

Latest data from the QAA's 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange shows a total of 289,408 British students studied abroad for academic credit from their UK colleges and universities during the 2013/2014 academic year. In the 1989/90 academic year, for example, the figure was a mere 71,000. So a fair amount of progress has been made over the last quarter century.

Meanwhile, the number of overseas students choosing to study undergraduate and graduate courses in the UK continued to soar, increasing nationally by 8% in 2013/14 to a record high of 886,052 students. The fastest growing region proved to be the Middle East and North Africa, with an increase of 20% in student numbers enrolled in UK higher education. There was also an 8% increase in students from Ireland and the Scotland, and a similar percentage rise in the number of Asian students, driven by a 17% jump in Chinese students. In terms of individual countries, the fastest growing student populations in the UK in 2013/14 were from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.

So, if the above mentioned all makes sense then don’t wait. Differentiate yourself among the others. Let your essays, assignments be drafted by someone who is expert and has been through this process. Just go to writemyessays.com and see how it makes your work different form the others.