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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Paying For College in the US vs. the UK

Whether you're a young UK student dreaming about the Big Apple, or a US student considering Oxbridge, you need to consider how you're going to pay for your overseas college education. While some of the expenses you have in college are the same whether you attend in the US or the UK, there are a few significant differences that you need to take into account when making your decision.

1. Tuition costs

It's no secret that American universities are some of the most expensive in the world. Whether you are an
American citizen or a UK student hoping to study at one of America's world-renowned schools, you have to be prepared to pay over $50,000 per year in tuition costs, or to take on significant student loans.

On the other hand, UK universities work hard to keep tuition costs minimal. For many students, UK university tuition only costs a few thousand pounds. Foreign students are required to pay an additional overseas tuition fee, bringing the tuition up to, on average, £11,000. Even this additional cost, however, still makes the UK university much less expensive than its American counterpart.

2. Living expenses

Students considering studying abroad also have to take in account the difference in cost of living. American universities are centred around student dorms and dining hall meal plans, which cost thousands of dollars each semester and are not included in tuition.

The UK student's cost of living is slightly lower, but still must be considered when evaluating expenses. To get a UK student visa, for example, you must be financially able to support £800 a month in living expenses, or approximately £3,200 per semester.

3. Part-time jobs

80% of American students hold part-time jobs, and the entire university structure is centred on allowing students to balance work and study obligations. UK students are also taking on part-time jobs, though at a lower rate than their American counterparts. If you are planning to work while you are a university student, especially if you are studying abroad, it is important to learn exactly what types of jobs you can and cannot do on your student visa.

Even if your financial situation does not require that you work, getting a part-time job can have significant benefits. You’ll learn how to function on a job and how to work well with others. Plus, the money you earn can help cover the cost of your college expenses.

4. Bank accounts

Whether you receive regular money from your folks or you have a part-time job, opening a bank account is one way to manage your money. Yes, it is possible to open a US bank account if you are a UK student, and vice versa. It will help you when you need to retrieve cash from an ATM, or make payments in local currency without worrying about an exchange rate. And with your money in an account, you're less likely to spend on frivolous things, such as shopping and clothes.

But don't just open a checking account; consider other options like a regular savings account or a CD. A savings account is a good option, but if you want to earn a higher return on your deposit, a CD might be a better match. Depending on where you bank, CD rates can go as high as 1.00% APY. However, Discover Bank notes that CD interest rates can vary depending on the length of the CD that you take out.

5. Cultural experiences

Financially speaking, it's tempting to try and keep up with your friends. If they're able to go shopping or eat out on a regular basis, you may feel left out by not attending. It's also important to take advantage of the cultural experiences in your new country; would you really want to spend four years in New York City without ever taking in a Broadway show, or live in London without ever visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum? However, if you develop a habit of spending money just because your friends can, you could end up with a lot of debt and not enough cash to meet personal obligations.

Each month, set a budget and determine how much you're able to spend on extras such as entertainment. A good budget will help you enjoy the cultural experiences you want to have, while still ensuring you can pay all of your bills.

When you decide to study abroad for your university experience, you open yourself up to a world of new possibilities. Knowing as much as you can about the finances before you start will help you make smart choices and graduate from your chosen university ready to take on the next stage of your life.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Student Accommodation: Settle for the Best

Finally student accommodation companies are upping their game, and realising that students will not accept rubbish living conditions anymore. Gone are the days of shabby furniture from your Nan’s era, mouldy wall paper and threadbare carpet...hoorah!

If a student accommodation wants to be heads above the rest, it needs to offer something different. Accommodation that can offer modern flats (especially for London students where halls have been notoriously overpriced), high levels of security, a community feel and a reasonable price are trailblazing the way in the industry.

So what are the key things to look for when choosing your first year home?

Sure, plasma TVs in every room, a Jacuzzi and walk-in fridge are all ridiculously appealing, but if the complex is 20 miles from your uni, it might not be such a great idea. Think about your morning/evening commute, how long the journey is into town ad what other hotspots are nearby. Price will more than likely vary the nearer you are to the centre of town, but can eliminate the cost of travel, so take time to weigh up the costs.

Not just for your parents’ peace of mind. No one wants to have their stuff pinched or to feel unsafe at home. Check the levels of security thoroughly, and whether the company offers content insurance. If not, the better the security, the cheaper it will be for you to buy it yourself. Student accommodation should offer 24 hour security, so make sure you know how to contact them, should you ever need to.

Ensure that all the amenities are up to scratch, so that your bed doesn’t collapse the second you do, and so that the draws are for show. Especially when moving in, ask the rep to show you how the shower etc works to ensure that they actually do. Test the toilet flushes/the taps work/the oven gets hot before they leave, so any big problems like that can be sorted asap.

If the building is next to a main road or train station, you may not always get the 100% peace and serenity
you’d pictured. Think about how much that will bother you, particularly when choosing halls in the middle of a busy city. It also might look alright in the day, but think about when 12am comes and the tequila has set in. It might not be a huge issue in your first year, unless you’re not very pleasant in the morning.

Room type
Many of the big student accommodations offer a variety of types of room, at a variety of prices. These can include a studio – a whole flat usually designed for one (or a couple), including a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. Other types are shared flats where you will often be sharing communal areas with strangers, and en-suite rooms where you will share a kitchen and social area, but not a bathroom. Find the best option to suit your needs, personality and budget.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Why you should consider a career in midwifery

With so many career options available within healthcare, finding the role to suit you is no mean feat. One option you may not have considered is midwifery, and if you haven't already, it's certainly worth giving some thought to the benefits of working in this unique profession. Here we've put together what we feel are the biggest advantages of working in midwifery, as well as advice on how you can get into the profession.

Midwives are in demand
If you read the news it's likely you'll already know that nurses, and particularly midwives, are in demand. This means that, unlike in other industries where graduate jobs are scarce, with a qualification in midwifery you're almost guaranteed to find employment.

Opportunity for promotion
There are plenty of opportunities to advance your career within midwifery. Whilst the starting salary for newly-qualified midwives is £21,388 with the NHS, an experienced midwife can earn around £34,500 year. By gaining further qualifications such as a Masters or a PhD, you can progress even further into management and consultant roles.

Rewarding job
When asked about the benefits of the profession, many midwives talk about the inherent satisfaction involved in doing such an important job. Knowing that your work helps to bring life into the world and that you are there for one of the most important moments in people's lives is something that few other jobs can offer.

How you can become a midwife
There are three ways to train as a midwife, all of which lead to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The most common route into midwifery is through taking an approved midwifery degree. This will involve both an academic and a professional qualification, through study of theory and supervised practice of midwifery. Degree programmes in midwifery are usually three years in length on a full-time basis.

Alternatively, if you're already a qualified and registered nurse, you can take the midwifery short programme. As with a degree in midwifery, this is both an academic and a professional qualification, involving study of theory and supervised midwifery practice. Midwifery short programmes usually take a minimum of 78 weeks full-time. You can find out more about the midwifery short programme by contacting the Health Learning and Skills Advice Line.

Another option is to take a Masters degree in midwifery. This is particularly popular with graduates from related subjects who are keen to move into midwifery and registered nurses looking to gain a new qualification. As with most qualifications, entry requirements for a Masters in midwifery vary between academic institutions, but as an example an MSc in Midwifery from Middlesex University requires a good honours degree (2:2) or above in midwifery or a closely related subject, or a relevant professional qualification and evidence of successful level six study.

Wherever you choose to apply to and whatever course you choose to study for, check what the entry requirements are for that institution. If it isn't clear on their site or you're not sure that you qualify then still get in touch with the course leaders – you might have more relevant experience than you think.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Motors Most Deserving Student’s desire to find an individual truly deserving of the Most Deserving Student crown is over, so rest easily in your beds!

As probably the most well-known of the three Most Deserving Awards (the other two being given to the Most Deserving Local Hero and the Most Deserving Local business), nominations came in thick and fast and the choice of both the five finalists and the eventual winner was an incredibly close-run thing.

The winner is Julia Hebb, a mother of two, student and patient best friend who has achieved a great deal in her life, as while as instilling a sense of pride and determination in her children. Judging by her nomination story – sent in by her close friend, Gill – Julia is in no way short of determination herself.

So why did feel Julia Hebb to be the Most Deserving of all the finalists?

“Julia is my best friend, and has been since we were both 13 (we are now 37). Julia had her children when she was still in her teens, and they are two of the most amazing kids I know!”

Julia’s story is one of unbelievable grit and to determination to succeed against the odds and such is truly inspiring.

Of Julia’s ‘two amazing kids’ (as best friend Gill calls them), Tyler has shown a great deal of strength in dealing with the dual burden of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. This is no doubt due in part to Julia’s determination to have Tyler admitted to a mainstream school after having developed a method of teaching her son to speak that has also been proven to be effective in others with similar conditions.

Julia’s eldest child, Kelly, has proven herself a bastion of academic excellence after gaining a total of 14 A and A* grades at GCSE. Kelly is clearly a chip off the ol’ block as shown when Julia, age 34, decided to go back into to education to first gain the GCSEs she had originally missed out on, then to do a university access course, in order to gain entry to Salford University to study Nursing.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Things to consider before choosing your student accommodation in London

When it comes to choosing student accommodation it’s important not to rush your choices, it’s not uncommon for some students to sign the first contract that they see, leaving them regretting their accommodation choices a bit later. Or, on the other hand not committing to any student digs and being left with the dregs. There are lots of aspects to consider before choosing the type of accommodation that will fulfil your student experience that you are looking for:

Do your research

There is plenty of student accommodation in London to choose from, so don’t settle for the first property
you view. Do your research and shop around before making the decision -after all it’s going to be your home for at least the next year, so it’s important to choose somewhere where you will feel at home.

If you are feeling lost with where to even begin finding the ideal accommodation for your student lifestyle, your university should have a student accommodation office which can offer you advice and have a list of trusted landlords and letting agents that you can get in touch with.

Alternatively, seek out various letting agents in London on your own. They will advertise student houses for the next academic year but the down side to using a letting agent, is that it is based on first come first serve, and therefore properties can get whipped up quick. What’s more, letting agents tend to charge an agency fee, so if it’s possible, it might be worth finding a private landlord as this is generally cheaper, however it is advised that you select a private landlord approved by your University for your own peace of mind.


The downside that comes with living on your own, is that you have to pay the bills. Therefore, before you choose your student accommodation, consider what you can actually afford with your student budget. As you look around different properties, it’s always worth asking the current residents roughly how much they spend on bills a month to get a better idea of what your outgoings will be like during your academic year.

In addition, remember to pay for your TV licence as it’s really not worth the risk of getting a big fine. It costs £145.50 for the year, but if you are staying in shared accommodation, you will only need one between you, meaning you can share the cost.


Although getting around London as a student is easy with the excellent transport system, it’s worth considering how far you will want to commute to get to university. If you’re not one for getting up early, then maybe a 1 hour commute to your university isn’t the best idea if you are planning on making your 9 o’clock lectures.

Also consider the costs of transportation. Although, students get discounted travel benefits in London, costs can mount up significantly. Therefore, the closer you are to everything in terms of both university and social aspects, the less money you are likely to spend of London transport. However, at the same time, generally the more central you are and closer you are for things to do, generally the higher accommodation costs will be. So, it’s really about weighing up the costs of each and working out which is best for you.

Another aspect to acknowledge when choosing your location, is to consider the amount of noise in the area. For example, if you’re beside a busy road, question whether it will annoy you or distract you from your studies in anyway.


The first question and sometimes only question that often crosses many students’ minds when looking for student accommodation is: is this accommodation going to be good for socialising and parties? While having a good time and socialising is a huge part of university, you need to be realistic and remember the real reason why you are actually at university! Consider whether the bedrooms have enough space for you to be able to study and complete your work in a comfortable environment. Look at the communal areas, and question for example, does the kitchen have enough space and all the facilities you require?

Double glazing

Unless, you want to be spending a fortune on heating, an essential aspect to look out for when viewing different accommodation is whether your accommodation has double glazing. This is something many students forget to do before signing the contract and find themselves wrapped up in 5 layers of clothing around the house, with their student budget restricting them from splashing out on heating costs.


Student houses can often be victims of break-ins and burglaries –they know they are almost guaranteed at least a couple of laptops. So make sure that you choose a secure property. What’s more the safer your student property is, the cheaper your contents insurance will be, so you can spend your student loan in better ways! Check with more than one insurance company to establish their minimum security requirements before you start the process of looking for accommodation.

The NHS Needs Nurses

"Call the Midwife" fans take note: the NHS needs nurses!

Students interested in the healthcare field, who have an interest in helping others, or who simply want a
steady job in a currently understaffed industry, should consider taking on nursing as a career choice. The 2012 UK nursing labour market review begins with two words: "Overstretched. Under-resourced." It goes on to indicate that the NHS is facing "increasing problems with the supply of nurses."

This news is not new, although recently-matriculated students may be unaware that this NHS nursing shortage has been predicted for some time. As early as 2001, the Royal College of Nursing was warning of nursing shortages, noting England's 20,000 nursing vacancies. That was over a decade ago, and the nursing shortage has not yet been solved.

What should students interested in the nursing field do to secure positions? To start, you need a nursing degree. Previously, you could simply get a nursing diploma, but as of September 2013, the nursing program has become graduate-entry only.

Students entering a nursing degree program from a secondary school need at least five GCSEs at or above Grade C, with at least two and often three A levels depending on the desired degree programme. If you currently have or are about to complete a non-nursing college degree, it is still possible to re-enter a university nursing program and complete a second degree. Many of your previously-earned university courses transfer, meaning you are able to focus your second degree solely on the courses required for nursing.

In addition to the general NHS nursing shortage that has lasted for over a decade, it is essential to train as many new nurses as possible to prepare for the upcoming population shift. As Britain's population ages, more and more people will need geriatric nursing services, and there are growing opportunities in every field from assisted living to nutrition to hospice care.

Countries across the globe are preparing for this upcoming shift. Many United States peers enter nursing programmes that offer online programs for RN degrees. You can get a list of these programs from The College Network and see the variety of nursing careers out there. Expect international cooperation as countries share innovations in cancer treatments, diabetes management, Alzheimer's research and other diseases that disproportionately affect older patients.

Britain's population is also scheduled to steadily increase over the next 15 years, and 56 per cent of that increase will come from new infants. If you are interested in midwifery, it is possible use your nursing degree to train as a midwife and welcome new babies into the world. You must first complete your nursing degree to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, but then you can follow in the footsteps of Jenny, Chummy, and the other "Call the Midwife" nurses.

In short: the NHS needs nurses, and today's students are just the people to fit the bill. Whether you are interested in helping people recover from injury, monitoring the results of new cancer treatments, or aiding a new baby's first breath, there is a nursing career for you. To learn more, visit the NHS careers website at

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Pot Noodle launches its first scholarship to create a university legend

The Pot Noodle Scholar to be rewarded with a prize worth over £20,000

Today Pot Noodle is launching a nationwide search to find its first university scholar – the one person who will have their tuition fees paid for the year, have a Pot Noodle-branded life, an epic party and the ultimate university experience.

The scholar will be the supreme brand ambassador; wearing and using nothing but Pot Noodle-branded merchandise, from t-shirts and trainers to bed sheets, bus pass holders and even condoms, all paid for by the brand, as well as leading various activities on campus throughout the year. In return, the chosen scholar will have their university debt cut by up to £9,000 with their 2013/2014 fees paid for them.  This is a sure-fire way to make them famous on campus and raise them to “legend” status amongst their peers.

The competition, run through Facebook, will also name nine runners up as members of the first Pot Noodle Fraternity, led by the scholar. These nine members will become official brand ambassadors and lead various Pot Noodle activities on their university campus. All ten fraternity members will  receive a cash reward for every campus challenge they complete. With the number of full-time higher education students with part-time jobs increasing - up 54% between 1996 and 2006 - this is an ideal opportunity for students looking for an easy solution to rising tuition fees.

Karl Roche, Pot Noodle brand manager, comments: “We know many Pot Noodle fans are students, and we’ve been helping them through uni for years. So, we decided to take it a step further and give students the chance to have the ultimate ‘Easy’ uni experience by sponsoring them for a year. But there can only be one overall winner and we’re looking forward to the search! After all, becoming the first “Pot Noodle Scholar” is definitely a unique claim to fame for the CV.”

Pot Noodle is calling students nationwide to take part in the scholarship challenge by submitting their entry via From a short-list of the 20 best entries, the public will be asked to vote for their favourite, whittling the number down to 10 – and confirming the Fraternity members. But the battle will still be on as they fight it out for legendary scholar-status. 

Visit for more information and to enter for your chance to be part of the unique scholarship programme. Follow the conversation on #PotNoodleScholar

Tips for gambling responsibly

Playing online at a casino can be incredibly fun and allow you to win money from the comfort of your own home. This is just one of the many reasons why millions of people every day, play at online casinos for their entertainment and relaxation time.

As so many different people play, you can be sure that those not playing responsibly end up feeling guilty about overspending and playing too much. However these are easy problems to solve with just a few simple steps.

Take for example the overspending aspects of gambling, this is incredibly easy to stop as in most gambling sites like you have to credit your account before playing and don’t just play off a card.

Because of this you can set a hard budget of how much you’re willing to spend each session so as to not overspend and feel guilty about it after. In many ways this might actually help your gaming as well because with less money available to you will be stricter on what you gamble on and so will make better decisions.

Also, if you want to be safer with your money many online casinos allow you to pay into your account through money services such as PayPal. These services keep your bank details secret from the casinos and so will not allow the casino access to your bank accounts. It also means that if you want to play multiple online casinos you can give them all your PayPal details and it is much simpler information to remember.

Worried about the online casino that you’re going to play? There are many different casino review sites which will tell you if they are trustworthy or not, with just a simple search.

Remember, gambling is not a substitute for getting a part-time job, and it’s probably not going to make you rich… If you can’t afford to lose, don’t gamble!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Can't Find a Job? Keep Your Head Up!

The sole purpose of going to uni was to find a job, right? And during your three or four year uni life, you were probably optimistic about finding work after school. However, optimism can suddenly turn to fear if you’re unable to get a job.

You may start thinking of the worst. What if I have to move back home? What if I can’t repay my student debt? Will this affect my credit score?

Your fears are valid, but understand that it often takes time to find work after uni. With more and more people going to higher education, the job market is simply flooded - and sometimes, it can take six months to find what you’re looking for.

Don’t give up your efforts, and don’t panic either. There is plenty you can do as you wait for your dream job.

Volunteer with a local organization. Not only can this take your mind off your job worries, volunteering with a local organization can also provide work experience that looks good on your resume. If you didn’t have a job while in college, this might make some employers nervous. They may prefer an applicant who understands how an office runs. If you get some work experience - even if it’s only volunteer work - this can work in your favour and possibly open doors.

Look for an internship. When the job market is flooded, getting an internship is an excellent way to make use of your days. Like volunteer work, an intern can get your feet wet and help you acquire valuable work experience. But unlike a volunteer assignment, an intern may lead to a job offer. Many companies use internships as a way to recruit new employees. Do the job to the best of your ability and demonstrate that you’re a team player. At the end of your internship, you may have a job offer. Look for a paid internship, this can put extra cash in your pocket as you wait for permanent work.

Temp work. Signing up with a temp agency until you find full-time work also has its benefits. Temporary assignments can solve your immediate financial worries, and since these assignments are pretty flexible, this leaves time for job interviews and completing applications. And you never know, the temp agency may assign you to a company that’s looking for someone with your particular degree - the perfect opportunity to network and find permanent work.

Further your education. Okay, so the idea of going back to university may not be appealing. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for, additional education might open the door to opportunities. If you’re working with a temp agency or part-time to make ends meet, consider getting an online degree. Founded in 1854, Bryant and Stratton University might be a good match. Thus, you can work on your Master’s degree at your own pace, which keeps your days free.

Finding a job after graduating isn’t always easy, but don’t let this discourage you. Positivity is the only way to stay motivated. Build your work experience, network and take additional courses - your efforts will pay off.

Monday, 23 September 2013

57% of students taking up part-time work

57% of students are engaged in part-time employment of at least 20 hours per week in addition to their studies, according to a recent survey by Endsleigh Insurance.

62% of those undertaking paid employment to support themselves whilst at university say that the extra income is used for leisure activities like going out or socialising with friends. However, more than half (55%) have reported that they need to work in order to cover basic living expenses such as food, accommodation and household bills.

Graduate, Hannah Stradling, was forced to use her childhood savings in order to cover the cost of her bills whilst at university: “Over the summer all of the money I earned went on my rent because the loans didn't come in before it was due. When the loans came in and I could use it to pay my rent, I still used a lot of my earnings to pay the remainders which were between £1,400 and £900”. Hannah does go on to say about how some of the money she earned did go on socialising but says it was upsetting to break into her savings as she had been saving since her 9th birthday.

The survey showed that fewer students are depend on their student loan than recorded in previous years. The percentage of those who rely on student loan payments has reduced by over 10%. This figure may be accounted for in part by the rise in the number of international students coming to study in the UK as they do not receive student loans for their tuition and living expenses.

The results indicate however, that the majority of the UK students depend heavily on a student loan. Bex Fris Jansen, another graduate, said: “My job paid minimum wage, which was a bit unfair considering how hard we were expected to work... the student loan therefore just helped to cover my rent, but I still had to make up some with my own money.”

Not all students opting to take on part-time work are doing so out of necessity though. 44% of those surveyed have taken jobs to start saving for life after being a student and 40% of students say they have chosen to work to avoid getting into debt. Nearly 60% of those questioned view student employment as a chance to improve their CVs and get ahead in the competitive graduate recruitment market once they have finished their course.

Friday, 13 September 2013

How Musical Education Leads to Professional Opportunity

Today’s economy has been particularly tough on millennial artists. This population of 20 and 30 somethings have to face a harsh reality of less opportunity and rising living costs. The solution for many in this group has become entrepreneurship, and the academic community has started to embrace these ideas.

While it may be easy to pigeon hole graduates in the arts as undervalued in today’s workforce, the reality is that arts graduates share the same kind of thinking that is required for entrepreneurship.

Catherine Fitterman Radbill, NYU Director of Undergraduate Music Business, argues that musicians and entrepreneurs can be one in the same. Both use creativity and analytical thinking to accomplish their tasks, and both derive the same level of gratification from success. Each type has its own way of defining success as well, but the mindset is very much the same. 

Cost Concerns

Every business requires an investment of cash in order to launch, as well as careful management of that
money over time. A musician invests in the instruments he or she plays, and learns how to maintain and upgrade them as he continues his practice. As a working adult, musicians translate these same skills into solid decision making.

Cost concerns might prohibit a family from investing in musical instruments for children or growing students. In most cases, brand new instruments are moderately priced, about the same as game console or a television. While there is evidence that video games can provide instruction and positive benefits for growing minds, music has been shown to impact language development and IQ. And you don’t need to be a music student to reap these rewards either. Simply playing an instrument will help.

Try going to a music store and playing with the sample instruments. Low end versions are normally much cheaper than standard or advanced models, offering the same basic functions. Check classified ads online for a user instrument that may be cheaper. 

Finding the Right Teacher

In the same way that an entrepreneur needs a mentor, a musician needs an instructor. Even casual players benefit from having some form of instruction with homework to keep the student focused on the task at hand.
The right music instructor will enhance  playing skills and teach discipline:
  • Ask about practice routines and expectations
  • Observe a lesson to be sure the instructor corrects things like posture
  • Reviews online may be hard to find, instead search or the instructor by name and read his or her blog
  • Ask for a sample of the instructor's playing
Rather than going to a generic music institute for group instruction, investing in private drum lessons gives a one on one experience with someone experienced in music. Anyone can teach you which chords to play, drums to hit or strings to strum. A good music instructor is passionate about that instrument and has industry experience that you might not get at an institute.   

Music Practice

The discipline to practise is the same thing that drives entrepreneurs to continue working on their ideas. Entrepreneurs routinely fail--it’s basically written into the description. Musicians experience these same trials and overcome them through practice and dedication to their instruments.

The place where you live does not need much space, even for a drum set. Guitars, drums, and many wind instruments can easily find a home in one’s room. Most have easy storage containers too, like guitar stands or cases.

Those concerned about noise levels will like electric instruments, like guitars and drums. With electric instruments, music students can practise without disturbing neighbours. The instruments themselves are often more affordable than their acoustic counterparts as well.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Fresh Look at Student Security

The new university term is just around the corner and students countrywide are brimming with excitement! Enjoy all student life has to offer and make the most of all the new experiences, but remember to spare a thought for security.

Amid the excitement and pandemonium of Freshers’ Week, it’s important to be aware of personal safety and home security. For many students Freshers’ is the first time living away from home, which can be a pretty unnerving experience.

In order to start the term as you mean to go on, remember to take extra care on move-in day not to leave your room unattended. The hustle and bustle of bags and boxes coming and going can provide the perfect cover for a burglar to strike unnoticed.

Statistics reveal that a whopping one in five students fall victim to crime while studying at college or university. Opportunist burglars target student halls and houses, as bedroom and flat windows and doors are often left unlocked or ajar, making a it a quick and easy job for burglar.

To avoid becoming a student statistic make sure you close and lock all doors and windows when you’re not in – even if you’re only popping out for a few minutes!

It is also advisable to protect your valuables in a safe. Yale offers a value safe, which is ideal for students because it’s affordable and comes in various sizes.

Another top tip when it comes to university safety is to avoid leaving notes on your door telling your friends you’re out or ‘back soon’ - instead tell your friends face-to-face so they can act as an unofficial student watch while you’re out.

Personal safety also needs to be high on your list of priorities. After evenings partying, try to travel home with friends or in a licensed, reputable taxi.

If you do walk home, try to stick to main roads and footpaths and avoid poorly lit areas – especially any dodgy looking shortcuts and dingy alleyways. For peace of mind it’s a good idea to carry a personal attack alarm. Yale’s personal attack alarm is battery operated, with a built in siren and cord loop for convenience. It is simple to activate, easy to carry and discreet.

On top of all this, remember we’re now edging towards the winter and the darker evenings. Statistics show that burglaries can increase by up to 20 per cent during these months, making home security more important than ever. To combat this rise in crime, Yale is now a proud sponsor of National Home Security Month (NHSM), which runs throughout October and is designed to create awareness around home security throughout the dark autumn and winter months.

For further details please visit the website, Facebook page or Twitter feed, or for more information on Yale or any of their products visit

Thursday, 5 September 2013

How to personalise and decorate your uni room on a budget.

Hello my names Kate and I’m a recent graduate myself from Staffordshire. Upon graduating I now blog about all sort of interiors , DIY projects and decor trends whilst also pursuing a career as a freelance illustrator over at

With the summer holidays having gone by it’s now that time of year for many of you to make your way to your university of choice. Whether you’re a new or current undergraduate moving into the halls or student accommodation it’s nice to actually make it feel a little bit more like home whilst you’re away during your studies.

Now hold right there you may be wondering how can I do this without costing me an absolute fortune? It really is easy to create your very own budget friendly decorated uni room and here you’ll find a mix of tips and advice to help you personalise your own space for the academic year ahead.
Do you have an Instagram account? Who doesn't - it’s a creative and exciting way of snapping quick shots of friends, family and anything whilst you’re on your travels that you can then edit in a style you like and share with your friends. There are a variety of online printers which allow you to upload your instagram photos and print them to different sizes, but if you have a printer handy yourself why not print your own? Create a wall arrangement like you see here and your instagram's and notes here and there really add a memorable personal touch to your room as well as keep you in the know of important dates and deadlines.
Whether you’re living in the halls or student accommodation to add a bit of
life to your space try adding unique styles, patterns and colours to your room. Whether you’re bringing items from home or eager to make your way to the shops, try to incorporate some different bedroom accessories such as bedding sets, throws, cushions , curtains and more to really add that personal touch and character to your bedroom.

For those of you who are quite creative, enjoy crafts or have a big interest in colour paper goods and stationary ever heard of washi tape? Washi tape is a really popular Japanese masking tape available in
different widths, patterns and colours and you can pretty much acquire it from a mix of craft stores online. If you not very good with a hammer and nails (or don’t want to knock any holes in the wall) why not use washi tape to embellish photographs or artwork to your walls.

The fact that washi tape is a masking tape means you can easily change the style of frames you make for each of your pictures, move things around and when it’s time to go back home at Easter or Christmas you can easily take them with you .

There are endless possibilities as to how you can decorate your student living space, it’s all in the colour, patterns, and accessories that really shout out about your own personal style and gives a great start off to the academic year ahead.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Student loans: What you need to know

The new academic year is due to start in just a few weeks. From primary school to postgraduate studies, preparations for the first lecture, class, workshop and seminar are beginning. Now that thousands upon thousands of students know which university they are going to, the time to start getting ready for higher education for them is now.

A big part of being prepared for a three or four-year undergraduate course is sorting out personal finances. Living away from home in private accommodation or the halls of residence will cost money, so it’s important to make sure that the funds are there to pay for everything from tuition fees to the accommodation.

Student Loans are a necessity for any student who needs to cover the cost and saving in every area of life including studies is averagely impossible, but how do they work, are they as helpful as they seem and what happens when they need to be paid back? Here, we go through the ins and outs in an easy-to-understand way.

What are they?

Student Loans come in two parts: Tuition Loans and Maintenance Loans. The first one covers tuition fees in their entirety, while the second meets the cost of accommodation, food and other essentials. The amount loaned each year is equivalent to the tuition fees paid for Tuition Loans, while the most loaned for maintenance is £5,500 (£7,675 in London).

The application process

Nowadays, you have to apply for a loan online via the website. You need your home address, your passport details and proof of your parents’ income in order to get the amount of money you’re entitled to.

Before the start of every academic year, you need to ensure that if your circumstances change, you visit this site to make any necessary amendments to your application. You also need to be wary of making the following common mistakes:

  • Using your Maintenance Loan to pay for your tuition fees
  • Thinking your loan will affect your credit score – it doesn’t!
  • Over/underestimate the amount needed for either loan

Keeping finances under control

On top of the money received in the form of loans, you might have to get an overdraft facility from your bank. Managing your overdraft can be hard, but as Dan Bowen said in the Guardian:

“It is really important to check your account provides an interest-free overdraft, rather than just assuming it will do so. Also, make sure you know the limit, as charges for exceeding your overdraft are high.”

Caution is advisable when using an overdraft. It should only be used in emergency situations.

Credit Rating and eligibility

Your credit score is determined by numerous factors. Many believe that a credit score can affect you from getting a student loan but this is far from true. Past debts play a big role in a credit score result. “As long as you don’t owe the Student Loan Company anything already, you should be fine. Having a bad credit rating has no impact whatsoever on your eligibility for a loan, which will come as a relief to many people who have a history of bad financial management. You can make any cuts to increase you’re saving, then set up a budget for essentials and stick to it,” says a spokesperson from Yorkshire Building Society. Repayments are only taken from future earnings, which will come as a relief to those of you with concerns about your credit rating.

Student Loan repayment

This isn’t something that should really be contemplated until your course has been completed, but the good thing about student loans is that repayments are manageable. The amount you repay back every month depends entirely on how much you earn. Here is how repayments work:

  • You have to pay something back if earning at least £21,000 a year
  • Anyone earning between £21,000-£25,000 will have to pay around £30 a month back
  • Anyone earning up to £30,000 will have to pay £67.50 a month
  • Anyone over £40,000 per annum has to pay back £142.50 a month, equating to £1,710 a year

The loan repayments equate to 9% of the amount which someone is over the threshold, which is then divided into 12 monthly payments. If you get in touch with the Student Loans Company, which provides all student loans sanctioned by the government, you can pay back more than usual if you feel the need to.

Student debts are typically around the £25,000 mark after a three-year-course reaches its conclusion. This may sound like a lot, but they are manageable, making them a ‘good debt’. This means that you have little to worry about as repayments aren’t urgent.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Hospitality Guild launches campaign and competition to promote careers in Food and Beverage Service

hospitality-guild-logoThe Hospitality Guild has launched a video and competition to raise awareness of the excellent career opportunities in Food and Beverage Service.

Starring former Centre of Excellence student Bunmi Okolosi and shot on location at South Downs College, Galvin at Windows, Babylon at the Roof Gardens, The Lockhart and Cinnamon Kitchen, the video aims to highlight some of the exciting places that a career front of house can take an individual.

The ultimate objective of the campaign is to encourage students to sign up on a Food and Beverage Service course at one of the Hospitality Guild Accredited Centres of Excellence; New College Nottingham, City College Norwich, Bournemouth and Poole College, University College Birmingham, Runshaw College and South Downs College.

As an added incentive, the Guild are offering four lucky students the chance to experience working life at one of the UK's best restaurants with one overall winner jetting off to experience working at a high profile establishment in Europe with all expenses paid.

Suzy Jackson, executive director of the Hospitality Guild said: “Interest in Food and Beverage Service has been growing of late, helped by high profile TV shows like Michel Roux’s Service and by events like National Waiters Day. This is brilliant news for this fast-moving sector which has so many exceptional opportunities for fast career advancement.

“People like Bunmi are fabulous ambassadors for this role – he’s been in the sector since graduating from college and has now opened his own business. It’s our aim to show young people and their parents that Food and Beverage Service can be a great, fulfilling career, not just a job.”

To watch the video, enter the competition and find out more, visit

Friday, 16 August 2013

5 Rewarding Careers (That Don't Require Much Schooling)

Entering a university institution can spark a drive for excellence or a complete dread when expecting what’s required to complete a degree – mainly: potential loans you may need to take on. Student loans are becoming such an immense problem that many have turned away from the idea of striving for their Bachelor’s (let alone Master’s) and, instead, have begun opting for careers that require less schooling but with equally rewarding benefits and pay.

The following is a cross selection of some of those careers that do not require long lengths of schooling:

1. Massage Therapist

Massage therapy has many different styles and descriptions but at its core it’s the practice of manipulating body tissue, such as muscles, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments, to encourage health and well-being.

If you’ve ever received a massage, then you’re on the right track to understanding the basics of this career.
Massage therapy schools offer a wide range of styles from the well-known “Swedish” massage to other types like Thai or “Lomi Lomi”. Likewise, there are many different techniques such as kneading, vibration, directed breathing, and so many more. Schooling can be completed in under a year.

Entering this field of work can see you at a median income of £25,000+.

2. Police Officer

Police officers enforce laws, collect evidence, pursue criminals, and sometimes testify in court.

No doubt you have a firm understanding of the roles held by police offers but did you know that it’s a career that doesn’t require a hefty amount of schooling? Police academies are in place to allow individuals to enter this career as long as they possess the basic requirements; such as being able to meet the physical demands.

Of course, additional education is encouraged and to reach higher levels within law enforcement sometimes requires a degree but the average requirements to join the MPS is achievable to anyone with the will and drive.

The median income for a police officer is around £37,000 a year for a sergeant.

3. Registered Nurse

Registered nurses provide a range of duties including:
·  Recording patient information
·  Giving patient medicines
·  Observe and record patients
·  Teach patients about their injuries or ailments
·  Monitor medical equipment

Becoming a registered nurse has a base requirement of an associate’s degree though higher levels of opportunities into specific areas of nursing, such as cardiovascular, genetics, rehabilitation, and others, require additional work experience and training.

Demand for registered nurses have continued to climb, dramatically, as our older generation has begun to make the move into retirement which means this job outlook is looking very lucrative to those that cannot commit (or afford) to take on crippling student loans.

Those seeking to become a registered nurse can expect a median income of £30,000+ a year.

4. Computer Support Specialist

Computers are all around us but despite our regular access it’s very common to find a great deal of individuals that do not have a clue about how to fix their computer (or systems) when it’s on the fritz; that’s where computer support specialists come in.

Computer support specialists do not require a degree (though some college experience is encouraged); there are many training courses online and at traditional institutes that allow you to streamline your entry to the career through technical training and hands-on experience.

Duties include such items as:
·  Troubleshooting network connections
·  Performing regular maintenance
·  Repairing devices

The role will take you in many different directions depending on your work environment and specialty but you can expect a median income to be an attractive £46,000+ a year (and growing).

5. Estate Agent

Most people train on the job or in-house to become an estate agent, however, obtaining some qualification or certification, such as the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), can give you a leg up against competition when applying for positions.

The career can go into many different branches such as becoming an agent, broker, or even taking an entrepreneurial role and starting your own office. The role, in general, will be very fulfilling and rewarding if you’re the type that wants to set your own hours and be your own boss.

The average median income for a property agent or broker is around £35,000+ a year.

In all, you can see that not all rewarding careers require you to make a heavy commitment to schooling. Explore the various options and measure the value of one of the careers listed in this post versus the time committed to others.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Guide to Clearing

Didn't get the grades you expected? Don't panic! Over 55,000 students found their place last year through clearing. Use this handy guide by MiddlesexUniversity to help make the most of your situation.
Guide to Clearing

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Applying to U.S. Universities: What You Need to Know About SAT Prep Courses and Strategies

You know the usual descriptions of standardized tests.  Everybody who has made it through them uses the same general terms.

A rite of passage.  A means to an end.  A necessary step. 

A necessary evil?

If attending university in the U.S. is on your mind, you will, in fact, get to manoeuvre through the SAT, and it will have an impact on your admissions, scholarship, and course future.  We all know people with marginal SAT scores who ended up very successful in college (and life), but the fact remains that they did have to get a minimum score in order to reach those goals.

The important thing about it is that it does not have to be as harsh as some people make it sound.  Sure, it's a long day of brain-straining activity, but you can reduce the strain if you start thinking about preparing for the SAT as a process that is more than just filling out the registration, paying the fee, and showing up on time with the right stuff.

Those months before test day is the time you need to look into SAT prep courses, utilizing Huntington courses to help prep yourself for the kinds of knowledge you will be tested on.  This will make it much easier for you to complete the transition to an education across the pond.

Targeted Learning
We've all studied for a test and ended up finding that it didn't cover a large area of material that we stayed up late to study.  It can be pretty disheartening, especially when you needed to spend more time on other topics.

That is even more true with the SAT.  It's easy to find out what the general content areas are on the SAT.  But how specific can you get without expert help?  Will you need to know geometric formulas?  Should you be memorizing the periodic table of the elements?  What knowledge of America should a student from the UK have?

Good news: A quality preparation course will help you arrive on test day with a good handle on what you'll be expected to know--and maybe just as important, what you won't be expected to know.

By the way, it won't be good enough to talk to someone who slugged through the SAT two years ago, or even last year.  The test is constantly evolving and updating in order to be "cheat-proof" and to be a more accurate measure of knowledge and aptitude.  So whatever the Class of '11 says about their test experience may be right out the window.  Stick with SAT prep courses to get your SAT updates and tips.

Fewer Surprises
A merciful teacher will inform you that you'll be dealing with a multiple-choice or short answer format.  The SAT is all multiple-choice, of course, but how are the questions structured?  Will it have "all of the above" or "none of the above"? 

A quality test prep course will teach you how to identify what they are really asking.  You'll learn to sort through the irrelevant information and zero in on what matters.  They'll teach you to identify the "red herring" answers and how to avoid confusion from the incorrect choices the test offers.

Higher Comfort Level
A relaxed brain is an effective brain.  Imagine that you'll be asked to take a test where you'll do simple math problems.  If you do well, you'll get a big, juicy scholarship to study whatever you want, wherever you want to study it.  The trick?  You must work them on horseback.

It sounds crazy, but the point is this:  You're being tested on the math, not the horsemanship.  You don't need help with the math, but you desperately need training on handling a four-legged partner.  Before you take that test, you'll get some riding lessons, right?

It's the same with the SAT.  It's about testing your aptitude, not your ability to take a test.  Professional test prep services will provide you with an increased familiarity with the test structure that will allow you to focus on the question being asked, not on how it is being asked.  You'll also learn the uniquely American elements of the test, which will reduce your international disadvantage.  And that's how you get correct answers.

Don't bank on your own knowledge.  Find a good prep course, take it, and then head to Heathrow.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Top ten student life hacks

Save time and money with our Uni-versal Top 10 Student Hacks and a 9 month Student Broadband Deal from Virgin Media
Uni-Versal Tips | Top Ten Student Life Hacks

Monday, 29 July 2013

Drop Everything for the Summer? That's Not Possible...Is it?

These are (probably) the last years that you can throw caution to the wind, hop a plane and take a job overseas…just for the summer. It is why even though you’re based in the US, you’re looking at a job posting site based in the UK. As a university student, taking that summer job (or the all-important summer internship) could be the key to unlocking future career opportunities. So how do you do it? How do you make a summer leap possible?

Save Early
As a college student, saving is really hard to do. You need textbooks and class supplies and sometimes you just have to go out to eat somewhere that isn’t the cafeteria just to save your sanity. You’re used to living on a shoestring and thinking of saving as something that you should do later on. Stop it. Save every single penny you can. The more you save, the easier it is going to be for you to be able to afford to travel for that short term job or internship.

Set Up Housing Ahead of Time
If you wait until you hop the pond, finding housing is going to be a nightmare. Start your planning as far in advance as possible. Even a couple of weeks worth of planning is better than none. Two weeks is enough time to track down temporary student housing with roommates or take advantage of summer dormitory availability at schools in the city where you will be working. You might even be able to take advantage of relationships that your own college (whether it’s University of Texas at Dallas or SUNY Plattsburgh) has set up with schools abroad to help get discounted housing rates at sister schools.

Store Your Stuff
If you’re only going to be gone for a week, you can probably leave your stuff where it is. If you’re going to be gone for a few weeks or a couple of months, though, you’re going to want to be using starch based packing materials in your local storage unit to minimize deterioration. The great thing about college towns like Dallas (and others) is that they usually have ridiculously cheap storage options available for students. Store your stuff in a secured storage facility until you get back. That way you don’t have to worry about whether or not it is safe and definitely don’t try to cart it all with you!

Get a Good Travel Rate
Use sites like Kayak and other travel sites geared toward students or that will help you find discounted or student travel rates to help make your airfare easier. The cheaper your tickets across and back, the more money you’ll have to spend while you’re abroad.

Find Other Temporary Expatriates
One of the hardest things about temporary jobs is the loneliness that comes from not wanting to get attached to people you’ll have to leave in just a few weeks. Luckily, finding people from home isn’t difficult. There are thousands of Americans living and taking extended trips abroad who are happy to “adopt” students like yourself who are having a hard time dealing with home-sickness and who need a taste of home sometimes. Sometimes just hearing that familiar Texan twang is enough to cheer you up!

Have you had experience traveling for internships or short term jobs as a student? What were some of the things you did to smooth out your experience?

How to Use a Religious Degree

You may know a student that has chosen to major in religious studies, and the first thing that goes through your mind is one question.

What does someone do with a degree in religious studies?

The answer to that question isn’t specific. It can have many answers. An increasing number of students are taking religious-studies degrees and putting them to use in fields like social work. Some students may travel overseas and work in underdeveloped countries, learning more about that country’s religion and how it applies to the student’s field of study.

Christian universities offer religious studies degrees in various forms, both related and unrelated to the church. A common misconception, if you go to a Christian school, is that you have to become a minister or a pastor at a church – in a sense, give your life over to God and forsake everything else, much like a priest or a nun.
That application, while it is sometimes true, is only part of the picture.
There are many students that choose to take religious studies as part of a liberal-arts background. Let us take a look at some of the areas where studying religion can provide a solid base.

Non-profit organizations
Many churches and religions teach giving back to the community, whether it involves tithing your income to the church or volunteering your services at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or other place of business.
Having a religious-studies background can help you understand how certain groups approach the church and its role in the community. These non-profit organizations may also have worldwide ties like fighting hunger in third world areas. By helping out in these areas you are exposed to different and diverse religions and cultures.

Writing about religion
Journalism or English majors may take religious-studies courses to learn about various religious backgrounds and practices. Any journalist can write his or her way through an article on a specific religion or church, but it helps if you have knowledge of the particular subject.
Not many newspapers or magazines employ basic religion writers, but those that have a strong background in the church will have more of an understanding of the subjects that they write about on a daily basis.

Government and religion
Believe it or not, government can play a role in religion. We are not talking about church and state issues here. Instead, governments need to be aware how human cultures are different in each country. What is acceptable in one country may not be in another.
This is where someone adept in religious studies can fit in nicely. If you have studied various backgrounds and what can be offensive to some religions, you could instruct higher-ups in your government to avoid certain topics.

Many religious students have taken degrees in their field and used them to minister in a different way. People who have social or psychological issues are often helped by social workers or counsellors that can steer patients in the right direction.

There is nothing more satisfying than helping someone overcome issues relating to themselves like drug abuse, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and other topics. While you are not instructing them to turn to God for advice, you are helping them to realize that people do care about their plight.

Religious degrees aren’t just meant for people to go to church anymore. They have many uses ranging from government to retail to social work to education, and pretty much everything in between.

The next time you are stuck on undecided, pick up a book and learn a little bit about religion.

You might be surprised at how it applies to everyday life.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

1-in-4 Graduates Plan on Becoming an Entrepreneur

As The Apprentice closes for another year, thousands of new graduates are entering the tough world of business for themselves.

With graduate unemployment rates remaining high at 8.6% (HECSU), a recent survey by Save the Graduate reveals that 26% of this year’s graduates are ‘seriously considering’ working for themselves, up 15% on last year.

Students at The University of Manchester are the most enterprising in 2013, and one Manchester graduate shared their reasons for going solo:
“I've applied for hundreds of jobs, but with no real response from employers I've concluded that the current job market is just too saturated with graduates and degrees don't mean as much these days. So I may as well try and make my own way”.

The growth in graduate entrepreneurs could be pinned against many factors, from popular TV programmes like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den to government initiatives.  The reality of high job competition is also deflating the once optimistic career aspirations of graduates.
23% of those surveyed cited high job competition as a major challenge to landing a job, with 18% also saying a lack of experience is a significant barrier.

Overall, the average 2013 graduate expects to achieve a starting salary of just £17,600pa, with 15% setting their sights below £12,000pa and 63% considering an unpaid internship in a bid to get a toe on the career ladder.
With the traditional employment path still rocky, the alternative route of starting a business in a cultural and economic climate which increasingly supports entrepreneurs is tempting for many new graduates.

Owen Burek, a recent graduate and founder of Save the Graduate comments:
“The Class of 2013 appear to be more entrepreneurial than ever, which can only be a good thing in a stalled economy. Entrepreneurs have traditionally been the underdogs who bypassed higher education to make their millions, but I believe that we will see more and more young entrepreneurs passing through our universities due to circumstance coupled with wider support. 
I started my own business in a university business incubator, and there’s been a noticeable growth in entrepreneur societies and enterprise events across UK universities in recent years, all of which encourage students to consider this viable path once they graduate”.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

How to avoid recruiting second-best for higher level positions

You may be able to get away with second-best employees at lower level positions in your company, but if you do the same at executive, high-level positions that demand intellectual thinking and fast decision making, the results are going to show in the annual revenue reports of your company.

In this case, working with a recruiter can save you a lot of time and money, and you’re likely to connect with the best out there in your industry. For example, if you're in the business of gambling - a casino recruiter can help you find that perfect candidate for such a position. Online specialists can look to a digital marketing recruiter. Wall Street and stock market companies can search for stock market recruiters – you’ll find recruiters available for almost every industry.

While most of the work will be done by the recruiter, you can optimize the process of search and make it more productive through these tips:

1.  Give unlimited information to the recruiter
Unlimited means you should give as much information as there’s to give about the job description. You’ll need to craft a compelling copy of the description, pointing out the exceptional qualities, skills and expertise that you’re looking for. Be passionate about the information you give out so that the recruiter knows that second-best won’t cut it for you.
When recruiters have all the necessary information, they’ll be easily able to say sorry to second-best candidates and shuffle through to find the best one and tell them why your company’s position will be a great decision for their careers.

2.  Don’t give second thoughts, later
Recruiters are going to be efficient in their search only if you’re efficient in your input and feedback. Both of you want the process to go ahead as soon as possible, so you’ll have to play your part and prevent second-thoughts from coming to your mind.
This means you should be sure about the high-level positions that are vacant. You should also be prepared to give timely answers to potential candidate questions and provide quick feedback to the recruiter about different candidates throughout. It’s quite important that you provide honest feedback and point out in case of even the slightest hesitation.

3.  Be upfront about the selection/screening requirements
Remember, recruiters are searching for the best and finding the best isn’t an easy process, even for them. You may be saving your time and energy by searching through a recruiter, but you should play responsible and save their time and energy as well.
You can do this by being upfront about the selection process. If you have a list of specific questions that candidates have to answer related to top-level positions, make sure you jot down a list and hand over to the recruiter. You can’t just assume that the recruiter’s screening process will include all such questions.

4.  Explain your company’s culture
Give the recruiter an insight on the culture of your company. The recruiter may not find it difficult to select the best on paper, but he/she needs to make sure that the candidate will be able to adapt to the culture instantly as it’s an executive level position.

You can tell the recruiter what’s acceptable at the company and what type of behaviour can be seen as second best.

In the end, build a long term relationship with the recruiter fill top-level positions with the best talent. It’s also wise to stick to a single recruiter for the process because if you go with several recruiters, you may end up with second-best.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Credit cards – good or bad?

clip_image002Managing your money is an invaluable life skill which probably starts in earnest when you head off to uni, and then again when you land your first job. You’ll probably find that all the banks will be bending over backwards to offer you a credit card because you are their ‘target market’! If you are going to take up their offer for this valuable piece of plastic, you’d be wise to compare credit cards before leaping at the first offer.

Credit cards offer many benefits including, as one slogan once said, they “take the waiting out of wanting”. But is that a good thing? What happened to the good old fashioned way of saving up for something before actually buying it?

The reality is that we live in a fast-paced commercial world where developing a good credit history will actually be a positive thing. If you have no track record of managing your finances, including credit, you won’t be able to develop and good credit score and that might affect being able to borrow money in the future.

Having a credit card and using it wisely helps to show that you can manage your money sensibly. For their part, banks try to be transparent and there is plenty of information available on top credit cards so you can see which are the most popular and what exactly they offer.

So how do credit cards actually work? Well, with that piece of plastic comes a credit limit, for example £500. That means you can go straight out and spend £500 just by handing over your shiny new credit card. You then get a statement telling you how much you have spent using your card and when you need to make payments to repay the debt. If you pay it all back by the first monthly deadline then you pay no interest. (This is the best option!) The alternative is to pay it back month by month and interest is added to the outstanding amount.

As a graduate when you get a job and have a regular monthly income, monthly repayments are quite doable. As a student, whilst it’s tempting to rush to the shops and buy all those (non-essentials) you have craved, just put your sensible hat on for a moment and think about where the repayments are going to come from.

Credit cards are both good and bad – it really depends on whose wallet/purse they are in!

Accountancy Career Guide - What Route Could You Take?

Thinking of an accountancy career? This handy infographic maps out the path to getting into a career in accountancy and gives a clear and concise overview of what you need to pursue in order to work in different areas.

A guide through your career from accountancy qualifications to becoming chartered - An infographic by the team at

Thursday, 6 June 2013

4 in 5 students constantly worry about money

According to a new survey, nearly 80% of current university students are worried about having enough money to live.

The associated stress appears to be having a knock-on effect on broader student welfare too, with over
one-half of those surveyed claiming that money issues affect their academic studies and more than two-thirds admitting that their diet suffers due to a lack of money.

The nationwide survey, carried out by Save the Student on 2,332 undergraduate students, also revealed that the average monthly student spend has increased by 11.2% compared to the equivalent 2012 survey.

Significantly higher rental prices are the main culprit, and in response it is clear that students are becoming much more cost conscious when it comes to 'luxuries'. Most notably, spend on socialising has almost halved from £120 a month in 2012 to just £61 a month this year.

Securing a part-time job is still the most popular way that students look to alleviate their money troubles, with two-thirds currently holding a part-time role or looking for one.

The most surprising statistic revealed by the survey however, is that 1 in 5 students have turned to gambling as a way to make money, and 1 in 4 admit that they would consider selling their body for medical trials or in the adult entertainment industry.

Over one-half of all students rely heavily on their parents for financial support, despite nearly two-thirds also claiming that they feel their parents don't help them enough. Only 8% would turn to their university in a financial emergency, preferring a trip to their bank.

Jake Butler, editor of Save the Student, comments:

“It's clear that now, more than ever before, students require much more in the way of support, awareness and wider education when it comes to personal finance. Maintenance loans only go so far to cover the rising cost of living. It's also important that students are made aware that support is there for those who really need it, for example in the form of university grants and funds and through advice portals like ourselves.

It really does concern me when we see how much worry and stress money issues are causing, when after all students should be focusing 100% on their studies.”

The results show that a lack of money is a cause for worry across the entire student population, with very little difference between the genders or indeed between first years (who are under the new student finance system) and other years. It will be interesting to see what happens in next year's survey.

Monday, 13 May 2013

A student's guide to car buying

Money is tight when you're a student, and we all know that loan day is a short lived celebration. Budgeting for big purchases can be a challenge when you're living on a student's shoestring budget, but getting a good price is possible if you know where to look. In this student's guide to car buying we prove that you can make a big investment, even on a student's budget!


It may be an alien concept to many students, but saving whilst you're still at university is a great way to start
preparing for after you've graduated. If you've got a big purchase in mind, like a car, for example, you can set yourself some monthly goals. We know this can be tough when there's essentials like beer and beans to buy, but you should set yourself up a savings account to make sure you divide the money up each month.

Saving for a car isn't as big of a challenge as it might sound, and you can get an affordable but reliable car for around £1000 or less. Setting yourself a realistic monthly goal will make your money easier to keep track of, and, for those of you with part-time jobs, you'll be able to allocate a portion of your monthly wage to your savings pot.

To make things a little easier, you could write up a breakdown of your current monthly spend in order to see where you can cut down on costs or cut them out completely.

Where to buy from

Second-hand cars are the best options for students, but you have to be careful when it comes to buying used cars, whether you're buying online, from a dealer, or from a private seller.


Make sure you check the vehicle's V5C registration certificate and the car's service history. You'll need to make sure that the registration number matches the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Check the service history book to ensure that the vehicle has been maintained and serviced regularly. You should also double check that the mileage listed on the service history matches the mileage displayed in the car.

HPI check

A HPI check is something which you can do online in order to check that the car has no outstanding finance and has never been in an accident. A HPI check will cost you a few pounds online, but it'll be worthwhile spending the money in the long run.


Make sure you check the vehicle's MOT certificates. You're able to check computerised MOT certificates online at Remember that an MOT certificate confirms that a car is roadworthy, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's a good investment. You should also take a look under the bonnet to make sure everything is in order, but if you don't know your dipstick from your engine coolant, you should take someone who does with you.

Test drive

You should take any car you're thinking about buying for a test drive before handing any money over. This applies even when you're buying online, so make sure you only look at cars close enough to visit.

Ask questions!

Finally, make sure you ask lots of questions! This applies more to private sales, but if they seem reluctant to answer your questions, give it a miss. Ask everything you need to know before handing any money over, and make sure you know what legal protection you're entitled to, whether buying privately or from a dealer.

This content was provided by the team at the British company helping learner drivers get on the road.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Guide: How to get a get a great profit when selling your technology

We're all guilty of it – keeping hold of that old games console just in case we might want to play on it at some point. Or keeping those old mobile phones just in case that shiny new one breaks, as well as the back up. Eventually though there comes a time when you have to have a clear out – but how do you even begin to look?

There are so many ways to get cash for your old gadgets, you just have to decide which way works best for you. Let's face it, we all want a quick and easy way to make a few extra pounds, so however you do it needs to be simple and cost effective. Luckily for you we have written this all inclusive guide comparing the pros and cons of the best ways to do it. You're welcome.

Recycling – the green way

Mobile phone recycling companies are another brilliant way to get rid of old gadgets. They will provide you with a quote for the value of your phone depending on its model and condition, send you a package to post it off in and payment is given by the company when they receive your phone in full working order. Simple. Recyclers offer working and non-working prices for your handsets so it's worth checking them out.

The best thing to do is use comparison sites like which show you the most impressive deals from the most reliable recyclers, so you can get an idea of what your phone is worth.

  • This is super fast – you could get paid as soon as two days after placing your order
  • It's free to post
  • It's simple
  • There are lots of different ways to get paid so you can pick what is right for you
  • You can sell your broken devices (unless they are water damaged or destroyed)
  • If it is massively damaged (e.g. a smashed screen) you won't get as much money
  • eBay or ads can sometimes get you more money, but you won't get the same service!
  • High value items are always worth upgrading to Royal Mail Special Delivery – so that it's insured and you can track it all the way!
Selling on eBay


Ebay is probably the first site that springs to mind when you're looking for a quick way to make extra cash. Sites like this are a great way of selling your old technology. Users can quickly join up and list their gadgets, and you can choose to sell for whatever price you want.
However, you need to be aware of both sides of eBay and work out how much money you will actually make:

  • Bidding wars can boost the end price
  • Time scales can be set for your sales
  • You can sell your broken phones - some people will want them for parts to fix their
  • You can decide on the value you want for your item
  • Fees. Yes, make sure you read the small print. Listing fees can really take a chunk of your money.
  • Your item will not always sell.
  • Be aware of scam emails posing as eBay – never enter personal details to anywhere except for the official eBay site.
  • Be aware of scam emails posing as PayPal. Always log in to your PayPal account through the proper website to check your details.
Selling on free ad websites

Everyone loves having a little look online once in a while to see what they can get in their area, so classified ad sites can be brilliant for selling your gadgets. You can advertise on sites like Preloved or Gumtree for free by simply joining up and writing the details of the item you are trying to sell.

  • Like eBay – you can decide how much you want to charge
  • It is free as long as you don't want a super swanky advert
  • You can arrange a time and place that suits you to get your cash and hand over your gadget
  • Prepare for negotiation – people might be looking for a bargain
  • Beware of scam emails pretending they are the website
  • Beware again for scam emails posing as PayPal
  • Be careful of where you are meeting people – at the end of the day you have no idea who they are, take a friend
  • Don't post before you get paid – check your online banking or PayPal first

It's always best to consider your options, so first things first – check how much your phone could be worth for free on This is a great place to start to get a good idea of how much your phone is worth, even if you do decide to go with another option. Happy selling!