Preparation for Higher Education :: :: 2016-17

 <01___cover.jpg> Completion of the Preparation for Higher Education materials is a requirement of the programme and condition for your progression to further study. 

Your college tutor will keep you right in terms of when you should work through each exercise, but you can also
use the chronological list below to make sure you are completing each exercise in good time. 

Ultimately, you are responsible for ensuring that you have completed this unit.

Some Prep for HE exercises may be completed online (where indicated). Others may be downloaded and completed electronically (or printed out and completed by hand). If you download an exercise to complete it, instead of completing it online, you should then complete the Study Diary entry for that exercise, to create a consistent digital record of your Prep for HE activities.

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Sep  |  Oct  |  Nov  |  Dec  |  Jan  |  Feb  |  Mar  |  Apr  |  May  |  Jun


SWAP Preparation for Higher Education (PHE): 


 <mahara_logo_copy.jpg> If you wish to use Mahara, you must first speak with your class tutor. Your college may have its own version of Mahara that your tutor will prefer you to use, instead of using the SWAP version.

For more information about using  Mahara to showcase your completed Prep for HE, click here.

SWAP Preparation for Higher Education (PHE):

Below you will find a list of the basic Prep for HE exercises (23 in total) that should be completed between September and June.

These exercises are arranged in suggested chronological order; however, you may complete them in any sequence you wish.

You must be able to show evidence of completion. Some of the exercises below may be completed online OR you may download them and complete them offline. You do not need to do both!

If you complete exercises offline, however, you should complete the corresponding Study Diary entry online using the links provided.

Any questions about Prep for HE should be directed to your college guidance tutor or to SWAPWest on 0141 564 7206.

EARLY SEPTEMBER: <september2.jpg>

PHE01 - Taking Stock: Part 1
An introduction to reflection aimed at helping you to identify areas of strength (and interest) and areas that need development.

Options for completion:


PHE02 - Study Diary - Early September

Study diary exercises are designed to help you reflect on your learning and strategise for the future. You will complete entries in your study diary regularly throughout the year. Options: 



PHE03 - Study Skills: How do you study? 
To be successful in higher education, it is important to develop strategies for good time management, meeting multiple deadlines and avoiding procrastination. These exercises will help you think about where you stand on these issues, and what you should do next.

Options for completion: 


PHE04 - Study Diary (early Oct)
To get the most out of your year in college, you should cultivate the practice of reflection, which can be done regularly throughout the year by keeping up with your Study Diary entries.

Options for completion:


For students on ACCESS TO MEDICAL STUDIES only:

MEDICAL STUDIES - UCAS Application Guide

MEDICAL STUDIES: Personal Statement

For students on the Access to Medical Studies programme only.
UCAS deadline is October 15th. 




**** NB: Don't race too far ahead in completing your Prep for HE exercises. Exercises are spaced out to give you time to gain more experience and develop your understanding between one entry and the next. **** 

PHE05 - Taking Stock: Part 2
Your guidance tutor will soon be prompting you to begin thinking about applying to university. The deadline for applications isn't until January, but your application will need to be ready to go by mid-December. Now is the time to start thinking through your options. This 'Taking Stock' workbook will help you do that. Options: 


UCAS 2016-17  <ucas_logo.jpg>

To get the current SWAP "buzzword" and to ensure that you apply to university correctly as a SWAP student, please download and view the Power Point presentation linked below, then download the UCAS Application Guide (Word document) also linked below, print it out and keep it nearby when you begin the process of registering for UCAS and completing your application.

                   ~ and also ~ download the following:

      Complete the exercise on page 12 of the above Personal      
      Statement booklet (above), then download these guidance notes to
      go over your answers 

      UCAS Guidance for Personal Statement (external link)
      Visit the official UCAS web site to get more help and support in 
      making your application to university.

      UCAS Flow Chart
      This chart outlines the UCAS application process.

 <youtube_logo_square_png_i6.png> UCAS for SWAP Students [VIDEOS]

Course Codes:

Please bear in mind that some subjects (e.g. psychology) are offered across a number of different "schools" or "colleges" or "faculties" within a university, and it is your responsibility to identify the correct code for the course to which you wish to progress from your programme.


If you input the wrong code on UCAS, you will receive a rejection from the university, and there is nothing anyone can do to correct your mistake at that point.

Read the above guides carefully, watch the videos provided, and DO YOUR RESEARCH to avoid making a mistake that may have long-reaching consequences for your future plans in education.



NB: The Study Diary for UCAS & Personal Statement should be completed after the application and statement have been completed via UCAS (around the end of November or early December). See 'Late November' section below for the link. 


  •  PHE08a - Reading Skills  (download Word document and complete offline, then complete the Study Diary entry below)

There are some major differences between reading for pleasure and reading for academic work.
When you progress to higher education, you will find that the reading lists get quite a bit longer than any you may have been given at college.  

You may also be surprised to learn that it is often up to you to decide which 5-10 sources to select from a much longer list.  The aim of the
Reading Skills workbook is to help you develop a reading strategy, to become more adept at choosing your sources and to learn to read with a focus.

This is one of the most important skills to develop for university-level study, so don't stop with this workbook; ask your tutor for more information about choosing and using academic sources for uni.

PHE09 - Study Diary (Early Nov)
To get the most out of your year in college, you should cultivate the practice of reflection, which can be done regularly throughout the year by keeping up with your Study Diary entries.

Options for completion:
Also in November:

- SWAP + Universities' Guidance & Info Day

The purpose of this event is for you to meet with university representatives and former SWAP students to find out more about the courses on offer before you have to finalise your UCAS Application and Personal Statement.

The event will be held on Friday, November 25th in the Hamish Wood Building (Room W101) on the campus of Glasgow Caledonian University, and is set to run from 10:00-14:00 on a drop-in basis.

The following university partners will be represented on the day:

  • Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of the West of Scotland (UWS)

You do not need to register
to attend this event, but you should make a record of your attendance via a Study Diary entry, as it counts as part of your Preparation for Higher Education (Prep for HE) unit.


This is important:
At this time of the year, you should concentrate on thoroughly researching your university choices (using the Prep for HE exercises above and any other resources offered by your college guidance team). You must also devote plenty of time to crafting the best Personal Statement you can produce.

As stipulated in your SWAP Learner Agreement, which you received at your SWAP induction, you must ensure that you have used all 5 choices on your UCAS application and that you have applied across multiple university partners. You should also check to ensure that your options require a range of entry qualifications, if possible (e.g. avoid choosing five courses that all ask for the same profile grades).

You must email the SWAPWest office with an explanation if:
  • You plan to use fewer than 5 choices*
  • You plan to apply to only one university partner
  • You play to apply to a university outwith the SWAPWest Partnership
* Exceptions to this rule are made for Access to Nursing students whose options are limited by the number of universities offering nursing courses. Your backup plan would be HNC/D in Social Care or Health Care, or similar. All other Access routes with limited university options (e.g. primary education, social work, optometry, etc.) should select a range of backup options from the available progression routes. Speak to your class tutor or contact the SWAPWest office if you require assistance.

In your email, you must provide:
  • Your college name, class name and guidance tutor name
  • A complete list of your UCAS choices (course codes, uni names and entry requirements)
  • Your reasons for applying as above

 <december2.jpg> * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Finish your Personal Statement and UCAS application, and submit it to your college guidance tutor before the college's deadline (usually by 2nd week Dec)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What happens to my UCAS Application? 
After your UCAS Application is complete and you've paid the UCAS fee (£24 in 2016-17), your named referee (usually your class tutor) will be notified so that s/he can supply a reference in support of your application. Final checks will be made by the college, and then the application will be forwarded to UCAS. Check with your class tutor for confirmation. The universities on your list will each receive a copy of the application for consideration, and you will begin receiving responses in due course (usually by March/April). A full explanation of this process can be found in the Prep for HE UCAS Application Guide and on the UCAS web site.

Also in Early December: 
Once your UCAS application is done, you may want to dive back into the study skills elements of your Prep for HE, beginning with: 

Study Skills: Academic Writing 

What's the difference between ordinary writing and academic writing? Use this guide to find out.

Of primary interest to students on Access to Science / STEM / Health programmes. Optional for everyone else. 

JANUARY:  <january2.jpg>
PHE12 - Study Diary - January

PHE13 - Presentation Skills (download Word doc)
This is another very useful section of Prep for HE for anyone who hopes to do well at university. Depending upon your career path, you may be called upon to speak in meetings, deliver information to clients, customers, patients, students -- or to make presentations to work colleagues.  

In any case, you almost certainly will be required to give short presentations to your classmates in university, so it's worthwhile learning a few tips and techniques and practicing your skills at college first. Many of the new Curriculum for Excellence units allow you to choose the format of your assessments; if this is offered to you, consider making the choice to do a presentation in order to hone this important skill.

FEBRUARY:  <february2.jpg>

PHE14 - Study Skills: Academic Referencing

Former SWAP students always tell us that the one thing they wish they had spent more time learning about before moving on to university is academic referencing. 






You get the picture...

Although you may not be required to provide academic references for all of your written work at college, you should heed the advice of those who have gone before you and do as much as you can to prepare yourself for university-level written assignments. You can do that by completing this Prep for HE workbook first of all, and by providing references for any written work you may be asked to submit for college (even if it's not strictly required). Check with your college's learning support team for additional information and help with referencing, too.

PHE15 - Study Skills: Critical Thinking

What's wrong with Irn-Bru? What happened to poor Laika the Soviet space dog? How many uses can you think of for a common paper clip? Complete the Study Skills: Critical Thinking workbook to learn more about this essential skill for success in higher education. 

MARCH:  <march2.jpg>

PHE16 - Listening Skills and Preparing for Lectures

It may seem a bit odd to "practise" listening, but anyone who has attended a 50-minute+ lecture will tell you that there's more skill required than you might think!  This workbook is designed to help you think through the challenges of taking in information (and making good notes) from the spoken word, and will help you to develop strategies to help you make the most of your time in university lectures.

APRIL:  <april2.jpg>

Rote memorisation isn't the best way to learn; in fact, it's hardly "learning" at all! That doesn't mean it isn't useful, however. If your academic work will require memorisation (lists of facts, dates, etc.) you may find this guide handy for developing useful techniques. 

PHE18 - Managing Your Finances
You have nearly made it to the end of the year and you've survived on a college bursary, a part-time job and/or support from other sources. How will you cope at university? What sort of financial help is available? This guide will help you get started. 

PHE19 - Study Diary - April

Replying to UCAS Offers 

By the end of April or early May it is likely that you'll have had a response from most (if not all) of the universities to which you have applied. Once you've heard back from your fifth (or final) choice, you must then log in to UCAS once more to reply to your offers. Consult the UCAS Application Guide (Page 7) for and visit the UCAS web site for more information, keeping in mind the dates below: 


As you near the end of your programme, you will have had plenty of feedback from your college tutors across all of your subjects. Perhaps you were given a second chance to pass an assessment, or informal feedback on your work before you handed it in to be marked. Will it be the same next year?

Everything goes up a step when you move on to HN or degree-level study, including the weight of marked work such as essays, reports and exams. Use this guide to learn more about what to expect at university and how best to use the feedback you receive

PHE21 - Taking Stock - Part 3  (complete online)

PHE21 - Taking Stock - Part 3 (download Word document)

This is the last of the Preparation for Higher Education "Taking Stock" exercises. It is designed to help you check your understanding of Higher Education terms and concepts, as well as to ensure that you know how to handle some of the typical challenges of first year at university.  It's a good opportunity to ensure that you know what you need to know to make a smooth transition to university next September.

PHE22 - Study Diary - May 

 This is your final Study Diary entry for the academic year. Take time to reflect on your successes this year, and plan ahead to ensure your success in your next steps.


PHE23 - What Happens Next?
Now that you're not required to report to college every day, you have time to think and, perhaps, to wonder what is going on with your application. This chart explains the processes that are going on from mid-June until late-August, and what you can expect in terms of hearing from your chosen university. 



* If you wish to use Mahara e-portfolio software to evidence completion of Prep for HE, you must consult with your class tutor in the first instance. Although SWAPWest have an instance of Mahara available for use, your own college may have its own, which is connected to your Moodle VLE. Ask your tutor before requesting membership to the SWAP Mahara.

* Anti-Spam Step:
  If you wish to use the SWAP Mahara (instead of your college's own version), please ask your class tutor for the SWAP Mahara code required to register. College tutors can get the code from the SWAPWest office by calling 0141 564 7206 or emailing.

* Download the document from the link below and FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS for registering. Registrations received without the required information will be rejected.

How to use Mahara to evidence completion of Prep for HE 


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