British Pentathlon - Performance

Educational Choices

Plotting a course for your future

Thumbing through University prospectuses and toying with the idea of starting that UCAS form, or deciding which of your offers to take up after having already applied? With some of you facing the prospect of your first AS exams and others looking ahead to your A2?s and others maybe completing units of BTEC or HND courses, your attentions may well have turned to such matters. Choosing a course and where to study can often be a confusing process, so this short article will hopefully give you more of an insight into making the right choices for you and your sport.

The main reasons for students dropping out of courses include: the wrong course choice, a lack of money, unsatisfactory location and social environment, and the inability to cope with the combination of their life?s demands. Consequently, it is important you make the right choice that addresses all these issues, plus importantly for you, a choice that will enable you to progress in your sport. In order to get you started, here are a few pointers that may be useful:

  • Speak to your coach and/or contact the MPAGB. They may have key information on where to receive the best technical coaching and facilities (i.e. Bath, Hartpury) and hence define an area in which to study.
  • Think carefully about a course that would compliment your academic strengths and interests. If you?re having trouble deciding, go online to UCAS and complete the Stamford Test. This certainly won?t give you all the answers but complete it with an open mind and simply ask why the test has suggested certain courses. They may point you in the right direction.
  • Other course information can be found @:
  • Look at the QAA rating for courses on the UCAS website. This will give you an objective rating of the course and teaching quality (21 or above is excellent).
  • Organise some relevant work experience if you?re time permits, it always looks great on applications and future CV?s. If not, identify companies that may be of interest to you and ask their HR departments what qualifications they look for.
  • Visit Universities of interest and get a feel for both the campus and the town/city. Ideally speak to another athlete who has studied at the University before. Remember, as an athlete, the availability of peaceful accommodation and nutritious food is more important to know than the price of a pint!
  • Contact the Director of Sport orthe Course/Admissions tutor to discuss the possibilities of flexible study and the opportunities, such as scholarships, available to an elite athlete studying at their institution. Being proactive and displaying forward thinking can ultimately be very effective in progressing your application.
  • Explore the possibilities of flexible entry requirements but treat these with caution ? these have been set for a reason so make sure you could cope with the demands of a challenging course.
  • Find out more about financing your education and experiencing general student life @:



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