Have you got 101 questions you want to ask us? Well hopefully you can get some answers here!! Engineering or University questions, we have the answers. Can't find what your looking for then e-mail us or alternatively write on the REACT Foundation Facebook page

Frequently Asked Questions

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A1. Engineers are professional problem-solvers. Using Maths and Science along with skills in communications, critical thinking, and a management to find practical solutions that will aide people or society. Engineers can design, improve, build and invent anything from heart valves and microchips to skyscrapers and space shuttles.

PhysicsA2. Yes - Engineers do need to be good at maths as it is applied to a number of different engineering issues. A Level in Physics (or equivalent) is usually required for university engineering courses, and a good understanding of Maths and Physics concepts is the basis for many engineering solutions.

The good news is that whatever your interests at school, there is probably a branch of engineering that will match your desires and interests. (Biological, Chemical, Aeronautical, Electrical, Civil, Systems, Nuclear and Agricultural are all different types of engineering.)

There are also plenty of routes into engineering - such as apprenticeships and vocational schemes - that focus more on your experience of practical problem-solving.

A3. Nowadays being a graduate is no guarantee of a higher wage, but in general graduates do go on to earn more throughout their professional life. However, graduates also incur debt during their studies which may take a few years to pay off after graduation. One way to overcome this is to get onto a Bursary while you study, often in return for you agreeing to work for that company for a period of time. (REACT Foundation has its own bursary fund, check it out.)

If you decide not to go to University, taking up an industry apprenticeship straight from school carries the advantage that you can earn a salary from day one, while you are training. And the Vocational training that you receive during an apprenticeship can lead to a good wage as an engineering technician.

A4. Absolutely not! Year-on-year the number of women working as engineers is increasing, as the range of career options available in design, television, mobile phones, medicine, materials, civil engineering and construction and more expands. (REACT Engineering Limited employs a number of highly trained and skilled female engineers.)

A5. Do you want to get your hand dirty? Engineering is an umbrella term used for many different industries, the different jobs can include on-site, and practical construction work, or it might mean evaluating documents from the comfort of your office.

A6. Engineers work in lots of different places. Some work in large companies, while others own their own small firms. Engineers are employed at manufacturing plants, hospitals, research labs, construction sites, and "regular" business offices.

A7. An engineering degree is a good preparation for many different careers - especially ones that require problem solving skills. There are several engineers who have chosen to become doctors, lawyers, bankers or business managers as well as traditional engineers.

A8. Everyone needs a social life, including engineers. They work hard, but have families and friends just like everyone else.

A9. Attributes to be a successful engineer.....Enjoy working in a team, Enjoy a challenge, good communicator, good organisational skills, motivated and a good problem solving.

A1. University provides many benefits for the individual, including enhanced career prospects and often increased earning potential, as well as wider cultural, social and economic benefits. The Aimhigher website gives an overview of some of these benefits.www.aimhigher.ac.uk

UCASA2. Applications for admission to full time undergraduate courses are handled by the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Currently, students can apply to five institutions and courses. These universities then decide whether to make an offer to the applicant, usually conditional on achieving specified grades and/or number of points in forthcoming examinations. If the offers made by universities are conditional, an applicant may accept two offers, of which one is their firm (or first) choice and the other, usually with lower conditions attached, is their insurance choice. Applicants who receive no offers or who choose to decline all the offers they receive can elect to enter the UCAS EXTRA system from late February. Applicants who apply after 30 June, or who hold no offers after that date can enter the clearing system. This operates once examination results are known. Similarly candidates whose results do not match their offers can enter the clearing process.

Clearing matches appropriately qualified students with those universities and colleges who have places available.

More extensive information on how and when to apply for undergraduate courses and clearing is available on the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website.
UCAS website: http://www.ucas.ac.uk/
If you are interested in a part-time course you will need to contact universities individually to find out how to apply.

A3. Individual universities publish their own prospectuses. For undergraduate study - the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) publishes an annual comprehensive guide to undergraduate courses in the UK, available both in hard copy and on their website. The Education UK website also contains a complete UK undergraduate course database.

A4. The choice of universities that you apply for can be made because of a number of reasons; these include reputation for good teaching, social life, the location, close to family, friends, good sports facilities, bursaries and many more.

To find out which universities are good at Engineering, The Guardian has ranked them. They are ranked on teachers to pupil's ratio; student satisfaction and money spent on each student.  This can be found on http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/universityguide. But this shouldn't just sway your opinion, open days can give you a real insight into the university and help you make your mind up.

A5. For details about recognised UK higher education bodies please see the list on the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills website at www.dcsf.gov.uk/recognisedukdegrees

A6. Yes, it's your personal choice when you want to go to university. Many find it easier taking a year out to save up money before they go to university to help them through it. There are other things to do then just getting a job there are many schemes that help students get work experience and save money for university. You can also go travelling, many people say that going travelling before or straight after university is the best chance to get away. As when you get a job it can be hard to get time off work.  To find out more look at the Year in Industry website: http://www.yini.org.uk/ or for traveling look at the STA website http://www.statravel.co.uk/

A7. Your timetable changes each term (or as its known at university a semester) so the actual number of lectures varies but usually on average its 23 hours a week. This isn't 24 hours spent in lectures but also doing seminars and practical work. If you regularly miss lectures you run the risk of falling behind very quickly as the pace at university tends to be very quick compared to school.

A8. University in not just about working, socialising is a massive part of university life as well. You will instantly make friends at university, be it your flat mates or course mates. You can also join societies which are really good fun and include a lot of people who are in enthusiastic about their society. Sports is a massive part of university life, with most universities giving Wednesday afternoon off to participate in sports. There is never a dull moment at university.

A9. Getting thrown into a hall or flat full of strangers can be quite daunting but at the same time it can be the most exciting thing about ‘Freshers' week. It is an easy way of making friends quickly and gives you an initial group to explore the campus/area with. 

If you find that you don't want to live with someone you have been placed with then there are always paths in place within University Housing Systems to move to different accommodation. 
On the whole, making friends is much easier in halls than in private accommodation. If you don't enjoy it in your first year you can always find private accommodation from the second year onwards.

A10. If you failed to get into university because you didn't get the grades you needed, then you always have the choice of resits. You will have to contact your school to see if they will put in an application form for an exam resit, you may have to pay towards this. You will then have to revise hard and make sure your ready for the exam, when the exam period comes round. If you failed your University exams you always get a second chance, except in your final year, to resit them at the end of summer.

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