Monday, June 13, 2011


1. have a quick chat with Mrs Blackborow to get you started - any time.
2. Regular drop-in and advice sessions throughout September
3. This blog - regularly updated 4.
Help with your personal statement - read the guide, write the draft, then email to Mrs Blackborow who will edit it down for you
5. Mock interview for all those invited for interview - let me know the date as soon as you hear.


Typically, you will find courses under the following headings:
Film and Television Studies - academic/ largely theoretical courses
Cultural Studies - academic/largely theoretical courses, strong links with sociology
Communications - academic/largely theoretical courses/strong links with New Media and Cultural/Social Studies
New or interactive media/digital media/multi-media/media technology - practical and theory mix, focus is on interactive/online media and technology
Media/TV/Video Production - largely practical, industry driven courses which include placements and specialised training
Media Arts, Media Design - highly creative content, strong links with Art + design
Journalism/Broadcast Journalism - practical and theoretical mix, industry driven courses with strong focus on specialised training and industrial placements
Advertising/PR/Marketing - academic and theory mix, focus on specialised training and placements. You may be better specialising later on as there are some issues with these kinds of courses

A different approach is recommended for those of you applying for theory courses as opposed to practical. Theory courses - you have more time to apply, you don't need a showreel, they interview less and are looking for a different set of skills evidenced in your application. They are still very competitive but the process is more standard and less specialised.


1. Try out the links here to different courses and information about them. Have a good read of the specific detail or the courses on the websites - if you like the sound of the detail of the course, then take your research further. The course content should inspire you! If it doesn't, don't go any further. You should be aiming to prepare a short list of courses. In September you can meet with Mrs Blackborow to discuss your choices.
2.Think about your future, where you see yourself in the industry and possible careers opportunities out there. The articles linked on this blog should help you think about this.
3. Register on UCAS - there is specific school guidance on how to do this and Ms Daly is in charge of this process
4. Check your predicted grades in Sept - probably the same as your AS grades - and see whether it looks as if you will be qualified for the courses to which you want to apply
5. Draft out a personal statement, using the guidance, the past examples linked to this blog and on the M drive. Fill in your UCAS form bit by bit and get clued-up on what you need to provide for your application to be sent off successfully. All the information is in the UCAS portal on the intranet. If applying to Bournemouth and other competitive production courses, the later you leave it the less likely you will be to get in. An application by October half term latest is recommended but earlier is ideal. After half-term - these courses fill up quickly and you may not get a look in.
6. Visit the places you want to go to and talk to students about what they think of the courses and facilities. There are ex-Latymer people who have recently graduated or are currently studying on many of the recommended courses that I can put you in touch with via Facebook if you like
7. Put together your DVD portfolio (production courses only). This is known as a showreel and should contain anything relevant that you have done. This would normally include projects completed in Media over the last 2 or 4 years, and any outside film, video or photography work you have done that demonstrates creativity
8. Read around the subject - Media Magazine and Broadcast, for example are both stocked in the Media Department and will help you get up to date with current industry developments and academic debates
9. If you can get some work experience - great, but this is not essential. What is more important is providing evidence of a passion for Media that goes further than just enjoying/doing well at GCSE or A level Media. Presenting yourself as a creative person with initiative and drive is important for many of the production degrees - work experience is helpful but so is having made a film, doing photography or other related creative activity outside school/ in your own time.
10. If you get invited for interview, prepare carefully ie have a mock interview, come to the advice sessions, re-read your personal statement, read/view around the subject area, make sure you have some opinions about tv/film etc that you can discuss. The main universities tackle interviews very differently - Bournemouth interviews are done in a set way, as are Westminster and Lincoln. We can help prepare you in advance depending on where your interview is. Leeds and Lincoln don't interview.

Structuring your personal statement

Paragraph 1: Identify the subject you are applying for and explain why it is important to you. Then talk about Media Studies (mention GCSE but talk about A level mainly), focusing on the following:
  • aspects you have particularly enjoyed, with examples(must relate to your degree choice)
  • how the last 4 years has prepared you to study the subject further
  • what you have gained from studying it - analytical/practical/creative/technical skills etc
Paragraph 2: Lead into anything you have done off your own back, outside school, that is relevant to Media Studies and supports your application. This would include workshops you have been on, extra courses you may have taken, your own creative activities, and work experience/job shadowing etc. If you have lots to say here, be selective and choose the best. If you don't have much, see Miss Blackborow for advice.

Paragraph 3: Lead into discussing your other subjects, demonstrating links and comparisons between all 3 and what you have gained from them, focusing particularly on the skills you have learnt and the benefits gained. You should link these in by identifying how they will support the work you will do on your degree, or in your future, if possible. Find positive examples to illustrate your points. Different subjects help you think in different ways/look at things differently - it is important to recognise the skills/ways of thinking you have gained from your range of subjects.

If it works better for you, the order of paragraphs 2 + 3 can be switched round.

Paragraph 4: Make a link into a discussion of your life in school but outside lessons. Try to show how you have contributed positively to school life (over the last couple of years particularly), aa well as what you have gained. Illustrate with examples, and particularly include evidence of you as:
  • a responsible person, someone who can be relied on
  • someone who has a passion for something and is keen to pass that onto others
  • someone who has wider interests outside their area of study
  • someone who is selfless, keen to put something back
  • someone who is prepared to commit and see something through
This section should include relevant trips, groups or clubs, teams, wider responsibilities. You don't need to cover ALL these bullet points in this section. If you have lots of examples, be selective and include a range to illustrate different aspects of you. If you have very little, big up what you have got, and ask Miss Blackborow for advice. One or two things is plenty if you explain them really well - you may be able to cover a substantial number of the bullet points with just one or two activities.

Paragraph 5: Lead into a discussion of you as a rounded person outside school. This should be about what you are interested in, and what you enjoy outside your main area of interest - media -although some of it may be linked (eg enjoying going to the cinema). Use examples to illustrate your points. It should provide a picture of you as someone who:
  • has interests and is interesting
  • someone who relishes life and what it has to offer
  • someone who is prepared to commit and see something through
  • someone who is prepared to contribute to wider society
  • someone who is prepared to take responsibility
If you have something that makes you quite unique to all the other applicants, put it in here - belonging to a political party, being fluent in another language, winning an award, being a volunteer carer for children with special needs - anything that makes you distinctive. If you are not sure, ask Miss Blackborow for advice.

Paragraph 6: Re-iterate the importance of a successful degree application to you. Explain your intended career moves, and the relevance of this degree to you achieving success in this field. Don't worry about being too precise, there is no expectation that you will know exactly what you want to do. If you are clueless about why you want to study for a particular degree, you must not come across like that - see Miss Blackborow for advice about the kinds of things you could say. Try to identify what you can bring to the universities you are applying to, why they should be interested in you. Finish your personal statement with a really positive final sentence about your passions/enthusiasm/hopes and aspirations.
Don't forget - you will be asked about things you have said in your personal statement at interview. It's fine to 'sex things up' a bit, (everybody does) but don't lie. Remember the embarrassing situations the candidates got into on The Apprentice in recent years? It proves that it's really not worth it.

How to write your personal statement

1. Read lots of examples to help you get a sense of the standard and content they are looking for. You will find them linked to this blog, on the M drive under A2 UCAS and in Mr Wakefield's presentation that was emailed to you and is also on Fronter in the UCAS room.
2. Write some notes for each of the relevant sections, as identified in the post on 'structure' then write your first draft.
3. Email your draft to Mrs Blackborow for editing
4. Finalise by taking out the paragraphs and checking it is within the word/character limit on UCAS
5. Copy/paste it into your form