Disability, My Life, Student Life

Preparing For University 2016

Since I was young I have had a passion for Creative Writing. I always wanted to pursue a career, but never had the courage to do so.

When I originally applied on the creative writing courses I didn’t think my writing was strong enough to study at degree level.

Eager to pursue this change of pathway, I signed up for an eight-week creative writing course during my gap year.

The course meant I was able to build upon my creative writing skills, leaning the importance of tone, form, audience and flow.

In doing this, I was able to practice what I already knew and work on my current pieces of writing.

But I was also able to start writing new pieces, which I wouldn’t usually write. Then I began to receive critical feedback about my writing from others in the class.

This was challenging, but soon became exciting. I hadn’t previously found the courage to read out loud, but I soon learnt that receiving critical feedback was very useful, it helped me build on creative writing abilities and grow in confidence.

By the end of the short course I felt optimistic about my change of pathway and I decided to apply to study on a creative writing degree.

Just in case this change of pathway didn’t happen, I had to think of a back up. I had an interest in media for a long time and what to work in the media field.

Even though I found the media course hard at Southampton Solent University, I wanted to try again and use my experience at Southampton Solent University to learn from and be able to enjoy this university experience more.

By studying media at university level already, I knew what to expect, I knew which modules weren’t my strongest point and what to do to avoid the difficulties.

I also knew the modules I was strongest in and how to build on that to be able to have a blossoming career in the future.

However at the same time I couldn’t ignore what happened at Southampton Solent University and have to learn from it and accept studying in the media area may be to difficult. Having this in mind,

I worked on my media skill set such as creating online material and doing to media exposure on behalf of Birmingham PHAB Camps. This was to feel reassured enough to apply to another media degree.

Reflecting upon it all, I eventually decided to look at both creative writing and media degrees.

Building A University Portfolio

I knew that when I decided to apply to university, I had to update and polish my portfolio for possible university interviews.

By removing any outdated or un-necessary material and by adding my qualifications, written pieces of work, proof of work experiences and achievements, I hoped to showcase myself acquire university places.

I organised them according to date received and the qualification achieved. Then any written pieces or proof of work experience or achievements linked to the individual qualifications.

Once my qualifications had been shown, I would alter the portfolio according to the university and course applying for.


When creating a portfolio it’s important to create your own brand to be able to stand out amongst other candidates then showcase yourself, creating a unique ID.

The ID you’ve created should be clear throughout your CV as well as any other item you show such as social media web-pages. Have an online site to display your work, e.g. a website, this helps make you different to other candidates.

If possible or necessary, send your prospective employer an example of work you have done, that is relevant to the field you’re applying for.

Also if necessary, it may be a good idea to include a cover letter, which outlines in detail the experience and achievements you’ve received, be sure to also state clearly the role or position you would like, that it is all relevant to the course you’re applying for.

For courses that involve elements of visual work, try to create and include a show-reel which shows examples of your own and which you could link to during the interview.

Then if you’re applying to courses that involves elements of audio, be sure to take along a sound mix disk of examples of your own audio work for tutors to hear, being sure to refer to your examples throughout the interview.

This is to give you a taste of university level and to make sure you are capable to handle the pressure of it of studying at this level.


When attending an interview, it’s a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality.  Anything you state on your CV, you may asked to show or talk about in your university, so take a laptop or a mobile device which you can show this on.

This shows that you are prepared and eager to impress. The tutors will test you and your knowledge about the university and course, possibly giving you examples of units or modules involved in the course, asking you what you would do in a certain situation.

During the interview you may be asked to talk about your skills in more depth, how you’ve used them previously and how you plan to use them in the course.

Instead of waiting for tutors to give you a situation where you used your skills, give them examples of where and how you used that particular skill.

This will not only show initiative but can also help to calm your nerves. Also try and form crucial information into any answer, so you can answer questions straight away rather than trying to think on the spot.

You may be asked to demonstrate your skills during the interview or applicant day, this allows you to showcase yourself and your capability for the course.


Using the field of my chosen study to my advantage, I had to make sure I stood out amongst other candidates applying for places on the same university course.

When I presented my CV I made sure media dominated the theme to show my interests and qualities.

I also had to show the importance of my qualifications in my CV through my theme. I often find taking my laptop with me useful – to be able to showcase myself and my work.

Determined to stand out amongst others, I developed my website enough to look professional and show productivity and organisation.

Personally I think taking along copies of work or pieces of material that are relevant to the course are beneficial to both me to show and my interviewer to see.

In my case I would take along copies of the articles I got published for Birmingham PHAB Camps as well examples of essays I did at Southampton Solent University to show I can study at that level.

Along with this, I would bring along a copy of Showreel to show the visual work I did at Bournville College such an advert I had made as a part of one of my projects.

Then I would also provide a disk with a copy of my radio interview with BCC Pete Morgan on to show I really had industry experience.


Developing all these elements and being able to provide them at the interview along with my application, personal statement and CV has given me a real sense of achievement, showing me that I am determined to demonstrate that I have skills in different areas and able to reinforce what written on my CV.

Being very passionate about this, I began the journey of exploring my options. I planned visits to open days at universities, which offered creative writing and media degrees, and soon became really excited about my choices.

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