Blog

Realising Opportunities and the Coronavirus - FAQs

RO Central Team - Thursday, March 19, 2020
Posted 1 year ago

 

I'm in Cohort 10 and haven't attended two events yet. Will I still be able to pass RO if events are cancelled? 

Some RO universities will be offering online events for students to attend. Keep checking the Events page of the RO website to see which online events are available - alternatively you can get in touch with universities you are interested in using the RO Key Contacts list to ask if they are hosting any remote attendance events. If you're not able to attend an online event, please contact the RO Central Team and any RO Partner universities you have applied to as soon as you can.

 

I'm in Cohort 11 and haven't attended two events yet. Will I still be able to pass RO if events are cancelled?

Don't worry - we feel that there is plenty of time over the course of your involvement in the RO programme for you to attend on-campus activities at Partner universities and will keep in touch with you about this. You can also keep checking the events page of the RO website in case new online events are added.

 

Will the Academic Skills Module still be going ahead?

Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19, RO are looking into alternative methods of delivery for the Academic Skills Module (ASM) on campus event. Keep looking out for communications from the Central Team and your host university about arrangements for the ASM.

 

I'm in Year 13. My A levels/equivalent have been cancelled. What will this mean for me?

Current guidance states that exams won't be going ahead for this academic year. Your teachers will be using evidence from a variety of sources, including mock exams, homework, and class work to decide on your official grades for each subject. You should receive a letter from Ofqual explaining this.


I'm worried I won't get given the A-Level  grades I'm capable of achieving. What happens if I can't meet my RO offer because of this?

Universities throughout the UK are continuing to review the impact of school closures following the Coronavirus/COVID-19 to ensure applicants are not disadvantaged. We would recommend you get in touch with any RO Partner universities you are applying to and ask what their current stance on this is. Recent guidance states that if you believe you can do better than the grades you receive, you will be given an opportunity to take your exams at the earliest reasonable opportunity once schools open again. You will also have the chance to take your A-Levels in Summer 2021. You can read more about this process, and how grades will be decided here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020

 

I've applied through UCAS but haven't received any offers yet. What will happen now my exams have been cancelled?

All of the RO Partner universities understand that this is a worrying time for all students who are due to take exams. Look out for communications directly from them about the status of your offer, as well as any other information they might provide regarding exams and results. You can find contact details for all of the RO Partner universities in our Key Contacts List. Remember - you should still take time to think about accepting any offers you do receive. This is a big decision, so don't rush to accept the first offer which comes through.

 

I know that my A-Levels aren't going ahead - what will happen to my offers?

We are continuing to review the impact of COVID-19 and potential changes to exams (including the EPQ) to ensure everything is as fair as possible for our students. We will continue to keep you all updated as the situation with schools and examinations unfold, so please do keep checking your emails. We would recommend you get in touch with any universities you are currently holding offers with to check this with them. You can find contact details for all of the RO universities on our Key Contacts list.

 

I took a year out to resit my A-Levels and have been studying from home all year. How will I be graded as a private candidate?

The centre where you are planning to take your exams will be able to provide you with an official grade if they feel they have enough information to do so. The government are urgently exploring alternative options for students who don't have an existing relationship with their exam centre. Realising Opportunities is following all of the guidance from UCAS and exam boards as they are being released. Once further information is announced, we'll be in touch to let you know how this will impact you. In the meantime, look out for emails from UCAS and the universities you have applied to. You can also get in touch with any RO Partner universities you are holding offers with using the Key Contacts list.

 

Will the UCAT test be going ahead this year?

UCAT are continuing to review the situation and will be updating their website as and when new information is released: https://www.ucat.ac.uk/ucat/registration-booking/covid-19/

 

I've received an offer but I'm not sure if I want to go to that particular university. Should I accept it just in case?

Choosing which university to attend is a very big decision, and not one that you should rush - whatever the circumstances. Holding an offer might feel reassuring, but remember to think about how this will impact you in the long term. Consider your offers just as carefully now as you would have done in other circumstances to make sure you are making a choice that you will be happy with in September, for the next three or four years, and beyond.

 

How will the Coronavirus impact my time on RO?

All online aspects of RO, including support via the Online Community and the RO Ambassador, are currently going on as usual. You can still reach the RO Central Team via email at info@realisingopportunities.ac.uk. Many upcoming events at RO Partner universities are being postponed or moved online [please see the FAQ above regarding events for your specific cohort]. You can still complete the skills4uni challenge and quiz on the RO student hub.

 

Do you have any advice for revising and studying at home?

Staying at home all day can take some getting used to! We recommend you create a schedule for yourself, similar to a timetable that you would have to follow at school, and stick to it as much as you can. You could even use your school timetable at home - this will help you keep to set working times each day. Make sure you include time to study each subject you are taking, learning new content, and revising what you have already learned. If you're finding it tough to stay motivated you could try a time management technique like the Pomodoro Method - 25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break. It's also important to make time to do something fun and relaxing. If you are able to, you can put in time to go outside for some fresh air. Reading a book, calling friends and family, cooking, and even watching a film are all good relaxing things to add to your daily schedule if going outside is not an option for you.

 

I'm feeling very stressed about the situation with Coronavirus. Do you have any tips to help me?

It is natural to feel stressed out in situations which are new and uncertain. Remember, although it is useful to keep up to date with the news, it's important to switch off too! Scrolling through social media can often make people feel more stressed, so make sure to add other enjoyable activities to your schedule. Reading, calling or texting friends and family and cooking or baking are all ways you can relax indoors. If you have the space, you could even try following some excersise videos on YouTube. Going for a walk in the fresh air may also help if you are feeling stressed (whilst adhering to social distancing recommendations). There are lots of mindfulness and meditation apps which you can try too.

 

Will Clearing be going ahead this year?

Clearing will be available this year as usual to those who have not received any offers or choose not to accept any of their offers. Clearing will be supported by a new service this year called Clearing Plus. Clearing Plus uses information from your previous UCAS application to suggest some courses that may interest you. If you think you may be using Clearing and Clearing Plus this year you can find out more about these services and how they work here: https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/results-confirmation-and-clearing/what-clearing


The number of students that universities are allowed to recruit has been capped. Does this mean that that they will take away my offer?

The cap that has been put in place means that universities are able to recruit full-time, domestic students up to 5% above their forecasts in the next academic year. This means that they can recruit the number of students they expected to recruit, plus an additional 5%. If you have accepted an offer, meet the conditions, and decide to take the place, nothing has changed for you from the usual UCAS process. If you have any queries about your specific offers you should contact the universities to which you have applied. You can find the contact details for all the RO Partners on the Key Contacts List.


I have already applied for a Maintenance Loan however, my household income has now dropped due to COVID-19, what can I do?

Students who have been granted the maximum amount of Maintenance Loan do not need to do anything, as this cannot increase. If have not been granted the maximum amount and you believe your household income for the current tax year (2020/21) will drop by at least 15% compared to the household income you provided when you were initially assessed, Student Finance England may be able to help. Further guidance on eligibility and how to apply is available online.