Dr Joanna Merchant Speaks to INA Sixth Form

Joanna Merchant


On Tuesday 28th November, Dr Joanna Marchant spoke to our Sixth Form students about options to consider when choosing a degree course and a university.  With 37,000 different degrees on offer, and hundreds of institutions in which to study, students have a huge variety of options available.  Dr Marchant’s recommendations for choosing a degree were:


  • Choose a subject/course that you are going to enjoy.  Without that love of the subject, it will be hard to remain motivated over three years of study.
  • Think outside the box.  Use the UCAS website to research courses – there are subjects out there that you might never have guessed were possible degree options.
  • Think about what career you are interested in.  If you are not sure about a specific career, do not worry:  66% of graduate employers do not specify subjects, they just ask for a good grade, e.g. a 2:1 (or sometimes 2:2) in any subject.


What to consider when choosing a university:

  • Location
  • Course offering – think about what you like to learn and how you like to be assessed
  • Reputation
  • Size and type (city university vs campus university)
  • Financial support available.


Dr Marchant advises using league tables with caution as they base their rankings on a whole range of criteria, some of which may be considerably less relevant to some students than others.


She strongly advised that students go to Open Days so that they can sense the atmosphere and experience first-hand whether the university would be somewhere they’d be happy to spend three years.


It was encouraging to hear Joanna endorse the advice and guidance that INA staff have been giving to students and also confirmed the value of supercurricular activities, since these demonstrate a serious commitment to the degree applied for.


Dr Marchant’s final tips are well-worth remembering:

  • Explore your options
  • Do your research
  • Visit universities
  • Make your own choice.


“I thoroughly enjoyed the session. It was really interesting to be part of a broader programme of talks and good to know that my talk tied in really well with some of the previous speakers that the Sixth Form have had. I think it is really exciting to come across a school which is thinking so clearly about presenting their students with a wide breadth of experience and people that are advocating different opinions and options. Hopefully my talk on universities has tied in with some of the more career focused talks. The students asked some really good questions at the end and it was clear that they had reflected on things that had been discussed during the talk.”  Joanna Marchant


Thank you to Joanna for her valuable advice and guidance!