Category Archives: Returners

What’s new for 2020/21?

Besides changes in place relating to COVID-19, there are lots of positive developments here at Kent.

Firstly our Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) opens this September, a collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University, which sees the first 100 students starting their studies. KMMS will educate aspiring doctors to train to deliver 21st century medicine, attracting talented students from all backgrounds, from the local community and beyond and offer opportunities to help to transform the future of healthcare.

We have a new mobile app for current students coming soon to help you easily access our services, events and key information. Search ‘Hello Kent’ on your app store. We will let you know once it goes live!

GK Unions has become GKSU. GKSU are committed to being the voice of Medway, ‘No decision about you, without you’. You can still find GKSU in the Student Hub to get involved with societies, sports, events, wellbeing programmes, volunteering and more at Medway. The introduction of Medway networks provides a dedicated space for particular groups of students to meet, socialise, and foster a community. The networks also give students a voice to make positive change. The GKSU Advice service continues to offer independent advice to Kent and Greenwich students.

From September, Schools will be grouped into new Academic Divisions as part of our ongoing work to make it easier to access support from us and improve your experience at Kent. Similarly, we are reorganising some of our student services to improve your access to support. We’ll provide more information on this at the start of term.

Tips to get back into study after a long break

It’s not easy to return after a long break, so don’t be too tough on yourself if you’re struggling to get back into study mode. Whether it’s a summer break, or you’re returning as a mature student looking for a career change, it can be a daunting and overwhelming task to readjust. Here are some tips from our past students which you may find helpful.

If you’re feeling anxious about starting to study again and have the tendency to procrastinate (I know I do) just tell yourself you’ll just do a 30-minute session to get you going. Even if you’re struggling to concentrate, 30 minutes doesn’t seem too unmanageable! What usually happens is after about 20-25 minutes you start getting into your study, and before you know it you’ve done 1-2 hours.

You might also find StayFocusd and Tomato Timer helpful in keeping your concentration. StayFocusd stops you from getting distracted by websites and social media whereas Tomato Timer breaks up your studying into smaller chunks.  Make sure to check out the other productivity tools recommended by Kent!

After taking a 2-year break from studying, it took a while to return into an academic mindset especially after working full-time. I found advanced planning and group study sessions helped get me back into the swing of things. It also really helped that I was studying a subject that I can directly apply to my role.

If you’re looking for somewhere suitable to meet up, the Templeman Library has plenty of relaxed study areas for group work. It has re-opened but with limited services so keep this in mind ahead of your visit.

Plan ahead! If you know you have an early seminar make sure you’re prepared and have enough sleep. I usually try and return to a more regular sleep schedule 2 weeks before term starts, giving my body enough time to get used to the early starts.

Make the most out of feedback sessions. You can speak to the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) for extra support in your studies e.g. if it’s been a while since you’ve written in an academic style. Slowly get back into a routine, don’t rush yourself.

Tips for your second year

Can you believe a whole year has gone by since you first started at Kent – where did the time go! With your second year just around the corner, you might be wondering what this means for your university life now you’re no longer a Fresher. Here are some tips for your second year by students who have been there to help you settle back into university life and make the most of the year!

An increased workload

Personally, I found second year to be the most challenging year of my undergraduate. Having the option to have a greater choice of modules, now most of the standard, introductory modules were complete, meant greater flexibility and I was able to really explore the areas of psychology I thought I would be most interested in. This however did come with an increased workload which I definitely underestimated! Plan ahead by getting a diary and make sure to have all your deadlines and exams in there as soon as you find out so you can give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Push through the hard times and don’t give up! It’ll all be worth it later!

Remember you’re not a Fresher anymore!

Your main focus for coming to university was for your studies and second year is when this really starts to count. You won’t be able to go out every night as you were used to as this can impact on your studies. It may make it more difficult to catch up several months down the line and cause your future self to be even more stressed when exam season creeps up. This doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun and go out, just make sure you set aside enough time to complete your weekly goals.

Explore the local area

You might be living off-campus now and have access to more shops outside of your normal route to and from campus. Have a look around outside of your usual as you might be able to save some money by shopping elsewhere. Make the most of the local area and really explore what the city has to offer. Go on a walk, discover, and learn something new!

Take care of yourself

Be sure to make time for yourself to relax and unwind. Have dedicated time for yourself every week doing something you enjoy, whether that may be reading a book unrelated to your studies or going on a walk.

There’s lots of support available at Kent. If you’re struggling with a problem and you think you might benefit from discussing with this someone outside your circle of family and friends, never feel that you’re alone. You can set up a confidential appointment with Student Support and Wellbeing who can help you through any particularly challenging times. Additionally, if you’re eligible, have an Inclusive Learning Plan (ILP) set up ahead of time. It’s one of the best things you can do to reduce stress. An ILP is where some reasonable adjustments are made tailored to you around your course, assessments, and exams to give you that extra bit of support.

Try something new

Every year there is a Welcome Fair where sports, societies, and volunteering groups all come and showcase what they have to offer. You may have attended last year or you might not have. Maybe you were the one signing up to everything or hopping from stall to stall for freebies.

This year actually sign up and join something different. Most students don’t even give a new sport or activity a go and regret it later when they have less time in their final year. Even if you decide you don’t fancy it that’s fine. Or, you never know, this could be the beginning of a lifelong hobby! This year you’ll be able to meet student groups virtually. You can chat online to current committee members to find out more and decide later if you would like to become a member. Find out more about the fair on the Medway campus on the 23rd and on the Canterbury campus which will be on the 24th by clicking on the links. Looking forward to seeing you there virtually!

Kent’s outdoor walks and activities

Being a student cannot be all work and no play, you need to make time for some fun and relaxation. One of the perks of studying at Kent is access to lots of outdoor space; from beaches to scenic parks and historic buildings, Kent has it all.

Canterbury

Cathedral to Coast Cycle Ride – Canterbury to Dover

Undertake your own Pilgrim’s Progress on this 50 mile circular ride that links Canterbury, Dover and Folkestone. The route passes along leafy lanes and bridleways amid rolling hills, wide skies, woodland, country villages and hamlets.

Marlowe’s Canterbury Walk

The aim of this walk is for you to explore the life of Christopher Marlowe, who is Britain’s best known playwright. The route takes you on a journey around the heart of Canterbury, visiting places he would have known, and offering an insight into his life.

Kent Food Trails

Kent Food Trails are designed to encourage visitors and locals alike to discover new places and taste new dishes. You will meet fantastic food and drinks producers and farmers from all over Kent.

Via Francigena

If you fancy a real adventure then consider Via Francigena which is an ancient route that starts at Canterbury Cathedral and passes through France, Switzerland, across the Alps and through Italy finally finishing in Rome. You will step into the shoes of Sigeric the Serious, a famous Archbishop of Canterbury, and follow his journey across the Via Francigena to meet Pope John XV in Rome back in 990 AD.

Medway

Fort Amherst

Fort Amherst is a free-to-visit historical site  with 20 acres of green space all linked to the Great Lines Heritage Park. You will be able to explore tunnels, nature trails, ditches, ammunition magazines, cannons, soldier’s quarters and fortifications.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham

This is Chatham’s holy grail and steeped in history. The Crown and Call the Midwife have been filmed here along with many films. A visit here will ensure you return to the ‘Age of Sail’ when the Dockyard built mighty ships that mastered the world’s oceans. Test your sea legs as you peer through the periscope of HMS Ocelot, a Cold War Submarine; take charge on the bridge of HMS Cavalier, a Second World War Destroyer; and ring the ship’s bell on the deck of HMS Gannet, our Victorian Sloop.  Watch our Master Ropemakers at work using centuries old techniques on in our Victorian Ropery.

Picture from Canterbury City Council.

Finance

Finance deadlines and support

Being a student can be financially demanding; when you pay your rent, bills, food and factor in having an active social life there probably won’t be much left over. The University has a variety of scholarships and financial support packages that you may be eligible for.

Scholarships

There are many scholarships available for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Some scholarships are specific to your course, location and fee status (UK, European or overseas). Read the scholarship information carefully so you only apply for scholarships where you meet the eligibility criteria.

How to apply for scholarships

Kent Financial Support Package

The Kent Financial Support Package (KFSP) 2020 is a financial support package of £4,500 for eligible undergraduate students across three stages of full-time study. Eligible students studying a full time four year undergraduate programme with a sandwich year or an integrated Masters year will receive a further cash bursary of £1,500.

All new full-time students will be automatically assessed for the KFSP, however, you may need to make a separate application.  Students who do not receive a letter by mid-November confirming their eligibility for the KFSP should contact the Financial Aid Office.

New part-time students starting in the academic year 2020/21 may be eligible for a pro rata cash bursary in each year of study as part of the KFSP. Part-time students will need to make an application.

Further information on KFSP

Access to Learning Fund

The Access to Learning Fund (ALF) provides financial assistance to UK students so they can access and remain in higher education, particularly those students who need financial help to meet extra costs that cannot be met from other sources of support.

The amount will depend on your circumstances and how many applications the fund receives.

Further information on ALF

European Financial Support

The European Financial Support (EFS) fund can provide up to £500 financial support per year to full time non-UK students eligible to pay tuition fees at the ‘EU’ rate experiencing emergency situations or those experiencing a financial deficit over the academic year. The EFS cannot be used for paying tuition fees.

Further information on EFS

International Hardship Fund

The International Hardship Fund (IHF) can provide emergency financial assistance to all full time non-UK students eligible to pay tuition fees at the ‘overseas’ rate. The IHF cannot be used for paying tuition fees.

Further information on IHF

Financial support for care leavers

Students eligible for the Kent Care Leavers Pack will receive a one-off cash bursary of £600 towards the cost of starting at university and one-off payment of £100 towards graduation costs for students who attend their graduation ceremony.

They are also guaranteed access to accommodation for the duration of their course, including the summer vacation, subject to remaining in good financial standing with the University.

Further information on the Care Leavers Pack

Financial support for estranged students

Students eligible for the Kent Estranged Student Pack will receive a one-off cash bursary of £600 towards the cost of starting at university and one-off payment of £100 towards graduation costs for students who attend their graduation ceremony.

They are also guaranteed access to accommodation for the duration of their course, including the summer vacation, subject to remaining in good financial standing with the University.

This financial support is for students who are irreconcilably estranged from their parents.

Further information on the Estranged Student Pack

Financial support for student carers

Students eligible for the Young Adult Carer Pack will receive a one-off cash bursary of £600 towards the cost of starting at university and one-off payment of £100 towards graduation costs for students who attend their graduation ceremony.

This financial support is for young carers who can provide evidence of caring responsibilities.

Further information on the Young Adult Carer Pack

Financial support for young independent students

Students eligible for the Kent Young Independent Student Pack will receive a one-off cash bursary of £600 towards the cost of starting at university and one-off payment of £100 towards graduation costs for students who attend their graduation ceremony.

They are also guaranteed access to accommodation for the duration of their course, including the summer vacation, subject to remaining in good financial standing with the University.

This financial support is for young independent students who have been in receipt of income support while in full-time education prior to starting at Kent.

Further information on the Young Independent Student Pack

Financial support for ‘homeless’ students

Students eligible for the Kent Foyer and ‘Homeless’ Student Package will receive a one-off cash bursary of £600 towards the cost of starting at university and one-off payment of £100 towards graduation costs for students who attend their graduation ceremony.

They are also guaranteed access to accommodation for the duration of their course, including the summer vacation, subject to remaining in good financial standing with the University.

This financial support is for students who were living in a Foyer (hostels and other emergency housing options) or were ‘homeless’ before attending the University.

The Kent Foyer Bursary is specifically to help Foyer and ‘homeless’ students to meet their accommodation costs during the long vacation (up to £1,500).

Further information on the Kent Foyer and ‘Homeless’ Student Package

Need more help?

For more advice on scholarships, email scholarships@kent.ac.uk or call 01227 768896.

If you need more help on your funding and financial support options, email financialaid@kent.ac.uk or call 01227 823851/824876/823488.

Studying from home

Studying from home can be challenging especially when you try to stay focussed in order to meet your deadlines. We have put together some tips on how to study at home effectively.

Familiarise yourself with Moodle

Moodle is the University’s virtual learning environment, it is where all of the necessary information for each of your modules are.

Check Moodle daily for announcements, updates or changes to the module, and to take part in structured discussions. Look ahead at the structure of each module, take note of all important dates and deadlines and then build them into a study plan.

Have a plan

Use a study planner to organise your study time:

Put module start and end dates, exam dates and assignment hand-in dates into your planner.

Identify how much time you should spend each week on each module in order to meet hand-in dates; divide your time between weeks, days and hours accordingly, add to your planner.

Break your work into small tasks and set yourself short deadlines to complete each task, this minimises the chances of you over-running hand-in dates. Use simple project management techniques such as a Gantt chart to plan the course of your whole degree/apprenticeship programme.

You can find recommended apps and software to help with study planning and time management at www.kent.ac.uk/tools as well as your software needed for study. Download Microsoft Office 365 for free on up to 5 devices when you get your IT Account!

Be organised

Create your own study space – somewhere quiet where you can concentrate on your studies – ideally with a suitable desk and chair, and a place for storing your course material (computer, physical files/folders, books etc). Make sure your personal computer is kept up to date with the latest software updates and security features. Discounted and free study-related software is available for Kent students at along with a range of free productivity tools to help you work more effectively. Leave enough time to ask for help If you get stuck in you studies go back to your course modules, notes and readings, or conduct some research; however, if you are still unable to move forward please contact your tutor, as well as talk things over with fellow students.

Use SLAS

Remember the Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) is here to support your academic development. We offer individual appointments to distance learners (by phone or Skype) on all aspects of effective learning and study skills, including maths and stats. For more details go to www.kent.ac.uk/learning

Keep motivated

Remind yourself of your long-term goals, why you embarked on the course – are you wanting to further your career or learn more about the subject? This will maintain your focus even when things are difficult. Work actively to maintain your interest in the subject, the more you regularly engage with your studies the more likely your motivation will be maintained. Any subject can be interesting if you are curious to learn more about it.

Get started

The hardest part can be starting a task, so start with something small or easy; once you’ve got going, you’ll find it easier to keep going. Keep in contact with your course – contact your tutor to get advice or to make sure you’re on the right track. Set up social media forums, groups and networks with students on your course in order to share experiences and swap tips.

Study at the right time

Work out when you’re at your most focussed and alert. Decide whether you are a morning bird or night owl. Study requires a high level of concentration and focus.

Stay organised

Make sure you have all the resources you need to hand, and think carefully about what you want to achieve.

The Templeman Library has thousands of resources including e-books, e-journal articles and access to databases in our Digital Library.

Reward yourself

It is important to give yourself a perk when you have achieved your aims for the day or week.

Pound coins laid out in shape of pound sign

Student Loans Company: upload evidence digitally

The Student Loans Company (SLC) have launched a new Digital Evidence Submission system to make it easier for you to provide supporting evidence for student loan applications.

If you are an undergraduate (full-time or part-time) student, you can use this to submit all your evidence via your online account. Parents and partners can also submit evidence online.

Students applying for Disabled Students’ Allowances, Grants for Dependents and full income assessed support can also now upload evidence rather than having to post it. There are a small number of exceptions to this.

If you have not yet applied to SLC but require a student loan, you should apply as soon as possible as the deadline to receive funding on time has passed. You can still apply for funding but SLC cannot guarantee you will receive it on 28 September 2020 if you have missed the deadline dates.