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Written in the stars: a new approach to uni applications

Paul Greatrix takes a sideways look at an exciting new approach to university admissions advice.
This article is more than 5 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

There is no shortage of advice for applicants to higher education, from Unistats to rankings to NSS to TEF medals – but where does the prospective student go for more tailored and nuanced advice about which course to study?

One option is always to choose on the basis of which ice cream, Gregg’s pasty, celebrity chef or CBBC presenter matches your university choice

Alternatively, you could use one of the many great rankings out there to help you decide. Beyond the staples of the Times  and the Complete University Guide  there are plenty to choose from. This list of some of the best ones – from the Wetherspoons league table to the universities with the best coffee offer – might offer some helpful assistance.

But perhaps the best course choice advice has come from the once unlikely source of Cosmopolitan whose higher education coverage has expanded greatly of late and moved a bit beyond this unquestionably definitive list of Russell Group universities to more serious and in depth exploration of student mental health matters.

Nevertheless, this recent piece might be viewed as peak Cosmo. Recommendations on course choices based on, you guessed it, your star sign.

Just a few star signs should give you a flavour of why astrological assessment is perhaps not the best means of determining which course to pick:

Cancer – Psychology
Cancerians are worldly-wise and non-judgmental, curious and caring about how others are feeling and, importantly, why that’s so. Understanding the frameworks and science behind how we think and respond to the world would be endlessly fascinating to this profound and deep-thinking star sign.

Sagittarius – Veterinary
Sagittarians LOVE animals (especially horses, apparently), so they’re likely to have that ‘whispering’ magic which makes good vets so sought after. Helping the little guys get back on their feet appeals to their warm and caring nature too.

Aries – Sports Psychology
What was once all about the physical is now increasingly about the mental side of competition. Never the less, it’s still all about winning which is, obvs, Aries’ favourite topic. Aries are born winners, with ambition and confidence pumping in their veins, so they can learn to help others do what they find comes naturally.

And, it has to be said, the options are pretty limited given there are only 12 star signs.

What will we have next? Tarot cards? Crystal ball readings? Subject level TEF results?

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