Welcome to ORA Prep, thanks for joining us – we’re glad you’re here! The aim of this article is to tell you what ORA Prep is all about – why we’re here and what we do. All of this information can be found in more detail across the site (check out the “ORA Prep” menu on the homepage – it contains everything you need to know about us), but this article hopefully provides a comprehensive overview of our ethos and mission statement. So, let’s start with a question…
Why Are We Here?
A good question. If you’re asking yourself this question about life in general, perhaps you should have a look at our Genetics or Zoology courses. But as for ORA Prep, the answer is simple: we’re here because we have a passion for education, and we want to inspire and enthuse students to continue their study of various subjects at university and beyond. That’s our main goal: to inspire and enthuse students in their academic pursuits. The only way to enjoy spending 3+ years at university studying a subject is to enjoy it, so if we can be a part of that process, then we consider our job done!
We also recognise the challenges that applying to university poses students, and seek to boost students’ confidence throughout the applications process. Today, more students than ever are applying to university in the UK, which means that competition is higher than ever before. With the recent rise in fees, it is also tougher than ever to make that key decision of what to study, with it becoming increasingly attractive to pick a subject that is more likely to lead directly into a career (such as Medicine, Law, or Engineering) as opposed to a subject such as History or Classics. These are all worthy considerations, but here at ORA Prep, we argue that the choice should ultimately be governed by what you want to study, and what you would be prepared to study for several years – if not more – of your life.
It’s here that our taster courses come in: if you’re thinking of applying for a subject at university that you’ve never studied before, whether it’s Archaeology or Zoology, then our taster courses can give you a flavour for what the subject involves. Typically, you can tell our taster courses apart because they have “An Introduction to…” in the title in the course catalogue: for example, if you go to the Law section in our course catalogue, you’ll see a course entitled “An Introduction to Law”. All of our courses are developed by highly qualified academics who have studied their subjects at university and beyond, and who have designed their courses around the sort of material that is looked at as part of a 1st year undergraduate degree. They also include more general comments about what studying a subject might be like, as well as hints and tips for the applications process and careers. So, hopefully, by taking one of our taster courses you will be put on the right track when thinking of applying for a course at university. Not only will the course provide you with an insight into what it is like to study a particular subject, helping you to decide whether the subject is (or is not) for you, but it will also give you an excellent foundation from which to approach interviews and first year study, enabling you to start your subject with a firm idea of what the subject is about.
Once you know what you want to study, it’s important to prepare yourself thoroughly when applying for a subject, to give yourself the best possible chance for success. As has already been mentioned, competition for university spaces is higher than ever before, and is increasing from year to year. It’s here that our more in-depth, area specific courses come in. We’ve developed these courses to give students a more detailed look at an area of a subject that they are unlikely to have studied before, helping them to expand their knowledge of the subject and really stand out from the crowd. For example, if you’re thinking of studying Medicine at university, why not try our Medical Case Studies course, to have a more in-depth look at some of the body’s major organs, such as the eye. Or if you’re thinking of studying Law, why not try the course in Criminal Law – one of the most fascinating and important branches of Law. Our more focused courses are designed to give students confidence with which to proceed with an application, and a basis from which to continue further study in a subject or subject area.
That, in a nutshell, is what our courses are all about! But we’ve also got plenty of other things going on as well, that you can access for free on our website. For example, our news and articles section is constantly updated with interesting and informative articles (such as this one) on subjects to do with university applications, online learning, and much more. Feel free to comment on them by posting underneath each article. Moreover, we have regular webinar broadcasts, delivered by our expert tutors, which feature discussions and debates about topics that we feel are relevant to students applying to university. For example, our “Why Study…” series looks in turn at the merits of studying different subjects at university, and is a chance for experts in a subject to persuade you to apply for their area of expertise. These are completely free and can be viewed live or on-demand (after their original broadcast) from our vault. So why not sign up for a webinar today?
Aside from what we do, the other big thing about ORA Prep is the way that we do it, through the medium of online learning. Online learning has grown rapidly in recent years, with the emergence of the so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) – if you’re interested, see our other news item on the phenomenon. So what makes us stand out from the crowd? Well, unlike other online courses that run between set dates, our courses are instantly available – once you’ve chosen a course, you can get started within 5 minutes. This also means that you don’t have to wait between lessons (what we call ‘tutorials’) – you can take the course at your own pace, as slowly or as quickly as you like, and you can retake tutorials as many times as you want. Our courses are also fully interactive: you make your own way through a course by navigating the interactive chapters, and along the way there is a whole host of interactive maps, timelines, videos, soundtracks, images, and much more for you to sink your teeth into. You can have a closer look at this on our Free Preview page. There are also interactive quizzes and exercises throughout the tutorials to make sure you’re keeping up with what’s going on, and each tutorial has an end of tutorial exam to check your progress. At the end of all tutorials, students must sit the final exam which is a graded exam that counts towards your final certificate. Aside from interactivity and accessibility, the beauty of our online learning system is the way that no course, and no student, is isolated: our courses contain resources that direct you to other material throughout the internet, so that you can explore the subject further under your own steam; and all students have access to the course message board, a place where you can share your ideas with students from all over the world. So why not sign up today and join our global classroom?
Our courses are also designed to prepare students for the style of learning that all students will encounter at university – lectures. It is a common criticism of new university students today that they are spoon-fed information at schools and have yet to develop the critical faculties required for university-level study. Our courses, the basis of which is formed around audio lectures, model the processes of note-taking, digesting information, and contextualising new ideas, providing students with valuable experience of the type of learning they will encounter at university.
So, once again, welcome to ORA Prep. We hope that this article has piqued your interest and persuaded you to explore the website, and our courses, further.