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Higher Education

Higher Education Guidance 2019-20

Click here to see the presentation given at our Higher Education and Apprenticeships evening in July 2019. Click here to access the current UCAS parent guide.

Applications Calendar


  • Have final choices of universities and/or colleges ready
  • Finalise your Personal Statement
  • Have Academic Mentoring sessions with Tutor
  • Register for: Oxbridge tests; LNAT; BMAT; UKCAT if applicable


  • Oxford and Cambridge UCAS deadline – 15 October
  • Medicine/Vet Sci./Dentistry UCAS deadline – 15 October
  • School Deadline:  8th October 


  • Oxbridge applicants submit written work if required
  • Specialist subject tests. e.g. BMAT, Oxbridge tests
  • Preparation for university interviews
  • School deadline for applications 30th November 


  • Interviews at Oxford and Cambridge.
  • School deadline for applications: 27 October 2019


  • A2 mock examinations
  • Official UCAS deadline - 15th January 


  • Consider UCAS offers for Firm and Insurance. 25th Feb - UCAS extra opens.


  • Complete Finance application
  • UCAS Extra available for those without offers


  • Final Firm/Insurance/Decline decisions returned to UCAS


  • Final Firm/Insurance/Decline decisions returned to UCAS  1st May                                        
  • Final examination preparation


  • GCE A2 Examination


  • A-Level results
  • UCAS  Clearing

UCAS: Key points

  1. Your reference will be prepared by your form tutor. It will be based on information from your subject teachers and focus on your achievements, ability and potential. Close liaison with your form tutor is advised as the reference and personal statement should be complementary.
  2.  You will be told your predicted A level grades. You should remember that these predictions will take note of your performance to date in the Sixth Form and will also take into account the increased difficulty of A Level courses; A Level predictions may, therefore, differ from AS grades achieved but we do look to make positive predictions. It is important to pay close attention to these grades and make realistic applications to universities.
  3. You should inform your form tutor when your application has been completed. It will not be sent unless they know it has been finished and even then may be returned to you for changes.  Please be mindful of the sheer volume of applications but Sixth Form staff will process applications as quickly as possible. Your application will only be finally sent once you have checked it with Ms Cunningham, Mr Kenny, Ms Bailey or Ms St Amour.
  4. The fee of £24 is paid online using a credit/debit card.
  5. Should you have any query about the UCAS process you should contact your form tutor Ms Cunningham or Ms Sullivan. It is your responsibility to keep the school informed of all developments that may affect your application. There is a section that where we can add ‘notes’ to your application should there be any extenuating circumstances that you do not wish to have in the reference or your personal statement; you should discuss this with your form tutor or Ms St Amour.
  6. Although the formal UCAS deadline is 15 January, there are real advantages to be gained from an early submission of a UCAS application, particularly for courses that are likely to be heavily over-subscribed. The schools internal deadline is 24th November this allows time for tutors to complete references and for your forms to be checked and errors corrected.

By September  you should have …

  • A short list of universities from which to select your final choices; you should have researched carefully each course on websites and in prospectuses. Your shortlist should be balanced between those likely to make demanding offers and those whose demands are lower (for your insurance). We encourage you to be aspirational in your choices but you must also be realistic about how you are progressing on your A Levels and the outcome of your AS results. DO listen to advice given!
  • You should know details of each course you are interested in, including exact institution and course codes, along with any options you may be required to study. You should also be aware of any particular additional requirements likely to be made of you e.g. Entrance tests for Medicine (BMAT or UCAT), Law (LNAT).
  • A draft of your personal statement. There is no perfect personal statement, each will be different and should be a reflection of you. Be prepared to leave things out; concentrate on what you (and your form tutor) consider important. It is recommended that two-thirds of your personal statement should demonstrate your interest in, and enthusiasm for, your chosen courses


  • Most replies from universities and colleges are likely to have been received by 31st March, though officially the latest date when you can expect a final decision is in May.
  • Those without offers from their original choices may use UCAS Extra. This is active from mid-March to the end of June. Course vacancies will be published on the UCAS website and UCAS will tell you if you are eligible for this scheme.
  • How to Respond:

- You may hold no more than one Firm acceptance.

- You may also hold one Insurance acceptance- this should be lower grades 

- All other offers must be declined.

  • Clearing will be available following the publication of A Level results. Sixth Form staff will be prepared for discussion with those students who have not achieved required grades for Conditional Firm or Conditional Insurance offers on the morning of Results Day.
  • Adjustment is an opportunity for students who have exceeded their expectations in A Levels to “trade up” to a course with more challenging entry requirements. You don’t lose your Firm place whilst you look elsewhere but be aware that availability of places will be extremely limited.

Choosing a university and course(s)

The best place to start is the UCAS website. Here you can look at the whole range of courses available - currently 3700 at 370 different institutions!

You will also be able to watch their ‘How to guides’ on course choices, open days and events and applying.

There are a lot of other very useful websites to assist in the whole process. We recommend you try the following:

Writing a Personal Statement (advice from a university)


  • Do brainstorm your ideas on paper before attempting to write anything.
  • Do check university websites as they may provide information about what they are looking for from applicants.
  • Do aim to use about five paragraphs, making sure that each flows in logical way.
  • Do expect to produce several drafts before being totally happy.
  • Do ask for feedback from your tutors and from subject specialists
  • Do ensure that you use your best English and don’t let silly spelling and grammar mistakes spoil your statement.
  • Do be enthusiastic – you can have perfect grades and hundreds of extra-curricular activities and be a really great person but if Admissions Selectors feel you aren’t passionate about your course, it could affect your application.


  • Don’t feel that you must use fancy language. If you try too hard to impress with long words that you are not confident using, the focus of your writing may be lost.
  • Don’t try to be funny as it is a risk: admissions selectors may not share your sense of humour!
  • Don’t lie – if you stretch the truth you may get caught out at interview when you are asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement.
  • Don’t waffle on about irrelevant things.
  • Don’t copy someone else’s personal statement or ‘borrow’ chunks from existing personal statements. UCAS uses similarity detection software which checks for plagiarism so make sure everything you write is completely original.
  • Don’t rely on a spell checker – proof read as many times as possible.
  • Don’t ask too many people to read it- lots of conflicting opinions leads to unnecessary confusion and delay.

Art Foundation applications

There is a different application process for students wishing to apply for Art Foundation courses. These are organised by Ms Powell, Head of Art.

Student Finance

Funding applications are done privately by you and your parents/carers. We do though arrange for a representative from Student Finance England to come in and talk you through the application process. Applications and funding entitlements change regularly but it is worth looking at the guide below as a good starting point.