Life After Sixth Form

Helping you get that university place or career


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Universities making unconditional offers in race for top A-level students – Telegraph

This is an interesting development reported in the Telegraph, getting on for thirty years after I received the very welcome early Christmas present of an unconditional offer. I had thought the practice was gone, never to return.

Universities making unconditional offers in race for top A-level students – Telegraph.

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Turning the tables

Last year I wrote a post about interpreting university league tables. In an increasingly market-driven, competitive culture, league tables are more important than ever in the role they play in affecting students’ decisions about where to apply, but just how useful are they?

Recent research from Royal Holloway, University of London, has studied the role that league tables play in applicants’ decision making, and has identified the Guardian league table as the most influential. But does that mean it is the best? Naturally, the Guardian itself has been trumpeting the value and influence of its tables, but I would suggest you read not only their article, but, perhaps more importantly, the comments below it (they get quite heated in places).

The overall message I would give is to make sure that you refer to several tables, make sure you understand how they are compiled, and make sure they are only one part of a decision making process that takes in a range of information and data. Certainly don’t be swayed by differences of a small number of places in a table. As you can see if you spend any time at all looking at the detail, tiny differences in the weighting of individual pieces of data that are less than wholly reliable in the first place can send a university or subject department  soaring up or plummeting down the tables.


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Chasing the job market is no way to choose a degree | Ally Fogg | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

As for any teenagers reading, I can’t advise you which course would be best for you. But I can tell you that accountancy students drink the most, philosophers take the most drugs but, as we learned last autumn, economists have the most sex. Coincidentally, the applications submitted to Ucas in January saw a 4.8% in demand for economics. Don’t forget to explain to your parents that the course offers excellent career potential.

Chasing the job market is no way to choose a degree | Ally Fogg | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.


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PPH students most satisfied | The Oxford Student

Thinking of applying to Oxford? You may want to look beyond the bigger, more famous colleges if you want the most satisfying student experience. I went to Regent’s Park College, which topped the poll of mixed sex colleges for student satisfaction, and at the very top was St Benet’s Hall, a Catholic Benedictine hall, which I remember as being notable for the jugs of (free) beer and cider served at their meals!

Full story at Oxford Student, here:

PPH students most satisfied | The Oxford Student.


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Access to Russell Group universities ‘far from fair’, according to new research – Durham University

Access to Russell Group universities ‘far from fair’, according to new research – Durham University.

An update to the study … found that state school applicants continue to be significantly less likely to receive offers from Russell Group universities than comparably qualified applicants from private schools, although the disparity appears to have become smaller over time.