Life After Sixth Form

Helping you get that university place or career

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UCAS preparation

Hello everyone,

As I said in PSHE last week, now is the time to be getting on top of your preparation for what you intend to do after leaving school, and for most of you that will involve applying to Higher Education through UCAS.

To help you focus and to ensure I know who may need more guidance and support, I am asking you to update your personal information documents on Google Docs by putting the following information at the top of the document. Even if you think I know some of this information already from our academic mentoring or other conversations, please do this anyway to help avoid any confusion as we go on.

1) If you are not intending to make an UCAS application (or are undecided and may choose another alternative instead of, or as well as, applying through UCAS) please let me know what your plans are, and what steps you have taken so far (eg. Any applications made, interviews held, conversations with other staff members etc).

2) For those intending to apply through UCAS, please give me an outline of the progress made so far (eg. Open days attended, or due to attend; reading and research you have done; people you have spoken to or contacted by email such as admissions tutors or former students/acquaintances doing courses that you are interested in etc).

3) List the courses you are intending to apply for (institution, course name and course code) AND the entry requirements for that course. At this stage you may still be deciding between several different types of course, or not have narrowed your options down to the five choices available to you on the UCAS form, but what we need to see at this stage is that your research is detailed enough to show that you have considered your options, looked at a range of potentially suitable courses, and know what the entrance requirements are so that you can tailor your applications realistically to the grades you are likely to get, so please put all the courses you are considering. You can delete them or add to them as you narrow your options down or do further research and make changes in the light of your results in August.

This may be seem a bit of a pain for some of you now, but there is a good chance you will be thanking me in the autumn term 😉

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Universities admit ‘soft’ A-levels damage chance of top places | Education | The Guardian

We pay particularly close attention to the personal statement. We are looking for signs of individual engagement with the course of study, as well as empirical evidence of a commitment to the subject that goes beyond the A-Level (or equivalent) syllabus.

Successful candidates tend to be those that demonstrate independent, critical engagement with the themes and controversies that underpin the discipline. This is not simply a case of applicants describing the issues they are interested in or listing the books they have read (though relevant reading or research beyond the A-Level syllabus is strongly encouraged). It is about addressing the ‘why’ question. What is it – specifically and explicitly – that so enthuses them about the debates they engage with, the books they read and the ideas they discuss? In most cases, there is a clear sense of the applicant’s own intellectual journey and how this has forged their interest in and passion for the subject.

In all cases a sense of the individual is crucial. A personal statement should be just that – a personal reflection on what it is that interests the applicant about the subject and why. We are not looking for a model answer. Indeed, there are countless different ways to write a successful application. For this reason using a template is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED as it will result in a generic statement that will not distinguish the candidate from the other applicants following the same model.

This is from the University of Bristol, but I think it’s pretty good advice for anyone applying to anywhere, to be honest.

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“I came here expecting windmills & marijuana” – British students flock to Holland


An interesting article about how increasing tuition fees is increasing the number of British (& Irish) students going to study at European universities, some of which, like Maastricht featured in the article, have English as the main language of instruction.