The Next Step
From February of Year 12, you have one lesson a week dedicated to higher education and careers. This includes thinking about career options in relation to choosing university courses, as well as practical help with filling out your UCAS form and writing your personal statement.
There is life after Churston and the information on these pages will help you with major decisions about where to go and what to study. We hold a Higher Education Evening for Year 12 every June. If you are thinking of applying to Oxford or Cambridge, or to a university abroad, we have information available for Oxbridge applications and studying abroad.
The careers advice has been good, and I think the Sixth Form team have been excellent for looking at their student’s UCAS statements and redrafting them etc – Ed Drew, Year 13
The first thing to do is decide which courses you should be considering. UCAS has an excellent Course Search facility and provides access to all the websites of higher education institutions which recruit through UCAS.
An alternative is UK Course Finder. This has a questionnaire consisting of a series of multiple choice questions; your answers will determine courses suitable for you. It should take approximately 30 minutes (even though the front page says 15). It will ask you to estimate your final grades in UCAS tariff points so that it can make realistic course suggestions. Use the table below to work out how many points you will have.
Some universities make offers using the tariff system, other use A-level grades. Once you have completed the whole questionnaire you will be presented with a list of possible suitable subjects. You can then click on any which appeal to you and it will list the universities which offer courses in that subject. If you click on a particular university it will provide basic information about it including a direct link to the website address.
Remember that you do not get points for AS results in subjects you are continuing to A level because they are included in your final A-level grade. If you have completed an AS and gained a grade but are not taking the subject to A-level level those AS points do apply separately. For most tariff offers you can obtain the points from a maximum of 3½ A levels (3 A levels & 1 AS level).
You may also have UCAS points from elsewhere, such as music grade exams. Some universities or courses accept these and others don’t.
In a Year 13 assembly, the staff brought up the Tony Allen Scholarship award that was being offered at Exeter university, my university of choice. I decided immediately to go for it, and I have been lucky enough to have been awarded this scholarship! I just wanted to thank the school so much for bringing it to my attention, and also for all the other help with UCAS, university, and general settling in to the school that they gave me. – Romana Burgess, ex-student
Once you’ve decided on a course or subject to study, UCAS will enable you to find out which universities run that course. Unistats is the official website for comparing UK higher education course data and shows what graduates think of their university experience. It also allows you to view your subject at higher education institutions you are considering and compare their ratings.
If you want to look at the various league tables of universities, all of the following are very useful:
The Times (there is a subscription fee for this)
Getting In has advice on selecting a university, revision, applying, personal statements and an updated list of open days.
The Student Room is a good general site which has sections about higher education, as well as topics such as health and relationships and revision notes.
What Uni will tell you what current and ex-university students think about the universities they attended.
The Russell Group
The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience for students of all backgrounds and strong links with business and the public sector. If you are thinking about a Russell Group university you should check the Russell Group’s website for advice on A-level subjects and more.
You’ll get masses of information from the websites of universities you’re thinking of applying to, from entry requirements to course content, accommodation to Open Day dates. University and college websites differ greatly in quality of information and ease of use. Try not to be put off by this and search out courses of interest in relevant prospectuses. These also differ in quality but all are primarily marketing booklets full of happy people, excellent facilities and sunny weather.
It’s well worth going along to open days for universities you’re considering applying to if you can. It’s the best way to get a real feel for the university, and you can meet tutors, find out the details of courses, see the facilities and visit the accommodation. Often an open day can change your mind about studying at a particular university, for better or worse. To find out when you can visit universities you should look at opendays.com.
Most universities offer a virtual tour. You can usually find out if a university offers a virtual tour by searching their website, if the tour is not advertised on the homepage.
If you are wondering what you can do with a particular degree subject then look at Prospects. This is the official graduate careers website. All sections of this website are useful for your longer term planning. Take some time to explore it.
A useful website written by students for students is push.co.uk, which looks at the ‘Why, Where, What and How’ of studying. Just a word of warning: beware of strongly biased views and check out the information on facilities with the official prospectuses as these are not updated as regularly as they could be.
The University of Wolverhampton’s Map of Universities & HE Colleges gives you direct links to Higher Education websites.
Scholarship Search, as the name suggests, has information on scholarships.
applytouni.com has advice on applying, personal statements, social media, open days, league tables .
ParentAdviser has advice on finance, choosing a university and course, taking a gap year, and alternatives to university.
Studential will help you with your UCAS personal statement and more.
As well as the accommodation sections of individual university websites, both accommodationforstudents.com and homesforstudents.co.uk can be useful sources of information which also cover private accommodation.