Applying to university can be a daunting prospect for both students and their parents, and competition for places at the most popular institutions is as stiff as ever.
At our Sixth Form, we have an experienced UCAS and Tutor team to support and guide you through the application procedure, both in the Sixth Form itself and in the years building up to it.
We have a very supportive system in place when it comes to girls choosing what course they want to apply for. The key feature is that we start early. Our Careers department supports students in the early part of their decision-making process, and in Years 10 and 11 we have sessions focusing on preparing for the choices ahead as well as for the practicalities of university life. We also have regular visits and contact from RHS and GDST Alumnae, who are an amazing resource for us.
In the Sixth Form, we have visiting speakers from a variety of universities at our annual Higher Education evening in March and at our UCAS support days in June. At their fortnightly tutorials throughout the Sixth Form, students discuss their current work and H E plans with their tutors. Students also take the Centigrade university choices questionnaire, which can help with providing bespoke suggestions of courses and institutions.
Full support is provided with the writing of the UCAS personal statement, and a handy user-friendly guide helps students to complete the form quickly and accurately. By the end of Year 12, students will have written a complete finished draft of their UCAS Personal Statement. Some students choose to apply overseas and we have full support in place for them too. By helping the girls to write their application as early as possible, we provide the very best opportunity for their entries to be assessed in the first round of reviews by universities. We have found this to be a very strong strategy.
Well before the official UCAS deadline, our Year 13 girls receive an impressive number of individual offers from a wide range of institutions.
Ongoing support throughout the journey to university is provided through sessions on interview and presentation skills, and one-to-one and small group interview training and mock interviews are also available. References for university applications are usually provided by a teacher who knows the student well and who is a specialist in the area for which they are applying; this allows the teacher to encourage the student with suggestions for wider reading and experiences that might be useful. Furthermore, we provide help for those students planning non-university paths such as Art Foundation courses, Apprenticeships, and also for those planning Gap years (who receive the full support of the Sixth Form in their first year out of school).
Every year we have students successfully take up places at Oxford and Cambridge, and the school’s Aspire programme helps with their preparation. On average, 75% of the Destinations of Leavers have been to Russell Group UK institutions, but each year we have successful applications to specialist institutions and to universities overseas (including the USA, Asia and mainland Europe).
We believe that our Higher Education support ensures that every student has the specialist help and guidance they need to help them apply for courses they will enjoy, at institutions that will suit them.