UCAS and Careers
The vast majority of students continue to university. Some pupils, however, want to take a break before picking up their books again. Whatever decision students make, we ensure that students leave our Sixth Form with the knowledge and skills they require to progress to the next stage of their life with confidence.
A level Choices
Choosing the right A-levels is important and we aim to be as flexible as possible tailoring courses and timetables to suit individual needs. Most students start with four subjects and drop to three in the Upper Sixth but a number opt to start with five, particularly those aiming for Oxbridge. We encourage students to study subjects they enjoy and that suit their personal aptitudes. We offer a wide variety of subject options and provide one to one expert guidance to ensure students choose courses that will enable them to achieve their goals and aspirations at university and in future careers.
A levels are harder than GCSEs, (and a degree will be harder again!) and you should be prepared for that. In GCSE you need to listen to your teachers, make notes and learn them. At A level, you need to do that too, but you will be much more responsible for your learning. You will need to read the text book yourself, not in class and be ready to read additional texts too. You may need to spend an evening listening to a radio programme in a foreign language, or attend lectures on scientific topics at local universities. At A level you must know the facts, be able to interpret them and apply them to new questions and situations. Managing your time is important: ‘free’ time is study time. Ask the teacher what you should be doing….it won’t be getting your Facebook account up to date!
The first decision is what to study. Students talk to their personal tutors, the Careers Coordinator, as well as independent advisors about the choices open to them. We look at expected results, future plans and aspirations as well as encouraging girls to go to University Open Days, a number of which we visit with them on Lower Sixth trips.
The UCAS process can be daunting and we pride ourselves on the high standard and thorough nature of tutor support and guidance that we provide from the Lower Sixth through to the moment students gain their A-level results and begin their chosen degree courses. The process begins with a Higher Education evening in the Lower Sixth for parents and students. The evening is presented by Sixth Form tutors and university admissions staff. These guest speakers provide a glimpse behind the admissions process and what universities are looking for. There’s a helpful widget supplied by UCAS that you can access via the url below.
Filling in the UCAS form can be daunting, so we have a UCAS day, where we work through the online form, to help students apply correctly. Students also have access to Moodle, our virtual learning environment, with further useful guidance on preparing personal statements and making course and destination choices. Students are provided with training on interview techniques by professional Human Resources staff from industry, as well as their personal tutors.
Vets, Medics, and Dentists and those applying for Oxbridge courses have to apply early and we ensure that these students are fully prepared ahead of time, so they can concentrate on the details of their application in confidence. It’s an exciting time, and we work hard to ensure that students always feel supported at all times and never feel overwhelmed.
The Academy lessons are open to all students as an optional period. These lessons extend knowledge and understanding beyond the A-level curriculum. Lessons include poetry, philosophy, critical thinking, world environments, economics as well as European history and culture. For those students who wish to apply for Oxbridge, Russell Group Universities or Medicine/Veterinary Science, attendance at Academy Lessons is essential.
Students wishing to apply for Oxbridge are given further support. A personal tutor assists with the application and interview process. Students meet with designated Oxbridge tutors at least once a week to guide them in the completion of their personal statement for their application, and subject tutors help prepare applicants for any specific course requirements and examinations. In addition students discuss interview skills and any wider knowledge/experiences they require to gain a place at these Universities.
Medicine, Dental and Veterinary Science, Law
These students also meet earlier deadlines for applications. They are also required to take specific tests including UKCATs and additional tutor/teacher guidance is provided to support students in this process.
‘Gap Years’ allow students to consider their options for further study and careers for a little longer, by deferring University entry following their completion of the Upper Sixth. Some students decide to take a Gap Year in order to gain further work experience in industry whilst others may decide to travel and work with charities and disadvantaged communities abroad. Whatever the reason, our Sixth Form students are supported in their plans, so that they leave our Sixth Form with purpose and vision. We encourage students to plan a Gap Year carefully, including visa and health concerns, how to fund travel and plan trips around UCAS commitments.
Careers and Work Experience
We link students’ work experience to individual career aspirations and seek to provide students with opportunities to develop ‘soft’ and ‘transferable’ skills, which are highly sought after in industry. Although we provide individual support and guidance for students in finding a placement and have a broad network of contacts, we also encourage students to research and acquire positions independently. Former students have had wide opportunities: in the Royal Opera House, the Houses of Parliament, teaching in Germany and working with local business and government institutions such as Alton Council and Crown Court Services.