Upper Sixth - University Applications

This is a busy term for pupils in the Upper Sixth Form who finally have to make some choices about universities and courses; it can also be pretty stressful for parents too!

Of course, preparation for university and for life after Lancing has been taking place for some time, and every pupil is treated as an individual. For some, choosing a university takes a lot longer than for others. Sometimes the choice of subject is straightforward but the choice of university destination less so; other pupils may find the subject choice is more complicated. A few will also be contemplating whether or not to continue straight into university in the UK or abroad, or to defer their degree for a year.

Earlier this month, parents of Upper Sixth Form pupils attended a forum to hear about and discuss the process and requirements for university applications. Parents had the opportunity to talk individually to subject teachers and the many specialist staff supporting their sons and daughters.

Key messages that came out from the workshop include:

  • The school deadline for UCAS applications is Friday 18 November, with an official UCAS deadline of 15 January 2017
  • Ensuring sons and daughters work on their personal statements and have these ready to review by tutors after half term
  • Taking the opportunity to visit university Open Days. You can find out when these take place here: OpenDays.com
  • Applications for student finance start at the end of January
  • Please talk to Mrs Carol Palmer (Overseas Applications Coordinator)as soon as possible if you are considering university outside the UK, as the processes and requirements are different
  • Nothing can substitute for time spent researching courses and universities, looking at the syllabus and talking to tutors
  • Look at the relationships that universities have with employers and support for post degree employment
  • Good sources of information include:
    University League tables
    Paying for University
    Which University Guide

Addressing the recent parents’ meeting Mark Walsh, Head of Higher Education Applications, offered his advice:

With over 37,000 undergraduate courses available in the UK alone this year, there is a huge amount of choice available to our Year 13 students. Picking the right course at the right university requires a great deal of careful and thorough research so please do encourage your son/daughter to visit university departments (either before application or after offers have been received) in order to find out more about what a particular course entails. Ask to see their Personal Statement and, with an open mind, question their reasons for choosing a particular course/university, and try to avoid making pre-conceived judgments based on your knowledge of universities, as many HE institutions have significantly improved over the past 20 years or so. It can sometimes be difficult to find the right balance between being supportive and over-enthusiastic but above all be positive, calm and objective.

Thinking about university and other opportunities starts in earnest in the Fifth Form. Tutors and other staff start to talk individually to pupils about their interests and possible A Level options. In November, Lancing runs a Careers Fair for Fifth Form and new Lower Sixth Form pupils. Outside speakers are invited along to this event to talk about possible career routes and options, including current and former parents and, of course, OLs. We will be covering the careers event in next month's eNewsletter.