Planning for the Future
Students have plenty of opportunity to research the options available to them when they leave Sixth Form. In Year 12 they have the opportunity to hear from apprenticeship providers, universities and employers to determine which options best suit them. We encourage all to attend the UCAS fair in June, and every student will seek a work experience placement in July of this year. The Raising Aspirations programme offers support for those students who wish to apply for Oxbridge, Russell Group and Medical/Veterinary/Dentistry courses. By Year 13 students have personalised support with UCAS, employment and apprenticeship applications. There is a detailed overview of our careers provision here.
Interested in University?
On average approximately 65% of Vandyke Sixth Form students apply to study a degree at university once they leave us. The deadline for Oxbridge and Medical/Veterinary/Dentistry courses is in October of Year 13. Many conservatoires also have an early deadline. The UCAS deadline for all other courses is mid-end January of Year 13. To apply students will have to research which courses and universities are right for them. We strongly advise that students also visit universities on their Open Days – these are usually available from the Summer Term in Year 12. There are some great online resources at the following links:
The UCAS Application
Students will need to begin an online application on the UCAS website and, while this is quite user friendly, it is quite an involved process and will require them to input information including their previous examination results. Tutors and the Sixth Form Team are available to help students through this process. Students will need to include the buzzword in their UCAS application – this allows the Sixth Form Manager Clare Fahy, to check and send the application. For applications in 2023 the buzzword is VANDYKE23.
An important part of their application is their personal statement. This document is a great opportunity for students to demonstrate their passion for the subject they are applying for, the skills they have gained during their A-Level study, and any other information such as super-curricular research or extra-curricular activities. This document has a limit of 4,000 characters. Students will have feedback from their tutors and subject teachers on this statement and will be encouraged to make edits based on this feedback. The school will also provide references which will highlight positive attributes and abilities of the student while providing an indication of their predicted grades.
Each university has a different policy of making offers – some will issue offers to suitable students as soon as they receive the application, others can take as long as May to confirm offers. We advise students to wait until they have heard from each university before selecting their firm choice (first choice) and their insurance choice. Students must confirm their choices by the 18th May otherwise they will be declined. Any student who requires an interview with their chosen university has the opportunity for a practise interview with a member of the team, which can be vital in performing well in this scenario.
Student Finance applications will be open from January until April. The application for tuition fee and maintenance loans will require some information about household income but the application is quite user friendly. We are happy to offer support in completing these applications if this would be helpful. A useful point of information on student finance are the following websites:
You can make the application at the following site:
There is additional funding available for students from various bursaries. For example, if you are studying medicine, nursing and midwifery, or dentistry there are NHS bursaries. We are a partner of the Connolly Foundation who offer up to £2,500 for Vandyke students who achieve excellent grades. For more information please click here.
Applying for Accommodation
Again, universities vary in when they open the applications for student accommodation. Students should be contacted by their firm university to make them aware that applications have opened, this should be in place by May, however it is always worth checking with the university if there has been no communication.
UCAS Extra & Clearing
If a student is rejected from all of their chosen universities, they can apply for other universities via UCAS Extra, which runs from February to July. Any student in this position should speak to Clare Fahy and she will guide them through this process. On results day, if a student has not met the entry criteria for their firm choice and they are rejected they will automatically receive an offer from their insurance choice university. If they do not meet the entry criteria for their insurance choice and are rejected from there as well then they can apply for available places via clearing on results day. Clearing works on a first-come, first-served basis so an early start is essential. The team are available in school on results day to support students if they find themselves in this position.
Not interested in University?
Many of our students make the decision not to apply to university. University study isn’t for everyone and there are some exciting alternatives. Most other students either secure employment or apprenticeships, some even opt to enjoy a gap year.
All students are encouraged to join us at the Big Picture Careers Fayre in January which offers a valuable opportunity to speak with apprenticeship providers and local employers. From January onwards students have the option to attend apprenticeship workshops and can attend the National Apprenticeship Show in Milton Keynes in March. There are useful links below: