"That's what university life is all about. Challenging, questioning, enjoying good people and good friends, and pushing yourself to the limit."
- David Robinson
Universities & Colleges Admissions Service
UCAS : At the Heart of Connecting People
UCAS is a charity that processes applications to study full-time courses at universities, colleges and conservatoires in the UK.
However it’s not just about processing applications – UCAS’ aim is to help students make informed choices that are right for them, by guiding them through the entire higher education application process and beyond. To support this, UCAS provides a wide range of valuable information and services for applicants, their parents, and teachers.
Today, UCAS processes over 2.5 million applications every year, for some 650,000 prospective students across the UK and beyond: helping them gain access to more than 340 UK universities and colleges.
Students can use www.ucas.com to find out how to get started, research their options, make their application and track its progress. There’s information especially for parents at www.ucas.com/parents, including details of the application process, a host of helpful video guides and a link to sign up for the UCAS monthly newsletter.
UCAS Support at Aylward Sixth Form
We deliver a comprehensive and individualised programme of career and higher education guidance to our Year 12 and Year 13 students to enable and equip them to progress onto their chosen path.
Our designated careers adviser is available throughout the year to meet with students and to offer guidance on all relevant pathways available for them. Once students have gained a clearer insight into their preferred destination, individualised support is provided including assistance in securing relevant work experience, intensive, step-by-step support in completing all facets of the UCAS application processes and regular invitations to careers and higher education fairs.
Alongside this, students seeking to apply for special interest pathways such as Oxbridge, Law, Medicine and Dentistry are provided with additional support including visits from admission tutors and guidance in preparing for interviews and associated entrance examinations.
CHOOSING A UNIVERSITY AND COURSE(S)
There are many useful websites to assist students to decide on the best course for them. The best place to start is the UCAS website. Here you can look at the whole range of courses available - currently 3700 at 370 different institutions. These are some that we particularly recommend:
More university searches plus useful calendar of open days:
Destinations, destinations, destinations
As part of Aylward Sixth Form's continued support to ensure students to progress into the best opportunity for them, we subscribe to the student destination support programme Unifrog. All students are also enrolled onto the Unifrog platform to support them in exploring their interests and then find and successfully apply for their best next step after school.
Students - click the Unifrog link on the left to sign in.
University Preparation at Aylward Sixth Form
Year 12 and Year 13
Students begin their university preparations in the Autumn term of Year 12. They are guided through the UCAS process, shown how to research courses, and prompted to think critically about their existing attainment and be strategic in boosting their predicted grades.
Medical applicants are given nuanced and extensive support. In addition to a number of trips that we organise to a diverse range of institutions, we endeavour to show students exactly what is required to develop a genuine commitment and love of their subject.
Students receive personalised support and guidance from the Aylward Sixth Form Team, from their personal tutors, our experienced and personal careers adviser to their Director of Learning .
ART FOUNDATION & DEGREE APPLICATIONS
There is a different application process for students wishing to apply for Art Foundation or Undergraduate degree courses involving Portfolios. These are supported by Ms Soyal, Head of The Arts & Technology Faculty who is also part of the Sixth Form tutorial team.
Please liaises with her for further support and Guidance.
HIGHER EDUCATION GUIDANCE
UCAS : KEY POINTS
- Your reference will be prepared by your form tutor. It will be based on information from your subject teachers and focus on your achievements, ability and potential. Close liaison with your form tutor is advised as the reference and personal statement should be complementary.
- You will be told your predicted A level grades. You should remember that these predictions will take note of your performance to date in the Sixth Form and will also take into account the increased difficulty of A Level courses; A Level predictions may, therefore, differ from AS grades achieved but we do look to make positive predictions. It is important to pay close attention to these grades and make realistic applications to universities.
- You should inform your form tutor when your application has been completed. It will not be sent unless they know it has been finished and even then may be returned to you for changes. Please be mindful of the sheer volume of applications but Sixth Form staff will process applications as quickly as possible. Your application will only be finally sent once you have checked it with Mr Hussain.
- The fee of £24 is paid online using a credit/debit card.
- Should you have any query about the UCAS process you should contact your form tutor, Mr Hussain, Mr Wright or Mr Anyemedu. It is your responsibility to keep the school informed of all developments that may affect your application. There is a section that where we can add ‘notes’ to your application should there be any extenuating circumstances that you do not wish to have in the reference or your personal statement; you should discuss this with Mr Hussain.
- Although the formal UCAS deadline is 15 January, there are real advantages to be gained from an early submission of a UCAS application, particularly for courses that are likely to be heavily over-subscribed. The schools internal deadline is 20th December this allows time for tutors to complete references and for your forms to be checked and errors corrected.
COMPLETING THE APPLICATION FORM: SOME USEFUL INFORMATION
- The BUZZWORD for applying is Arsenal1234
- Student Support Arrangements: you should enter the name of the Local Education Authority for your home address (not for the school) – if in doubt ask your parents which authority receives their Council Tax.
- Fee Code: most students should enter 02
- Residential Category: virtually all students will be Category A.
- Your email address should be current and likely to be so for the next 18 months. UCAS is trying to make the vast majority of its communications electronic.
KEY THINGS TO REMEMBER
By September you should have
- A short list of universities from which to select your final choices; you should have researched carefully each course on websites and in prospectuses. Your shortlist should be balanced between those likely to make demanding offers and those whose demands are lower (for your insurance). We encourage you to be aspirational in your choices but you must also be realistic about how you are progressing on your A Levels and the outcome of your AS results. DO listen to advice given.
- You should know details of each course you are interested in, including exact institution and course codes, along with any options you may be required to study. You should also be aware of any particular additional requirements likely to be made of you e.g. Entrance tests for Medicine (BMAT or UKCAT), Law (LNAT).
- A draft of your personal statement. There is no perfect personal statement, each will be different and should be a reflection of you. Be prepared to leave things out; concentrate on what you (and your form tutor) consider important. It is recommended that two-thirds of your personal statement should demonstrate your interest in, and enthusiasm for, your chosen courses.
WRITING A PERSONAL STATEMENT (ADVICE FROM A UNIVERSITY)
- Do brainstorm your ideas on paper before attempting to write anything.
- Do check university websites as they may provide information about what they are looking for from applicants.
- Do aim to use about five paragraphs, making sure that each flows in logical way.
- Do expect to produce several drafts before being totally happy.
- Do ask for feedback from your tutors and from subject specialists
- Do ensure that you use your best English and don’t let silly spelling and grammar mistakes spoil your statement.
- Do be enthusiastic – you can have perfect grades and hundreds of extra-curricular activities and be a really great person but if Admissions Selectors feel you aren’t passionate about your course, it could affect your application.
- Don’t feel that you must use fancy language. If you try too hard to impress with long words that you are not confident using, the focus of your writing may be lost.
- Don’t try to be funny as it is a risk: admissions selectors may not share your sense of humour!
- Don’t lie – if you stretch the truth you may get caught out at interview when you are asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement.
- Don’t waffle on about irrelevant things.
- Don’t copy someone else’s personal statement or ‘borrow’ chunks from existing personal statements. UCAS uses similarity detection software which checks for plagiarism so make sure everything you write is completely original.
- Don’t rely on a spell checker – proof read as many times as possible.
- Don’t ask too many people to read it- lots of conflicting opinions leads to unnecessary confusion and delay.
Funding applications are done privately by you and your parents/carers. We do though arrange for a representative from Student Finance England to come in and talk you through the application process. Applications and funding entitlements change regularly but it is worth looking at the guide below as a good starting point.
Click the SFE icon to the left to login in to Student Finance and the button below for support guide.
- Most replies from universities and colleges are likely to have been received by 31st March, though officially the latest date when you can expect a final decision is in May.
- Those without offers from their original choices may use UCAS Extra. This is active from mid-March to the end of June. Course vacancies will be published on the UCAS website and UCAS will tell you if you are eligible for this scheme.
How to Respond
- You may hold no more than one Firm acceptance.
- You may also hold one Insurance acceptance- this should be lower grades
All other offers must be declined.
- Will be available following the publication of A Level results.
- Sixth Form staff will be prepared for discussion with those students who have not achieved required grades for Conditional Firm or Conditional Insurance offers on the morning of Results Day.
- Is an opportunity for students who have exceeded their expectations in A Levels to “trade up” to a course with more challenging entry requirements. You don’t lose your Firm place whilst you look elsewhere but be aware that availability of places will be extremely limited.