Please note:

Abbeyfield School Context 2021 Applications

https://www.ucas.com/advisers/references/how-write-ucas-undergraduate-references

Due to Covid19, Abbeyfield School was closed all Year 12 students from 18th March 2020 with teaching being via distance learning only until June 15th. Our distance learning strategy for Year 12 provided students with 1 hour per week per subject, of new content, which is in contrast to the 9 hours per fortnight of teaching time usually timetabled. This was supplemented by 60 minutes on-line class contact time with a teacher once a week.  

From Monday 15th October we provided a blended learning approach, with students continuing to access new content from home via distance learning, and the majority returning to school to access a 1 x 60 minute per week in-school contact time with a subject specialist. 

No formal assessments in controlled conditions were able to take place during this time. 

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE- UNIVERISTY

Having a degree is a requirement for an increasing number of professions and graduates can expect to earn considerably more than non-graduates (in 2019, graduates earnt on average, £10,000 pa more than non-graduates).

Securing your degree through studying at university provides an opportunity to leave home and live independently whilst learning, and will provide you with access to a wide range of job roles and opportunities on graduation.

There is an initial cost to studying at university (see below), but over time this is off-set by increased earning potential, as well as the life experience of studying and living away from home.

Undergraduate Degree: Choosing a Course

This is something that you need to be researching NOW.  It is important that you consider both location, and course content. 

Whilst all post-graduate degrees will add value to future employability and earnings, some top employers and professions will also take into account the university where you achieved your degree.

The most prestigious degrees are obtained from Russel Group Universities (https://russellgroup.ac.uk/about/our-universities/ ). 

As you would expect, this is reflected in their entry requirements, which generally will range from A*, A*, A* to a mixture of A*-B, and you will need a strong personal statement to set you aside from other applicants.

Non Russel-Group university courses are accessible with lower entry grades, although the higher the grade requirement (tariff) the better the course.

For some the course will be straight forward as you have chosen a career path that requires a certain degree so you know what you need to achieve.  However, for many professions entry is post-graduate regardless of the degree so you may simply want to take a degree in a subject that you are interested in, rather than specific to a career choice.

There are thousands of different courses, and this can be quite overwhelming. I would suggest looking at list of courses at universities you are interested in attending, These tend to be listed under subject areas, so for example if you are studying Business, look at management and business courses and explore the range of degree courses available.

Be inspired….!!!

That said, this is a big decision, and I would very strongly recommend that you spend some time thinking about this. Choosing the wrong course can result in students dropping out of courses, so if you are at all unsure please talk to friend, parents and teachers before making decision. 

If you are applying to Oxbridge, or hoping to study medical or creative performance courses please see below:

Medical / Veterinary

Deadline: October 15th

You MUST let me know ASAP if you are intending applying for these courses. You have an earlier deadline and we need to support you to achieve this.

Usually you would be expected to provide evidence of work experience in a related environment, but Covid-19 means that is currently not possible, so universities will consider candidates without this, but you can demonstrate other work experience, volunteering etc. This will be evidenced in your personal statement.

You can also access on-line work experience (or, equivalent):

https://www.rcgp.org.uk/training-exams/discover-general-practice/observe-gp.aspx

You will have to complete a UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) before submitting. This year these will be completed on-line, or at a local test centre (details on the link below), and you need to apply now to secure a slot. Bookings open on 1st July.  UCAS are advising booking earlier slots.

https://www.ucat.ac.uk/ucat/ucat-2020-update/

I would strongly recommend completing practise tests on-line: http://practice.ukcat.ac.uk/pages/menu.aspx?pack=bd52c8e6-da13-44a8-ac5d-3a02d2c1e21b

Oxbridge

Deadline: October 15th

You MUST let me know ASAP if you are intending applying for these courses. You have an earlier deadline and we need to support you to achieve this.

We can also direct to you to on-line courses, and locally run programmes that will provide guidance and advise to support you to be successful in a highly competitive environment. 

After submission, you will be required to complete an admissions test, which are at a local test centre (although likely to also be made available on-line this year). Once you receive a request, you need to notify us as we can then book this for you.

I would strongly recommend completing practise tests on-line:     https://oxbridgeapplications.com/mock-tests/

Conservatoires

These are for performance-based courses including music, drama and screen production courses. Conservatoire courses are based around individual tuition, as well as practical training and frequent opportunities to perform.  All teaching staff at conservatoires are working professionals. There is a strong emphasis on one-to-one tuition, alongside group work and performances

Universities offer similar under-graduate courses so please do research all options before making a decision.

The application process is similar, but you will have to attend an interview

For more information, please see UCAS link below: https://www.ucas.com/conservatoires

Deadline: Application deadlines vary, so please use the link to check for your particular course – https://digital.ucas.com/search

Undergraduate Degree: Choosing a University

Think carefully about where you want to spend the next 3 or 4 years. Do you want to look at local universities such as Bath, Gloucester or Bristol, which provides the option to live at home, or do you want to look further away and live independently.

This is a big decision, and I would very strongly recommend that you spend some time thinking about this. Choosing the wrong university can result in students dropping out of courses, or just being very homesick and unhappy. So, if you are at all unsure please talk to friend, parents and teachers before making decision. 

Open Days:

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2021 universities are providing virtual open days, which include 360° tours of campuses, subject specific talks, and seminars on students finance and accommodation. Some universities will require you to register in advance if you wish to attend these, so please check university home pages.

I would strongly recommend that you do visit university campuses and towns before accepting a place at a university as you need to get a good feel for a place before deciding to spend 3 or 4 years there.

Undergraduate Degree: Application

You should start your application as soon as possible, as these take time to completed, and rushed applications tend to lead to hasty and poorly informed decision on universities and / or courses.

You cannot submit your application until

There is excellent step-by-step guidance on the UCAS website: https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-to-university

We would strongly recommend that you do use all five available choices (but choose universities and courses carefully – see above), although you can submit an application with less choices.

University admissions teams will start looking at your application as soon as it’s received. Some will respond with a day or two, others will wait until their own internally set deadline, so response times do vary – but remember to check emails regularly as they will often require quick responses to information sent.

If you are applying for a course where an interview is required as part of the application process (this will be clear on the course details), you are permitted to request absence from school to attend – likewise to visit any campuses before making decisions.

Once you have started your application process you will have to create login details and a password. Do not lose this information as you will need to use this to check status, and accept offers.

Applying Deadlines

Medical, veterinary and Oxbridge: 15th October (internal deadline Friday 2nd October)

Conservatoires, see above.

All other applications: 15th January (internal deadline Friday 10th December)

Applying – Buzzword

As part of our application process, you will be required to provide a ‘Buzzword’.

2020/21 buzzword: Hogwarts

This links you to Abbeyfield School and it is essential that you correctly enter this otherwise we will not have access to process your application.

Applying – Payment

The application fee is £20 to apply for just one course, or £26 for multiple courses and for late applications sent after 30 June 2020. 

This is requested before your application can be submitted.

Applying – Personal Statement

All applications require you to provide a Personal Statement. 

This is your opportunity to stand out from all the other applicants; to tell the university why they should choose you for their course, many of which will be over-subscribed.

The UCAS Personal Statement is your opportunity to tell universities about your suitability for the course/s that you have decided to study.

You need to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment, and above all ensure that you stand out from the crowd.

UCAS website provides some brilliant tips and advice on writing effective personal statements, and I would strongly recommend that you access these before starting, and once you have completed your first draft.

https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/applying-university/writing-personal-statement

Also see Abbeyfield Personal Statement Booklet which provides lots more information and guidance.

DEADLINES:

Your draft personal statement should be completed during term 6 and forwarded to Miss Jones (sxJ@abbeyfield.wilts.sch.uk ), or Mrs Hawker (exh@abbeyfield.wilts.sch.uk ) for feedback.

Your final personal statement should be completed by end of November (September for medial, veterinary or Oxbridge) as you MUST submit you application no later than mid-December to ensure we can finalise your submission for 15th January deadline.

Applying – School Reference

This is completed by your tutor using information supplied by your subject teachers who also write references, and their knowledge of you academic and non-academic achievements. I would strongly suggest that you talk to your tutor to ensure that they are aware of any extra-curricular achievements (volunteering, sports, part time work, leadership roles etc).

Applying – Predicted Grade

Due to the impact of Covid-19 related school closures, this year these will be teacher-assessed grades based on all the work you have completed to date, and our professional judgement of the progress you are likely to make during Year 13.  Any mock exams completed at the point of writing will also form part of your overall grade.

Teachers will be as positive as possible with these grades as we want you to be successful in securing a place at your preferred university, but grades do need to be evidence based.

If you need a particular grade, talk to your teacher so they are aware of what you need to achieve to secure a place.

Undergraduate Degree: Finance

Course fees are typically £9,250 per year, paid via student loan that you repay following graduation.  You can chose to pay fees upfront rather than taking out a student loan.

Undergraduate courses are generally 3 years, but an increasingly number of courses have a 4-year option, which includes a work placement year, often with the opportunity to complete this abroad.

You also need to factor in your cost of living, including accommodation if you are attending a university away from home. This varies depending on your choice of university and standard of accommodation.  You are also able to apply for maintenance grants to cover some of these costs, which are assessed based on your parent’s income.

There is lots of information on finance on the UCAS website:  https://www.ucas.com/money and individual universities will also provide their own information via their home pages.

Undergraduate Degree- Next Steps

Once you have submitted your application, you will start to receive emails from universities so you need to check our emails regularly.

Some courses may require you to complete admissions tests, attend interviews and / or applicant days so you need to make sure you don’t overlook any requests. Offers will be made following interviews etc.

For other courses, you will receive an immediate conditional or unconditional offer.

A conditional offer is subject to achieving certain grades in your exams.

An unconditional offer is just that, an offer based on your application and predicted grades only.  Whilst this sounds great, as there is less pressure on exam grades and you have the security of knowing where you are going to be studying and can even book your accommodation (and your Ikea trip), you need to think about the quality of a course where they are less concerned about your actual grades.

Our advice would always be to have a discussion with teachers before accepting an unconditional offer.

If you accept an unconditional offer, you must remember that whilst the university may not require a certain grade, employers will most definitely be looking at A Level / BTEC grades.  Do you really want to leave school without achieving qualification that will enable you to be successful in your future career – and which you can be proud of?

The process of accepting courses is relatively straight forward, although be aware that you cannot accept a place until you have had a response from all universities.

If your firm choice is conditional, you can also accept an insurance (back-up) choice. If your place in conditional, the university will ask you to reject all other offers in order to accept this place.

There is no pressure to make early decisions if you don’t want to, as you have until May make your final decision. Any offers are valid until this date, although some unconditional will ask you to immediately accept to secure your place. Again, do not do so without discussing with a teacher.

There is lot of information to help you with tracking your application, and next steps, on the UCAS link below:

https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/after-you-apply/track-your-ucas-application

DEGREE APPRENTICESIP

Having a degree is a requirement for an increasing number of professions and graduates can expect to earn considerably more than non-graduates (in 2019, graduates earnt on average, £10,000 pa more than non-graduates).

Securing your degree through an employer means that you will be working whilst studying.  This is hard work, and is certainly not the easy option, but is a very good decision if you are confident about your future career path and you don’t mind missing out on the university experience. 

Salaries are at entry-level, but employer are also paying the cost of your degree course. Some will also offer subsidised accommodation or travel if you need to relocate for your work.

As your employer has invested in your degree, you will be expected to remain with your employer for the duration of your studies, and a number of years following this. If you leave, they would be entitled to ask you to pay the cost of your degree. 

As you are working at the same time, it will take typically 4-5 years to secure your degree rather than 3 years.  

You will spend approximately 80% of your time working , with 20% set aside for study – this may be on a university campus.

Degree apprenticeships are advertised through employers, and you will have to complete a rigorous selection process to be successful.  They are highly sought after, and very competitive. You will need top grades, as well as be able to demonstrate personal experience and qualities that make you stand out from other applicants. 

All employers who offer Higher Apprenticeships are government approved, and subject to stringent checks to monitor the quality of the training.  

Dependent on the Covid-19 situation in September, we are hoping to run some workshops in school with ASK Apprenticeships, who work with National Apprenticeship Service (part of the Department for Education).

In the interim, there is also more information on Degree Apprenticeships on both UCAS and Government Apprenticeship websites:

https://www.ucas.com/understanding-apprenticeships/what-types-of-apprenticeships-are-there/degree-apprenticeships

https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship

HIGHER APRPENTICESHIP

These are full-time job with a study element – typically a 30-hour working week, plus a day of study toward professional qualifications through and approved awarding body.

Any Tuition fees are paid by your employer but, as with degree apprenticeships, you must commit to remaining with your employer, so you need to be 100% sure about the sector you are entering before you apply. 

Degree apprenticeships are advertised through employers, and you will have to complete a rigorous selection process to be successful.  They are highly sought after, and very competitive. You will need good grades, as well as be able to demonstrate personal experience and qualities that make you stand out from other applicants. 

All employers who offer Higher Apprenticeships are government approved, and subject to stringent checks to monitor the quality of the training. 

Dependent on the Covid-19 situation in September, we are hoping to run some workshops in school with ASK Apprenticeships, who work with National Apprenticeship Service (part of the Department for Education).

In the interim, there is also more information on Higher Apprenticeships on both UCAS and Government Apprenticeship websites:

https://www.ucas.com/understanding-apprenticeships/what-types-of-apprenticeships-are-there/degree-apprenticeships

https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship