University education is more than the next level in the learning process; it is a critical component of human development worldwide. It enables individuals to expand their knowledge and skills, express their thoughts clearly in speech and in writing, grasp abstract concepts and theories, and increase their understanding of the world and their community.
It provides not only the high-level skills necessary for every labour market but also the training essential for teachers, doctors, nurses, civil servants, engineers, humanists, entrepreneurs, scientists, social scientists, and a myriad of other personnel. It is these trained individuals who develop the capacity and analytical skills that drive local economies, support civil society, teach children, lead effective governments, and make important decisions which affect entire societies.
A university education exposes students to a rich cultural and social environment. This gives every student a chance to interact with people coming from varying geographical, social and financial backgrounds. In the act of meeting new people, you learn new things and new ways of learning things.
Higher education improves an individual’s quality of life. Studies show that, compared to high school graduates, college graduates have longer life spans, better access to health care, better dietary and health practices, greater economic stability and security, more prestigious employment and greater job satisfaction, less dependency on government assistance, greater knowledge of government, greater community service and leadership, more volunteer work, more self-confidence, and less criminal activity and incarceration.
An educated populace is vital in today’s world, with the convergent impacts of globalization, the increasing importance of knowledge as a main driver of growth, and the information and communication revolution. Knowledge accumulation and application have become major factors in economic development and are increasingly at the core of a country’s competitive advantage in the global economy.
In the sixth form, whilst the key focus is on applications to university, we provide students with information on all their options. These are:
- to pursue further education at a college
- higher education at university
- advanced apprenticeship
- gap year – deferred entry to university, organised gap year, employment gap year prior to entry to university, travel gap year travelling independently.
Percentage of pupils going to university:
- 2016 – 39%
- 2017 – 58%
- 2018 – 51%
- 2019 – 58%
- 2020 – 77%
Research and application timeline
Throughout year 12 make sure you attend any higher education information sessions provided by staff.
October to December
- Start to explore the range of possibilities open to you using UCAS.com
- Discuss your options with the academy careers advisor and parents.
January to March
- Prepare for and attend an HE convention (such as the HE Convention at the University of Kent at Canterbury). Record your thoughts on your activity sheets.
- Start researching suitable courses and entry requirements in depth and record your findings.
April to July
- Draw up a shortlist of possible courses and institutions.
- Order prospectuses (if you don’t already have them) from the UCAS website or individual institutions.
- Attend university open days and record your thoughts and impressions.
- Decide which subjects you want to continue next year.
- Arrange work experience if its needed for your course.
- Research the financial support to which you might be entitled, including loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships and discuss with parents or guardians.
Throughout year 13 make sure you attend any higher education information sessions provided by staff.
- Review your course choices in the light of your summer exam results.
- Start filling in your UCAS application form online.
- Register on the www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance website as soon as possible in the autumn term of your HE application year eg. The start of Year 13 in September. You may have to wait until December to start the application process properly, that is, once government has published updates on regulations. You can start applying for HE student finance in December of Year 13 (or your application year). The application process usually takes 4 to 6 weeks from initial application to offer of entitlement from SFE. If there is a change of circumstance, such as change of university destination, you need to complete a change of circumstance form. This process will not take long as many details stay the same, such as income. Don’t wait until you know which university you are going to before starting the application process.
- Deadline for applications to Oxford and Cambridge.
- Deadline for applications to courses in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and veterinary science.
- January 15th
- Deadline for all other UCAS applications.
- Go to www.ucas.com/students/coursesearch to check application deadlines for all courses.
January to April
- Apply for bursaries, sponsorship or scholarships, as appropriate.
- Apply for financial assistance online and by the deadline.
- Student Finance England recommends that “…students sort out their student finance as early as possible – as this takes a lot of pressure off them and their parents and allows them to start their course with their finance in place.”
- UCAS Extra open for those not holding an offer.
February to May
- Receive, consider and respond to offers.
- Remember that your ‘Insurance’ choice should be asking for lower grades than your ‘Firm’ choice.
- Deadline for late applications to avoid going into Clearing automatically.
- Receive results and confirm your place or apply through Clearing if necessary.
- Consider Adjustment if appropriate and desired.
- Respond to offers of accommodation and don’t forget to insure your belongings.