At Tring School over 75% of our Year 13 Leavers go on to study at University, with some choosing to take a gap year before starting higher education.
Our aim is to ensure that students are given the support and guidance they need to make the best possible choices about what and where to study, and to give them the knowledge and tools to make a successful application.
We have a comprehensive programme of support for students who apply to University, which begins in March of Year 12 and continues right through to A Level results day and beyond. Mrs Beck works as a dedicated UCAS Coordinator delivering one to one support to students, and running group sessions and whole year group presentations on every aspect of the UCAS application process. This ensures that students have all the information they need to make informed and appropriate choices for their futures.
We have also pulled together lots of useful information on this site to help both students and parents navigate their way through the University application process.
For any queries about the UCAS application process please feel free to email Mrs Beck (email@example.com)
Choosing a university course
Choosing a university course isn’t always easy
There are many types of degrees, so deciding which course to do is a big and often daunting decision.
To assist you, we have produced a helpful guide outlining the key points you need to consider when deciding which degree subject to apply for, and to help you narrow down your options.There are also lots of useful websites below to help you with your University research.
This short video covers the key things to consider when making your final UCAS choices.We also run dedicated sessions with students throughout the year, covering all aspects of the application process, and Mrs Beck is always on hand to speak to students who need advice.
University Comparison Sites
University League Tables
University Events, Open Days, Taster Days & Webinars
Oxbridge, medicine, veterinary & dentistry
Students looking to apply to these courses need to start researching and preparing for their applications in the summer term in order to ensure they put in a competitive application.
The deadline to apply to any course at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or for most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry is 15 October, which is significantly earlier than the 15 January deadline for most other courses.
Students applying to these courses will receive full support from the school. Please watch this presentation if you would like further information about applying to Oxbridge/Medicine/Veterinary/Dentistry courses.
We are also pleased to be able to share with you some useful insights, hints and tips about the Oxbridge/Medicine application process from some of our ex students:
English Language & Literature
University of Oxford
University of Cambridge
University of Sheffield
Medicine, Veterinary & Dentistry Resources
What is a Degree Apprenticeship?
Degree apprenticeships are a new type of programme offered by some universities. Students can achieve a full bachelor's or master's degree as part of their apprenticeship.
Degree Apprenticeships are a bit like being sponsored through your degree. You have a job with a company and your employer pays for your degree tuition fees. You study for your degree while working. As a Degree Level Apprentice, you will be earning money while you learn and have no student debt hanging over you when you graduate.
Here is a useful short video summarising the main differences between Degree Apprenticeships and full-time University.If you have a career in mind and know what you want to do, a Degree Apprenticeship can be a great way to get your degree and you will also graduate with 3/4 years work experience and no debt.
Degree apprenticeships will not be right for everyone, particularly if you have a burning desire to study something purely academic, like History or languages, but for some, it could provide a clear pathway to achieving your career ambitions.
Advantages of Degree Apprenticeships
The advantages of studying for your chosen career via a degree apprenticeship are:
- You will be paid by your employer while you train – the salary you will receive varies but it will be at least minimum wage and sometimes more.
- Your employer will also pay your tuition fees, so you will graduate debt free
- Your chances of being offered a permanent job on graduation by your employer are high – after all they’ve invested a lot of time and money in your training and moulded you to their requirements, so why wouldn’t they?
- You will still get your degree or in some cases a postgraduate qualification
Disadvantages of Degree Apprenticeships
- Your university experience will not by typical of other students – you will not be living on campus and will only attend part time.
- You will be working up to 30 hours a week and will also have to study evenings and weekends. It is certainly not an easy option.
The application process
Degree Apprenticeship vacancies are advertised by the companies recruiting, in the same way a job would be. Companies could be recruiting for Degree Apprentices all year round but you may also find an increase in the number of vacancies advertised after A-level results. Each one has its own closing date and there is not an application cycle or process that is common to all.
Below are some of the key websites to research Degree Apprenticeship Vacancies:
- Rate my Apprenticeship
- Find an Apprenticeship
- Career finder
- Get My First Job
- All about School Leavers
- The Big Choice
- Not Going to Uni
- Amazing Apprenticeships
A degree apprenticeship is the same as applying for a job and is not linked to the university application process. Therefore, if you are unsure which route you want to take, you are encouraged to apply for both and decide when the time is right. You may find you get offered a degree apprenticeship and a university place and then you can make the choice.
For further information about Degree Apprenticeships please watch this presentation that was delivered to Tring School students by David Ritchie, who is an experienced careers advisor.
The Application Process
The university application process may seem daunting - however students will receive lots of support at Tring School.
Mrs Beck runs a dedicated lesson with students on how to complete the online application, along with detailed instructions. She will also carry out a thorough check of all applications before they are sent off to UCAS.
This short video from the University of Hertfordshire covers the key aspects of the application process, highlighting what is required at each stage.
We have also compiled this helpful guide that provides an overview of the application process with key dates for your diary.
Completing Your University Application
Writing a personal statement is probably one of the most difficult parts of the UCAS application process. Many students will not have done much creative writing since GCSE, and even if you have, it's still very hard to write about yourself.
The personal statement is now regarded by Admissions Tutors as the most important part of the application form because it enables an Admissions Tutor to identify potential beyond the grades.
We have produced this short 'Guide to Writing a Winning Personal Statement' to help you with this process, and to make sure you end up with a personal statement that really sells you to the University.
Personal Statements - Finding A Formula
It is also worth watching this video which provides an excellent summary of the Do’s and Don’ts in relation your personal statement.
Students get lots of support from Tring School when they come to write their personal statement. As well as running dedicated lessons and assemblies on personal statement writing, Mrs Beck will review your personal statement up to two times, and you are also encouraged to ask your subject teachers to review your statement. And don't forget to ask your parents! They can help with the all important spelling/grammar check, and they can also assist you in ensuring the statement is within the required word count.
UCAS Personal Statement Builder: This tool is designed to help you think about what to include in your personal statement, and how to structure it. Use the tool to start building your personal statement over time by saving your progress as you go.
Pure Potential Personal statement library: Annotated past personal statements from undergraduates.
Studential Personal Statement examples: Browse over 2,000 university personal statement examples by subject.
Some courses are more likely to require you to attend an interview as part of your application. Subjects that typically ask candidates to interview include Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Education, Music and Art & Design.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and social science applications are less likely to include an interview. However, some universities will interview for courses which are not typically interviewed for, especially if they are highly regarded or popular. Oxford and Cambridge will not offer candidates a place without an interview, regardless of the course. University College London and Imperial College London will often invite candidates for an interview.
Being asked to attend an interview is the mark of an excellent application, but you will be competing against other strong candidates, so it's important to prepare well. Follow the university interview tips below to help increase your chances for success.
Students who are invited for an interview are encouraged to request a mock interview with our careers advisor. Please email Mrs White (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can organise this for you. Mrs Beck is also happy to do a mock interview with you, so do email her if you would like to arrange this (email@example.com).
medicine, veterinary & denTistry interviews
There are plenty of student finance options available to fund your degree. Student loans can include a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan to help with your University living costs.
- Tuition fee loans cover the full cost of your course, and are paid directly to the course provider, and you won’t have to pay it back until after your course, when you’re earning above a certain level.
- Maintenance loans can be applied for at the same time, lending you money at the start of each term (or monthly in Scotland). How much you get depends on your household income, where you study, where you live and how long for.
- Students can also apply for grants if they’re eligible for certain benefits, disabled, or need help with childcare costs. You can also find out more on the student finance pages on GOV.UK.
Applications for student finance usually open in February and close at the end of May in order to guarantee you receive your money in time for the start of your course. It can take up to 6 weeks for us to process your application, so be sure to apply as soon as you can.
The What Uni Guide to Student Finance explains the basics of student loans and bank accounts, and also gives some practical hints and tips about money management, with advice from experts and university students.
Martin Lewis Video: Student Loans Decoded
We would highly recommend you watch this film which is a no-nonsense, authoritative guide to student finance and the real impact of higher education on both students’ and parents’ pockets.
If you don’t have the time to watch this, the University of Hertfordshire have produced a short bitesize video summarising the main points you need to know about student finance:
student finance, scholarships & Money
Students who are interested in International study will receive support with their application from Tring School.
However, it is important that students begin their research 12-18 months before they actually travel. Applying overseas is much more complicated compared to applying to UK Universities, and there is a lot more to think about and do. Students should therefore leave plenty of time to sort out applications, funding, visas and accommodation.
Things to think about:
- Choosing your course: Once you've decided where you'd like to study, research all of your shortlisted programmes fully. You could begin by discovering how your potential institutions rank globally in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, before visiting university websites and talking to lecturers, tutors and careers advisers. You also need to check that the qualification you will receive will be recognised in the UK. Students should avoid programmes that don't transfer academic credit towards your award.
- Funding: Overseas tuition fees vary widely. Some countries, including Australia and the USA, set very high fees for international students while other countries, such as China, are much more affordable. However, you must also bear in mind the overall cost of living, not just the tuition fee. It is important to discuss funding options with your chosen university. There are many scholarships and bursaries available to help with the cost, including those from external bodies. To secure your visa and eligibility for a place on the course, it's likely that you'll need to prove you have enough money to meet living costs. You should check with institutions directly to find out what their requirements are.
- Applying for a course: The best way to ensure that you get onto a course is to speak directly to the University you are interested in. Many universities will help you through the process. Some countries require students to pass entrance exams before they're accepted, so it is important to research the entry requirements.
- Obtaining your visa: You must get the appropriate visa as part of your application. Give yourself plenty of time to sort this, and also consider whether you'll have to renew it at any point during your stay. Immigration legislation changes frequently, so refer to the relevant national websites.
- Budgeting for your course: Saving money ahead of international study is often overlooked, so create an action plan and begin saving well in advance. Some university websites provide estimates of your outgoings. The cost of living abroad can be huge, so don't forget to factor living costs into your planning. Many universities offer campus accommodation, but there are often cheaper options available.
- Obtaining insurance and getting health checks: There are numerous student insurance options available. Insurance is essential, so be prepared to pay extra for comprehensive cover. Some countries require you to have vaccinations before you enter. Others, such as New Zealand, have very specific healthcare obligations that must be met. Regardless of where you're heading to, you should visit your doctor for a full medical check-up before you leave. You can sort out ongoing prescriptions or specific medical requirements with your GP too - just leave enough time to arrange this before your departure.
- The University Guys is an organisation that specialises in helping students who want to study abroad. Whilst they charge for individual support, they also offer free access to lots of useful articles, blogs, guides, webinars and podcasts in relation to studying overseas.
Fulbright Commission: The starting point for information about study in the USA
QSA Top Universities: Information about overseas study worldwide.
The Complete Guide to Studying Abroad: This is a very comprehensive guide for students interested in studying overseas.
Studee: Useful site for University research, application guidance, and visa and travel advice.
Taking a Gap Year
The global pandemic has had a major impact on worldwide travel in 2020 and so many gap year opportunities are being put on hold. However, there are some viable alternatives.
Find out what these are in the articles below:
If travel restrictions ease this year, you may still have the chance to spend part of your gap year abroad. It’s not uncommon for those taking a gap year to spend the first six months working and then to travel for the remaining six. Be sure to keep yourself updated by checking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for government advice.
There are a vast array of Gap year companies offering volunteering and paid opportunities. Here is a comprehensive list of the main ones:
Conservatoires are small, specialist higher education institutions that offer education and training in the performing arts in the disciplines of music, acting, dance and circus arts, as well as theatre and film production.
Conservatoires UK is an umbrella organisation for 11 specialist music, performing arts and production arts conservatoires across the UK. Each conservatoire has its own strengths and specialisms, so it’s important to research all of them to find the right fit for you. For example, although all conservatoires offer music courses, only two offer drama courses, and some offer subjects like film and production.
The conservatoires in the UCAS scheme are:
- Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
- Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
- Leeds Conservatoire
- Royal Academy of Music
- Royal College of Music
- Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
- Royal Northern College of Music
- Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
- Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Other conservatoires may operate outside the UCAS Conservatoire scheme.You may have to apply to them directly or through the UCAS Undergraduate scheme. If the conservatoire is not listed above, check with them to find out more about their admissions process.
For further information about studying at a Conservatoire, please refer to this detailed guide.
Preparing for University
Starting university can be a daunting prospect.
This short video from the University of Hertfordshire gives you a quick overview of what you can do to prepare.
preparing for university
In School Presentations
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Post 18 Options 2022-23
19 April 2022
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Applying through UCAS for courses 2023
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Student finance and managing your money
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Year 13 replying to offers
15 March 2022
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How to make a UCAS Application
27 May 2021
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Parents/Carers Useful Resources
As a parent or carer, you provide an important element of stability at a time of change for your children. The emotional backup and support you offer can really help them in their transition to university life.
However the selection and application process can seem complicated, especially if you have not been to university yourself. If you have, that may have been some time ago and things have probably changed. There’s plenty of great information online for students, but not as much designed specifically for parents, so it can be quite complicated to track down the exact information you need.
As a starting point, the UCAS site has got lots of resources and information dedicated to helping parents and carers support students applying to University and you are encouraged to sign up to the UCAS Parent monthly newsletter.
This Parents Guide to Higher Education also provides an excellent overview of the UCAS process and the key timelines.
Parents/Carers who have specific questions related to the UCAS process can also contact Mrs Beck who will be happy to assist. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Resources for parents / carers
Preparing for Results Day
No matter what your results are, you have options available to you.
Unconditional Offer Holders
If this is you, results day is a formality. However, still double check all terms and conditions of your offer and be sure you want to study the course.
If your grades are better than expected
Your hard work has paid off and there are several options available to you:
- Stick to your original Conditional Firm (CF) university choice
- Take a year out and reapply to a university with higher entry requirements next year
- Look for alternative courses. Only once you’ve been offered and accepted an alternative course should you then self release into clearing to add this new course choice onto UCAS Track.
If you miss your grades
Check UCAS Track to see if you’ve been accepted. Even if you just miss your grades, you may find your Conditional Firm or Conditional Insurance still offers you a place, as the university may be short of applicants or other offer-holders could've got worse results than you.
If UCAS track doesn’t show you as accepted, it’s worth calling the university and asking directly if they'll accept you. If they don’t offer you a place on the course you applied for, they may offer you a similar course.
If however both of your choices have been rejected, you can:
- Go through Clearing – this is where UCAS matches students without places to courses without students
- Reapply next year
- Take a gap year – this can give you some valuable head space to think about your future and the extra experience could enrich your personal statement
UCAS Clearing is a system that operates between July and September. It is a second chance to get your place at university. You can participate in Clearing if you have already applied through UCAS and one of the following situations applies to you:
- You have not received any offers
- You have declined all your offers or not responded by the due date.
- Your offers have not been confirmed because you have not met the conditions (for example, you have not achieved the required grades).
- You have declined a changed course, a changed date of entry and/or changed point of entry offer.
- You’re applying after 30 June 2023
- You’ve declined your Firm place using the ‘decline my place’ button in Track (only use this button if you are sure you no longer want your place)
You can search for Clearing courses from July to September each year on the UCAS website. UCAS will also personally match you to courses you may be interested in.
There is lots of information about the Clearing process on the UCAS website, and Mrs Beck will provide further support and guidance to students in the run up to results day.
Whether you get the grades you need, do better than expected or fall a bit short, this Guide to A Level Results Day will tell you all you need to know about your next steps.
For further detail about how clearing works, this webinar also covers lots of useful information.