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How to apply for university

Published on 09/09/19

Having made subject choices it is necessary to complete the UCAS application online at Students are linked to the sixth form UCAS account through a unique “buzzword” which is given to them in May. It is also given to post qualification students that we continue to support. Students are taken through the registration process and associated complex instructions during an assembly and lesson where they receive full instructions and personalised help where necessary. Students require specific information about qualifications gained at previous schools, drama, music qualifications, residential status and nationality;  we ask that this preliminary material is entered into their account during June. 

The personal statement is covered in our personal statement section and is the responsibility of the student.  Assistance from the Guidance team and tutors is available during the workshops and allocated tutorial slots and we encourage students to interact with these sessions enthusiastically. Please note that all personal statements are checked by UCAS for plagiarism as part of their standard process and students are responsible for making sure that their application is error-free.

Students can make between one and five choices (four for medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine). If fewer than the maximum number of choices is made when the form is first submitted, the student can add further choices up to the maximum at a later date, before the final UCAS deadline in January. Please note that the personal statement and reference cannot be altered once the first choice has been entered and form submitted to UCAS.

The reference is, in part, a response to the personal statement so it is very important that the deadlines for this process are closely adhered to. For this reason all students should have provided their tutor with the first draft of their personal statement and discussed it with them by the end of June. During June, tutors will consult with the students teachers in order to provide specific examples of academic achievements in the reference. A specific member of the Guidance team collates the final version of the reference to ensure it addresses the course specificity and students are able to read this before it is sent if they have adhered to the internal deadlines.

Once the form has been completed by the student and every section has been checked as complete it is ready to send to UCAS and a fee (currently £20-single choice, or £26 - multiple choices) payable by the student. At this stage it actually comes to us to check and supply predicted grades and the reference. It is essential that students adhere to our internal deadlines to provide us with sufficient time to do this. The students will have received their UCAS predicted grades following the June examinations and will have had a chance to discuss these prior to submission of their UCAS form. Whilst the students final predicted grade may alter after the UCAS form has been submitted the UCAS grade is not changeable after this point.

Once the form has been checked, predicted grades and reference attached by the Guidance team it is sent to UCAS and students will receive a confirmation email. UCAS then distributes it to the chosen universities and communication at that stage is primarily with the student. It is essential therefore that students stay abreast of the email account they have used in their application. It is not possible to change the university or course choice at this stage. The school is notified of all offers, their conditions and rejections through UCAS tracking. This process also applies to post qualification applications that the sixth form continues to support. 

Each university will consider the application and then communicate with the student directly. This could be to give an offer conditional upon Year 13 results or to give an invitation to attend an interview. Sometimes, they will ask for GCSE or AS examination certificates or evidence of other qualifications that have been declared in the application. This is simply part of their checking procedure and no concern should be felt. Please note that all public examination results including resits and examinations failed must be entered – a grade must not be left off under any circumstances.

It is, of course, possible that a university will send a rejection either after an interview or simply straight away. It would be easy for a student to take this personally but please realise that the system is highly competitive and the admissions tutors have to take a very wide range of information into account. The system is certainly not perfect but please be encouraged to know that everyone concerned tries their best to ensure that the correct decisions are made. In the end, things do work out. We appreciate that the process is not always an easy ride but we are here to support you through it. If a student is unfortunately rejected from all the universities on the form, they can use the UCAS ‘extra’ service to apply, after the deadlines, to further universities and ultimately to use clearing during the summer months.

The UCAS website ( provides excellent information to students and parents about the whole process including how and when to respond to the offers and what to do on the results day in the summer.