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Welcome to A Parents’ Guide to Surviving UCAS

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1 Welcome to A Parents’ Guide to Surviving UCAS

2 The number of our students going to university has increased year on year. In 2011, 114/146 progressed to Higher or Further Education. In 2012, 136/189 progressed to Higher or Further Education. In 2013, 176/207 progressed to Higher or Further Education. A remarkable 59% of this year’s students have received offers from a Russell Group or 1994 Group universities. In addition to this 30 students have offers to take an Art or Media Foundation Course at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication.

3 What we have all done so far... Assemblies about post Bullers Wood aspirations (apprenticeships, careers, university) Form Tutor discussions about potential avenues after Year 13 Higher Education & Careers Evening Promotion of: –Open days –Summer Schools –London Taster Days –Conferences for specific subjects and universities Work Experience Careers talks: MOOCs Preparing for university UEA course Visit to the UCAS convention at Goldsmiths, London University

4 https://www.futurelearn.com/ MOOC COURSES

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10 Other useful guides/websites z_of_universities n/universities-and-colleges/ Stonewall University Guide Books The Times Good University Guide HEAP 2014: University Degree Course Passing the UKCAT and BMAT: Advice, Guidance and Over 600 Questions for Revision and Practice (Student Guides to University Entrance Series

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15 UCAS Home page Search for courses starting in 2015 here

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17 380 COURSES

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22 Bullers Wood UCAS Timeline One to one interview with Form Tutor this term UCAS/Career days July Wednesday:Statement workshop day Thursday: Students register with UCAS and attend careers and UCAS workshops Friday: Non school day to work on application form Summer holidays: Undertake ‘super-curricular’ activities such as Wex, MOOCs and the EPQ There will be a catch up session for all students on trips during enterprise week UCAS predicted grades are generated, and subject references are completed, by the end of July All Year 12s will be given UCAS predicted grades at the end of term Sixth Form team are allocated Tutor groups to oversee the UCAS process Beginning of September : Academic references will have been completed by tutors Friday 5th September: Deadline for students’ second draft to be ready for their tutors Their first draft will have been created at the personal statement workshop End of September: Students must have completed forms, paid UCAS and sent to referee

23 We aim to send applications before October half term. “the early bird catches the worm....”

24 Competitive Courses On 17th July (Thursday) afternoon there will be a meeting for students applying for highly competitive academic courses / institutions Early UCAS deadline for Oxbridge / Medicine / Veterinary / Dentistry: 15 th October 2013 Bullers Wood deadline: Friday 4 th October

25 Personal Statement Encourage them to find out exactly what universities are looking for by using the UCAS search tool. To help prepare they could list key points, strengths and evidence to justify why they have chosen the subject. Include: What interests them about the subject?: They need to show they understand what is required to study the course Why they are suitable to take the course: List their skills and experience and show why university is the logical step If they are applying to several different courses it can be hard to make the personal statement fit them all properly. They could look for common themes and about those. Demonstrate maturity and include positions of responsibility and achievements. THE PERSONAL STATEMENT MUST BE ORIGINAL AND NOT CONTAIN MATERIALS COPIED FROM OTHER SOURCES. COPING WILL BE IDENTIFIED BY UCAS AND THE UNIVERISITIES WILL BE INFORMED!

26 The good, the bad – and the hilarious! We do go through all UCAS statements to make sure that they are technically correct and that they read well. We sometimes find a few that make us chuckle – and we thought it only fair to share them with you. “I have always wanted to be a midwife. My ambition is to help couples at every stage of the process – from the moment of conception to the actual birth” We do hope that not too much help and encouragement will be needed in the initial stages. Another one: “I looked at the many routes that Biology could take me, but through the endless list, Optometry caught my eye.” This started the workplace banter of “what a superb pupil this student is” “they have set their sights high”– and the banter soon became corny-er than that! Both examples above are the actual words used in applications processed at this school; we strongly suggested to the students that they amended them before submission.

27 The good, the bad – and the hilarious! Another situation that can cause amusement is the lack of a spellchecker facility when completing a personal statement on UCAS. “and” can easily be typed as “nad” – and can be embarrassing and/or humourous in the wrong context “as well” can easily be typed as “a swell” – and is equally humourous in the wrong context. The moral of the story is to prepare the personal statement in “Word” with a spellchecker – and only transpose it when finished.....and sometimes we can get it wrong too, such as the reference that indicated a student came from “a large girls’ comprehensive school” – that conjured up an image of our Snack Shack being overused!! All personal statements should be read aloud by the writer and amended to allow for breathing – commas and full stops DO have their uses! After that a student should then read their statement aloud to a friend or family member – and make amendments. Finally someone else should read the statement to the student – often the meaning of a sentence can seem totally different to the original intention of the writer – and remember - this is how a University Admission’s Officer would read it.

28 Top 10 most overused personal statement opening sentences 1.I am currently studying a BTEC National Diploma in... (used 464 times) 2. From a young age I have always been interested in... (309 times) 3. From an early age I have always been interested in... (292 times) 4. Nursing is a very challenging and demanding career... (275 times) 5. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with... (196 times) 6. "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only”... (189 times) 7. Nursing is a profession I have always looked upon with... (178 times) 8. For as long as I can remember I have been interested in... (166 times) 9. I am an International Academy student and have been studying since... (141 times) 10. Academically, I have always been a very determined and... (138 times) Reproduced from the 'UCAS Guide to Getting into University and College' with permission of UCAS - available from

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30 Name X is high calibre student who has made exceptional progress at this girls’ comprehensive school since September 200*. Name X has consistently been the top performing student, gaining the highest GCSE and AS grades in her year group; a richly deserved achievement. Name X is a meticulously organised, intensely self-motivated and quietly reflective student who is well suited to a degree course in X. Name X is an exceptionally able student. She made excellent progress through Key Stage 3 and 4 of this large Academy school for girls and was among the top performing GCSE students in her year group. Her powers of analysis and problem solving are impressive and she is able to assimilate new concepts with ease. Name X is an intelligent, conscientious and reliable student. She joined this large comprehensive school for girls in 200* and made good progress through Key Stages 3 and 4. Name X is popular amongst both staff and her peers and has continued to impress with her commitment and enthusiasm towards all her ventures. Name X is an outgoing and well-motivated student. He/she joined Bullers Wood Sixth Form in 2012 having spent Year 7-11 at a successful grammar school. He/she has shown himself/herself to be a natural when interacting with others and possesses the necessary key skill to work independently, which will stand him/her in good stead for his/her chosen subject at degree level. Name X is an outgoing and motivated student, who would be well suited to studying X at degree level. He/she joined our sixth form in 201x and made sound progress through Key Stages 3 and 4 at a local boys’/girls' school. He/she has a sound work ethic, and works to a good standard both independently and in groups. Name X is a popular member of Bullers Wood Sixth Form who would be well suited to studying X at degree level. She joined this large comprehensive school for girls in 200* and made sound progress. She works to a good standard both independently and in groups. She is also confident and will always participate willingly in discussions. Universities are increasingly asking for additional information on students’ backgrounds as part of the ‘Widening Participation’ scheme. –If the student is the first generation in the family to go to university. –If there are any other factors that may have impeded their academic progress. –If the student came from a school with a low percentage of 5 A*- C GCSE grades

31 Xxxx is a high calibre student. She joined this large all ability Sixth Form in 200x having spent Years 7 to 11 at challenging school where she was one of the highest achieving students. She is among the top performers at AS level and has adjusted well to her new environment and the transition to AS level. Xxxx is a self motivated, perceptive and reflective student who is well suited to a degree course related to XXXXXXX. Xxxx contributes to school life in various ways. She is the Xxxx Prefect, with responsibilities to assist at Open Evenings and as an Ambassador for the school; and she was also Head Girl and a member of the School Council at her previous school, where she gained a Head Teacher's Award. Xxxx has achieved her Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award and she is currently part of the team organising the end of year Sixth Form Ball. Outside school, Xxxx pursues dance at the XXXXX Youth Dance Company and enjoys World Cinema and music. She is an intelligent, charming, and resourceful student with a very mature attitude who would thrive in the atmosphere of a top academic institution where she will prove to be a wonderful asset. Xxxxx is a sensitive young woman who has shown an impressive maturity and reflective attitude to her studies. Her enthusiasm for everything she undertakes is balanced by a sincere desire to achieve. She is involved in a wide range of extracurricular activities, both at school and in her own time, and is well organised and self motivated. She is extremely pleasant and has a friendly and personably character. Xxxxx has worked tirelessly to prepare herself for Midwifery. She has organised and undertaken work experience and attended a range of conferences and lectures. Combined with her natural good nature and calm character we have no doubt that she will be an asset to any course and is well suited to her chosen career path of midwifery. Outside of lessons, Xxxxx is a trustworthy student who was appointed to the role of Senior Prefect in which she has performed many tasks to assist the school community. She is also a very highly regarded 'Listening Ear', assisting younger students by discussing their problems and issues. This role is much appreciated by students and staff alike. Xxxxx is a delightful student who will unreservedly enjoy and exploit all the opportunities offered to her during undergraduate study. She has really impressed members of staff with her determination to participate in activities related to Midwifery and has developed contacts in the Royal College of Midwives. We feel that Xxxxx has many qualities that are crucial to becoming a successful Midwife. We wholeheartedly recommend her to your course.

32 Important dates for your diary : Year 13 Parents’ evening: 6 November 2014 Year 13 Academic Review day: 12 th March 2015 Although I didn’t discuss student finance at the presentation these are really useful websites https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/overview

33 Any Questions?


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