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Despite students leaving us at the end of year 11, as part of our commitment to Careers Education, Information and Guidance, we aim to explore all post-18 options available to students to ensure they are fully informed for their career journey.  This section is designed to provide students and parents with information about university so that it is an important consideration in their decision-making.  There are other opportunities for students to explore university options through curriculum subjects, the What Next event on ACE Day 2 and regular informative visits from UCC Alumni currently attending University.

Why should I go?

Going to university will offer you many different opportunities which might impact your future career and career decisions.  Continuing an educational journey post-18 demonstrates to employers your commitment to lifelong learning and personal development.  University courses develop transferable skills which are important to all places of work.  University study potentially gives you a higher earning capacity as you progress through your career

What is student life like?

Student life enables you to develop your independent skills, especially of you live away from home.  Not only will you study your course, but you will also learn how to budget and manage your finances as well as how to keep organised in your studies.  There will be many deadlines to meet and demands on you to be accountable and take responsibility; important life skills and important for developing resilience.

What should I study?

Doing any degree shows employers that you are aspirational and motivated.  The best advice is to study something that you enjoy as you will be spending a lot of time studying it.  When you have the opportunity to have your careers interview, exploring your skills, qualities and values might enable you to discover the sorts of university courses that could suit you.

When should I start thinking about university?

When you move on to your post-16 placement, they will provide you with more information about university and university options.  However, there is no harm in some independent research even at this stage.  You could research courses and what each university offers its students.  You could also link this with LMI information, thinking about courses you might want to study and what areas of the country will represent your sector of work.

What are the cost Implications?

University does have a cost attached.  There is however assistance available from Student Finance England.  Through them, you can apply for a loan that will help to cover the costs of course fees and living costs.  Universities themselves may offer grants, bursaries, or even financial incentives to attract students and fill their courses.  There is always the option of working part-time whilst at university, to cover other costs.  Once you earn over a certain threshold, you will begin to pay back your course fees, as these are paid back over a 30-year period, NOT in advance of starting the course.  For further information about student finance use this UCAS link or this link to the Government Student Finance Website.

How do I apply?

Applications are done through UCAS on the UCAS website, and these happen at the end of Year 12.  You will be introduced to UCAS during your careers in the curriculum lessons in Year 11 so that you know how it operates.  Applications can be sent from mid-September but there are always individual deadlines to be aware of.  For example, if you are considering yourself as an applicant for Oxbridge, or are considering veterinary or dentistry courses, you must complete your personal statement and apply to the university by 15th October.  A short video on how to apply via UCAS can be found using this link.



UCAS is the organisation used for all applications to university or college and designed to support you in making informed choices.

The UCAS website can be found at

During your Careers in the Curriculum lessons, in Year 11, in all subjects, you will be able to see your teacher using this website live, to explore universities and courses.  You can also visit the website and use the course search function which will match your criteria with courses and where you can study them.  The profiles you will see in lessons, known as Entry Profiles tell you the grades and requirements.

For further information about Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities, please click here.


Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities:

Oxford and Cambridge are the 2 highest ranking universities in the UK and are regarded amongst the top universities in the world.  Oxbridge is a term used to refer to these 2 universities.  It is important for students to know that they can only apply for one of them, not both.  ‘Oxbridge’ universities differ in the way that they function from other UK universities, having assessment testing and a very stringent interview process.

For further information about the University of Cambridge, please use this link.

For further information about the University of Oxford, please use this link.

Russel Group Universities:

The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector. To find out more and which universities are members of the Russell Group click on the link above.

For further information about the Russell Group, please use this link.

There are some considerations for Year 11 students need to reflect if considering an application to a Russell Group University.  This list is a useful guide:

  • Students need to achieve a minimum of 5 Grade 4 or 5 at GCSE this must include English and Mathematics. These are the minimum entry requirements, and each university will differ depending on which course you are applying for.
  • Students need to research their A Level choice very carefully. It may be surprising to learn that the correct A Level to choose for a particular career path is not always obvious. For example, most Russell Group Universities do not require A Level Law to study Law, likewise Economics.
  • Students need to consider the most academically rigorous A Level choice such as Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, Geography and Religious Education/Philosophy and Ethics.
  • Students should research the course they are interested in and see what the entry requirements are, prior to opting for their A Level courses.
  • All Russell Group universities have excellent websites and admissions tutors that can help students with their enquiries.