Putting an Oxbridge application into context

An Introduction to
the UCAS Process
for Hampton
Parents & Pupils
The Higher Education
7.30. The UCAS Process: a Hampton
perspective Patrick Talbot, Head of Careers &
8.00. The UCAS Process: a University
perspective Matthew Harrison, University of
8.30. Oxford & Cambridge Entry: a Hampton
perspective. Andrew Wilkinson, Senior Tutor &
Oxbridge Coordinator. Lecture Theatre.
or Q & A on Higher Education. Panel.
Higher Education Calendar
2011-2012 Spring Term
• Start of Oxbridge Programme.
• CourseFinder Questionnaire & Report.
• Introductory session about American
University applications.
• Presentation to pupils about Higher
Education from the University of
Higher Education Calendar
2011-2012 Summer Term
• Thursday 28th April. Higher Education
• Friday 10th June. Higher Education
matters: Writing a Personal Statement;
Attendance at Higher Education Fair at
• Thursday 30th June. Visit to the
University of Bristol Open Day.
Applying to university: the
longer term plan
• Summer 2011: make informed decisions about
course and institutions. First draft of a Personal
Statement completed by the end of June 10th
and improvement through the term.
• September 2011: complete UCAS application.
Deadline for Oxbridge, Medicine, Dentistry &
Veterinary applications is October 15th. Their
school internal deadline is 4 pm on Monday 26th
September. Everyone else: as soon as possible.
Oxford & Cambridge
Applicants must also …
• June: finalise college and course choice. Discuss
prospects for Oxford and Cambridge with relevant Heads
of Department. Establish details of any prepared work
you need to take for your chosen course.
• Summer holidays: prepare for written tests and
interviews as necessary. You will need to demonstrate a
lively and well-developed interest in your chosen subject.
Consolidate your Lower sixth work, and extend your
knowledge to A2 and indeed beyond the A Level
syllabus. You must do extra reading. Select your other
university choices.
Strategy for university
• 1) You perform: AS module scores achieved in
Lower 6th are extremely important.
• 2) We predict: Predictions by departments are
based on AS module achievements and are
• 3) You apply to universities. All being well, you
receive offers.
• 4) You perform in the AS and A2 modules.
• 5) You get into university by fulfilling offer(s).
What sort of students do universities
• LSE is looking for bright, questioning, self-motivated
students who are not daunted by the challenge of living
and studying in an extremely cosmopolitan and
intellectually demanding atmosphere.
• The University of Edinburgh’s Undergraduate
Admissions Statement includes:
• Potential to derive the greatest benefit from university
study will also be assessed by adducing evidence of the
applicant’s commitment to higher education, their
motivation to succeed, their suitability for the chosen
programme and whether they have the personal
resourcefulness to handle the challenges of a
university education.
• Remember: order is important!
• What subject ? then Which university
• League Tables are a start but don’t take small
differences in ranking to be too significant. Always look
at how the rankings are scored. There are several
versions of League tables.
• There is a huge amount of information on
www.ucas.com. Also, try www.uni-uk.co.uk and
• Look over Prospectuses. Get your own copies.
• Read objective accounts of universities; listen to
subjective opinions.
• Visit universities when you can.
• Short list and then decide on choices.
• The UCAS system is the medium through
which you apply to universities in the UK.
The Universities and Colleges
Admissions Service is based in
• We are an all-in electronic application
school, using the on-line version. The cost
is £21 per candidate.
• Those of you who will apply for Oxford or
Cambridge, for Medicine, Veterinary
Science or Dentistry will be completing
your application from the start of the
Autumn term and working to completion in
advance of the October 15th deadline.
• We wish everyone else to complete their
UCAS applications as soon as possible in
How UCAS works
• You can apply for up to five choices on the UCAS form.
• There should be real consistency in the courses
• Candidates for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary
Science need only to make four choices.
• Your chosen universities do not see where else you
have applied.
• From your offers, you make one Firm and one
Insurance choice, and reject the rest. This will be
around February/March/April time.
• If all goes well with your A Levels, you will go to your
Firm choice.
The UCAS Tariff
• The UCAS Tariff is the expression of the results that
you need in order to satisfy any university’s entrance
• However, the top or selecting universities will still
require individual A Level grades: the lower or
recruiting universities give points-based offers.
• An A grade at A Level is worth 120 points for a six-unit
award. A B is worth 100 points, and so on. Standard
offers are based on 3 A Levels only – assume unless
told otherwise that General Studies will not be included,
nor as a rule will a single AS level. A few of the selecting
universities have recently taken to giving an AS target in
the offer in addition to 3 A Levels.
Selecting and Recruiting
• If you take the rank order of the ‘league tables,’
universities towards the top have far too many applicants
for available places and need to select students.
• Universities towards the bottom tend to have fewer
applicants per place and sometimes need to recruit
• Hamptonians will be choosing their universities from
selecting institutions, and competition is stiffest at the
top of the ‘league tables.’ the most notable grouping of
these selecting universities is the Russell Group.
Be aware of the Russell
• 20 leading UK universities who are
research-led. Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham, Bristol,
Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Imperial, King’s, Leeds, Liverpool,
LSE, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Queen’s Belfast,
Sheffield, Southampton, UCL and Warwick.
• 68% of 2011 Hamptonian applications are
to Russell Group universities.
• For 2010 applicants, 11 of the leading 15
destinations and 62% of final applicant
choices were Russell Group universities.
The consistency of an
You should plan to apply to courses broadly in line with your predicted
Example: I am predicted ABB and I wish to study Geography.
For my 5 choices:
I most want to go to Geography at St. Andrews.: typical offer is AAB.
I have also selected Geography BSc at Birmingham, Leeds and Leicester. All
have typical ABB offers.
I have added Physical Geography at Aberystwyth. Typically 280-320 points.
I have three choices in line with my predictions.
I am aiming high for St. Andrews because I want to go there most.
I am adding Aberystwyth in case I don’t do as well as predicted.
The spectrum of my choices runs from 300 points (equivalent to BBB ) up to
AAB (equivalent to 340 points). My predicted grades lie towards the top of the
My subject choice are consistent, one course being a little more specialised.
Selling your application!
• An Admissions Tutor looks primarily at certain evidence
to select candidates.
• Most important are the School’s predicted grades
and reference. You will know your A Level predictions
before you apply.
• Your Personal Statement provides important support
material. For an Oxbridge application, it is instrumental in
getting you to the next stage of an Interview. For most
non-Oxbridge applications, it may well be a substitute for
an Interview!
• A “count back” to your GCSE grades is also
important. Some departments of some universities may
formally use GCSE scores to rank candidates.
The dilemma for selecting
• Universities are increasingly dissatisfied
with A Level grades as discriminators of
ability. Hence, the varied use of
admissions tests; the inclusion of an AS
target in offers; countback to GCSEs;
the acceptance of EPQs (although not
inclusion in offers).
Places available
• Bear in mind that a university department
only has so many places available.
Selecting universities are oversubscribed;
you may find yourself on the wrong side of
a numbers game. Incidentally, universities
will make more offers than it has places
available. If you satisfy that offer by
making the grades, then you are in! If not,
don’t expect any favours!
Example: applying for
Economics at Nottingham
• Last year they had 2,500 applications.
• 1,200 of those had AAA predictions!
• They gave about 200 Offers for 123
Main University Destinations for
Hamptonians in 2009 & 2010
In 2009
• Nottingham 19
• Oxford 18
• Bristol 10
• Bath 9
• Manchester 9
• Durham 8
• Warwick 8
• Leeds 7
• Southampton 7
• Cambridge 6
• York 6
• Imperial College London 5
In 2010
• Oxford 12
• Bristol 12
• Durham 12
• Cambridge 9
• Southampton 9
• Exeter 8
• King’s College London 7
• Warwick 7
• Leeds 6
• Manchester 5
• Nottingham 5
Summary of recent
Hamptonian destinations
• In 2009/2010, 43% Hampton boys went to
Top 10 universities. Six years ago, we
achieved 1/3.
• In 2009/2010, 88% Hampton applicants
went to Top 25 universities. Six years ago,
we achieved 2/3.
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