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					Post-Sixth Form
Parent Information
Evening
9th February 2010
    Changing Times
   HE applications up year on year – 12%
    increase this year compared with 2009 entry.
    Estimates are that seven students are
    competing for each place at top universities.
   “As application numbers continue to grow, we
    increasingly struggle to differentiate between
    the top applicants.” (University College,
    London).
   639,860 applied last year but 481,854
    secured places.
    Changing Times
   Greater competition from “mature” applicants
    due to current economy.
   Funding cuts of £449 million threaten to
    reduce university places by as many as
    200,000 (Telegraph, 1st Feb 2010).
   More competitive job market; degrees no
    longer the “passport to guaranteed success”.
   One third of graduates in non-graduate jobs.
   Despite all of this, graduates still have the
    competitive edge this HOWEVER a degree is
    now more a “license to hunt”.
What does all this mean for our
students?
   More than ever, it is crucial that students
    take the time to fully research and explore
    their options to ensure that they have a long-
    term strategy.

   They should not make assumptions about
    their future post-sixth form.

   We must share the “real world” picture.

   They should be encouraged to focus not just
    on academic study but also on developing the
    skills that will help them in the future.
What are HE & employers looking for?
Attitudes, knowledge and skills are crucial

   Personal Learning & Thinking Skills (PLTs):
    - team workers
    -   independent enquirers
    -   self managers
    -   reflective learners
    -   effective participants
    -   creative thinkers

   The “5Rs”: readiness, resourcefulness,
    resilience, responsibility, reflectiveness.
First Steps
   Some students (think) they have a very
    clear idea of what they want to do after
    sixth form.

   Some do not have a clue.

   These early stages are crucial. Students
    must be proactive as there are many
    questions to ask…
Long term motivations?

   Money?
   Non-financial rewards?
   Intellectual challenge?
   Active, hands-on career?
   Working as a team?
   Leading others?
   Security?
Study or earning?
   Do I want to study for a further three, or more,
    years? Does this excite me?
   Would I rather be more “hands on”?
   Do I want to start earning my own money now?
   Should I explore employment training
    opportunities, such as apprenticeships?
    www.apprenticeships.org.uk
   If I want an apprenticeship, am I prepared to
    travel? (E.g. Trafford, Crewe.)

Our students tend to think traditional HE is the
                  only option.
Why go to university?

   Social life?
   Academic challenge?
   Is it their own decision / aspiration?
   Passport to a high paid job?
   “Everyone else is going”?

This must be the right decision for the
individual student, not for other people.
    Is a university degree needed?
   For a number of industries and careers, a degree is
    neither required nor necessary; practical
    experience and “on the job” training may well be
    preferable.

   If a degree isn’t required, students may still wish
    to go on to HE, for the educational and personal
    experience, but should be clear regarding the
    practical benefit afterwards.

Most students assume that they need a degree
        to succeed. Research is crucial.

    For additional ideas see: www.notgoingtouni.co.uk
    Useful work experience placement
    organised for the summer?
   Relevant work experience is essential, both to help
    decide on a future path and to give the
    “competitive edge”.

   All Year 12 students should be securing a work
    experience placement for w/c 5th July 2010. It is
    crucial that they organise this themselves.

   Kath Stephens available to assist with this.

   Work experience is an important part of your son /
    daughter’s decision making process: they should
    not waste this opportunity.
    Useful work experience placement
    organised for the summer?

      Work experience is about more than the
    placement itself. It is an important personal
    development opportunity. Crucial in terms of
                  demonstrating:

   Motivation: both for chosen area of study and
    future careers.
   Resourcefulness: securing a good placement.
   Reflectiveness: through being able to articulate
    what they gained from the experience.
Where to start?
   The important thing is that students don’t
    wait for these questions to resolve
    themselves.

   Every year, students aimlessly drift along
    and then submit a university application
    because they haven’t thought of anything
    else. This is not a good idea…

   Taking proactive and decisive action will
    help them to make the right decisions.
    Where to start?
   PHSCE day 23rd February: opportunity to
    complete research and learn about application
    process.

   Use the advice provided in the “Post-Sixth
    Form” support booklet (via form tutors).
   Make an appointment with Connexions (our
    dedicated IAG provider is Anne Rowe).
   Ensure secure a useful work experience
    placement in the summer (Kath Stephens
    available to assist with this.)
   UCAS fair: Manchester G-Mex, 22nd March.
Why be a graduate?
   Overall, still arguably a labour market
    advantage (despite the economy).
   Skills development.
   Intellectual stimulation.
   Social / personal development.
   Research stats re how much more
    graduates will earn over a lifetime varies
    enormously, from £30-400k! The average
    (and more realistic) figure is c.£160k.
Researching university options
   Type of course?
   Course requirements in relation to
    predicted grades?
   Open Days? (Be selective and sensible)
   Reputation of the university for a
    particular course?
   Area of the country – stay near home or
    move far away? Cost implications of this?
    Predicted grades
   Course choices must be in line with students
    predicted grades.
   The entry criteria for each course is published in
    prospectuses and online. However, calling to check
    is advised; we are seeing evidence of entry
    requirements and selection criteria changing within
    a cycle.
   Subject teachers provide predicted grades are
    submitted at the end of September based on AS
    grades, attitude and work to date.
   Students are encouraged to discuss predicted
    grades with their subject teachers in a mature
    manner.
NB: entry requirements are usually an indicator
 of market forces NOT the calibre of the course
      or university = “supply and demand”.
    Other Higher Education options:
    Foundation Degrees
   These are two year vocational courses designed
    in conjunction with employers.

   Combine academic study with workplace learning
    to equip people with the relevant knowledge,
    understanding and skills to improve performance
    and productivity.

   Can be a stand alone qualification or can
    complete a third “top up” year to obtain a full
    degree (not an honours degree).

   www.findfoundationdegree.co.uk
    Other Higher Education options:
    Foundation Years
   Some universities offer the option of a
    “foundation year”.
   A good idea for students unsure about HE or who
    do not have the predicted grades for more
    competitive subjects or do not have the required
    academic background.
   Allow students time to get a taste of university life
    without committing to a full three year degree.
    Also allow time for students to consider what they
    would like to do in the future.
   If students successfully complete the foundation
    year, they can then go on to pursue a full degree.
Other Higher Education options:
Foundation Years

   The University of Manchester currently offer
    foundation years in Science, Life Sciences and
    Engineering.
   The Manchester Metropolitan University offer a
    wide range of foundation year options, ranging
    from Psychology to law. Visit
    www.foundationyear.mmu.ac.uk
   NB: Art foundation courses are different:
    these are usually a pre-requisite to enable
    students to gain the skills needed to access
    and complete an art / design related degree.
    Money Talks…
   Discussions with Year 13 students reveal that
    very few have had a conversation with their
    parents regarding university costs.

   Many students assume that they will receive all
    the financial support that they will need from
    their parents…

   Many students dismiss local universities
    because of this assumption. However, living at
    home can save upwards of £18,000 of post-
    graduate debt. (Bear in mind travel costs…)
    Money Talks…
   It is crucial that these discussions take place
    sooner rather than later: often students find out
    too late that their parents cannot provide the
    level of financial support anticipated.

   Knowing this earlier may change students’
    options e.g. they may not have applied to
    London universities or may have opted to stay
    at home.

   Many parents also do not realise that grants are
    not widely available as they are means tested.
    Financial considerations:
    costs
   Tuition fees. For students starting university in
    2010 these are £3,290 per annum and apply to all
    degree level courses at universtites. Tuition fee
    loans are available to assist; once secured,
    Student Finance England will pay the money direct
    to the institution.
   Living costs: cost of accommodation varies. MMU
    have calculated that the average costs for a
    student living away from home will be c.£7000 per
    annum. Naturally this varies according to each
    student’s lifestyle but includes things like food,
    clothes, rent, entertainment, books, travel and
    equipment for the course (where relevant).
    Financial considerations:
    grants & loans
   Grants. Range from £50 to £2906 per annum. If in
    receipt of full EMA students are likely to qualify for a
    grant. Students not in receipt of EMA may still
    qualify for some level of grant. Students with a
    household income of over £50,020 are not eligible
    for grants.

   Student loans. Students can apply for a means-
    tested* maintenance loan of up to £4,950 (more if
    studying in London). Students do not pay back
    anything until they are earning over £15k.
    Repayments are deducted via the PAYE system.

    For up to date information on student finance
        visit www.studentfinance.direct.gov.uk
                            (*28% of the total amount available is means tested)
    UCAS
University & College Administration System

   Managed c.640,000 applications last year.
   Highest quality personal statement and
    references required to stand out from the
    crowd.
   Key to the entire process = organisation and
    communication.
The Team

   Your son / daughter
   Their form tutor/s
   You
   Dr Rowe
   Mrs Rogers
   Mrs Robinson
Meeting deadlines
   Students submit a reference request
    letter to their tutor – Friday 7th May 2009.
   Pay UCAS fee by 30th September (£19)
    payable to Wilmslow High School.
   Early applications deadline 1st October.
   All applications must be received by
    school by Friday 26th November.
   Final UCAS applications deadline 15th
    January.
    Early Applications
   Applications for Oxford / Cambridge and
    medicine / dentistry / veterinary science have an
    early application deadline of 15th October: this is
    non-negotiable.
   Meetings will be held later this term to provide
    further information for these students, as well as
    those students applying for other “elite courses
    and elite institutions” (i.e. highly competitive
    courses with high entry requirements).
   Letters will be sent home to parents as well as a
    further information event to be held in the
    summer term.
Other considerations
Increasingly, institutions are using additional
measures, other than the application, to select
students, such as:

   Interviews
   Admission tests
   Submission of work
Therefore…
   With over 50,000 courses on offer: requirements
    vary.
   Students must check: this is their responsibility.
The Application Process
   Obtain a username and password from
    www.ucas.com by registering using the
    school “buzzword”.
   Complete each section of the form online;
    students can do this before deciding on
    their choices.
   Form tutors will have advised on content
    of Personal Statement.
   When all sections are complete “send to
    referee”.
What happens next?

   Draft reference and predicted grades added.
   ONE HARDCOPY ONLY is printed.
   Form tutor checks application and advises on
    personal statement.
   Application returned to Mrs Rogers –
    students to check notice board for their
    name.
   Corrections made.
What happens next?

   Student is issued with a “tracker form” to
    complete. These are then checked to
    ensure appropriate choices have been
    made. Students advised – changes made.
   Hardcopy returned to Mrs Rogers, signed
    and dated, to confirm the student is happy
    for this to be sent.
   Mrs Robinson checks all applications and
    finalises reference.
   Application sent to UCAS by Mrs Robinson.
    Reference
   Subject teachers submit specific comments to
    form tutors.

   Form tutors draft reference using the above
    information and incorporating other
    achievements (NB: ref request letter used).

   Predicted grades provided by subject tutors:
    based on attitude in Year 12, AS achievement
    and progress to date in Year 13. These must
    be realistic.

   Final reference completed by Mrs Robinson.
Personal statement
This is the students’ chance to sell
themselves. It should:

   Demonstrate a well constructed line of argument
    that aims to persuade the reader that the author
    should be given a place on this particular course.

   Make reference to the chosen course and why
    they want to study this.

   Include succinct and well-chosen points.
Personal statement
   Use good English! Help is available if this is not
    your son / daughter’s forte.

   Takes time and effort: should not be left until the
    last minute (especially if they want assistance).

   Form tutors will check Personal Statements and
    give advice, sometimes more than once.
    However, deadlines must be met.

        NB: more universities are now also
        interviewing as part of the selection
                      process.
Aftermath

    Offers

    Tracking

    UCAS Extra

    Clearing
Advice
   If your son / daughter experiences any
    problems – ask.
   If they require additional advice regarding
    courses or universities – ask.

    We are all here to help the students
     make the best choices and produce
    the best applications possible but it is
                  ultimately
         THEIR RESPONSIBILITY.
How can you help?
    Encourage thorough research.
    Encourage development of skills
     (PLTs/5Rs)
    Discuss finances.
    Attend open days.
    Assist with writing Personal Statement.
    Remind of deadlines.
    Support revision.
    Ensure part time work / outside
     commitments are minimised.
Useful websites
   www.ucas.com
   www.yougofurther.com
   www.aimhigher.ac.uk
   www.connexions.gov.uk
   www.notgoingtouni.co.uk
   www.unistats.com
   www.prospects.ac.uk
   www.opendays.com
   www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance
Questions
There is a lot to think about!
We would encourage parents to take some time to
think about the ideas covered this evening, speak to
sons / daughters, read the information provided and
visit some of the websites.
Email addresses:
vrobinson@wilmslowhigh.cheshire.sch.uk
drogers@wilmslowhigh.cheshire.sch.uk
Our dedicated Connexions IAG
arowe@wilmslowhigh.cheshire.sch.uk

				
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