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Putting an Oxbridge application into context Some early considerations UCAS • The UCAS system is the medium through which you apply to universities in the UK, and hence your application to an Oxford or Cambridge College is part of this process as well as an entity in itself. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is based in Cheltenham. • We are an all-in electronic application school, using the on-line version. The cost is £19 per candidate. DEADLINE • You will be completing your application from the start of the Autumn term and working to completion in advance of the October 15th deadline. RESEARCH • Do plenty of research on courses and universities. • League Tables are a start but don’t take small differences in ranking as 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. • 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. 1 in 5! • Be realistic about the possibility of rejection by Oxbridge by being positive about your other university and subject choices. You may well be going to one of them! SUBJECT • The general sequence of choice is of subject of study before place of study. Wishing to apply for Oxford or Cambridge may superficially contradict that principle, of course. The bottom line of your application is that you have to write a Personal Statement which in reality starts with I wish to study X because … UCAS SYSTEM • You can apply for up to five choices on the UCAS form. • There should be real consistency in the courses chosen. • Candidates for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science need only to make four choices. • Your chosen universities do not see where else you have applied. • Once you have received all your replies, you make one Firm and one Insurance choice from your offers, 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. UCAS SYSTEM 2 • The UCAS Tariff is the expression of the results that you need in order to satisfy any university’s entrance requirements. • 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. UCAS SYSTEM 3 • An Admissions Tutor looks primarily at certain evidence to select candidates. • Most important are the School’s predicted grades and the School’s reference. You will know your A–level predictions before you apply: unless you are predicted AAA, an Oxbridge application is likely to be fruitless. • 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. OFFERS & PLACES • Bear in mind that a university department only has so many places available. Good universities are oversubscribed, and will select; 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 you are asked to obtain, then you are in! HAMPTON DESTINATIONS 2009 • Top 10 universities 59% (we used to have 1/3 here) 15% up on last year! Highest ever! • Top 25 universities 92% ( used to be 2/3) same as last year. • Very impressive statistics, especially on Top 10 universities. HAMPTON DESTINATIONS 2009 Main destinations are • NOTTINGHAM 19 pupils. • OXFORD 18 • BRISTOL 10 • BATH 9 • MANCHESTER 9 • DURHAM 8 • WARWICK 8 • LEEDS 7 • SOUTHAMPTON 7 • CAMBRIDGE 6 • YORK 6 • IMPERIAL 5 COMMENT • Oxbridge a remarkable 24, even one place up on 2008! • Oxford 18! • Bristol continues to regain its previous importance. • Nottingham again a dominant. • York has come from nowhere! • Predictable popularity of metropolitan provincial choices. • Constituent colleges of University of London down significantly. Is 2009 going to be typical? Of those who are taking up places in 2009 or 2010, • 88 % are going to their Firm Choice • 10% are going to Insurance Offer (higher than usual) • 2% are going through Clearing or another choice. • 25 are resitting/reapplying/applying. This is considerably up on previous years, and reflects the well reported occurrence this year of more applicants and limited extra places. Basically, if boys did not meet their offers, there was little flexibility in the system!! • 30% of the year group are taking a Gap Year (deferred/resitting/reapplying/applying), which is 5% higher than last year.
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