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Applying to UK Universities for 2011 Changes from last year are highlighted in red. UCAS (Universities Central Admissions System) Application must be made through UCAS (www.ucas.com). Application is done online via apply. This is available anywhere with an internet connection. You just enter your user name and password. When you access apply for the first time you must register. You must do this through the school using the Buzzword Brussels1. Do not apply as an independent candidate. You can choose five universities. Candidates for medicine have four choices for medicine, plus one extra. You must apply by the following dates: Oxford, Cambridge and all Medicine courses by 15th October 2010. All others by 15th January 2011. Early application is advised. School deadline: Applications must be completed by candidates and passed to their referee by Friday 3rd December 2010. You must discuss your choices with your teachers to get advice on which course and which university is best for you. You must make an appointment with Mr Bulwer in the Guidance Centre or Mrs Catt (Plato Room 303) to let the school know you will be applying. Sign up for an appointment with Mr Bulwer on the list on the office door on the second floor of the Villa. For an appointment with Mrs Catt sign up on the list on her classroom door Plato 303. Conditional Offers If the university accepts your application it will make you an offer. This will be conditional: you must achieve this mark in the final examinations or you will not be accepted. It will look something like this: 75% average with 8 in Mathematics and Physics (for Engineering), or 75% average with 8 in English and History (for Politics). You can find out what each university demands for each course by careful research. (See the table of equivalences below.) Personal Statement This forms an important part of your application. You must write about yourself, explaining why you want to study the course you have chosen; why you want to study in the UK; what your intellectual and personal background is – languages, nationality, education, reading; you should also include your interests and achievements. Try to write a coherent essay explaining about yourself rather than a list of achievements. You should ask for help and suggestions, but it should remain a personal statement and should not rely too much on help from other people. Ask for the statement to be checked over by your English teacher for language, or another teacher helping you with your application. The personal statement is important to your application: some universities give it as a reason for rejection. If the personal statement does not strongly support your reasons for choosing the course you may be unsuccessful. All personal statements are checked for plagiarism. Any personal statement that is copied from an already existing source may lead to the cancellation of your application. References The school will write a reference for you as part of your application. This will be written by one of your teachers with contributions from all your subject teachers, normally by an English speaker. It will comment on your performance in school over the past few years and will give a realistic prediction of your likely result at the final European Baccalaureate examinations. This will be based largely on your performance in the end of 6th year examinations, which gives a good indication of what your final Baccalaureate mark is likely to be. Choice of university The best university for you to study at will be the one at which you will be happiest and where you will be able to perform at your best. The course details, the location and the level of work demanded will all play a part in this. The most competitive university with the highest levels of achievement may not necessarily be the best one for you. Careful research and consideration of all the factors are needed here. The position of the university in the league tables is not always the best guide as to which one is the best for you. You should research carefully by going to www.ucas.com in the first instance, and then by following the links to the individual university websites. Choice of Subject The most competitive universities (Oxbridge, Russell Group) offer academic subjects rather than vocational ones. Emphasis is still placed in English-language higher education on the study of an academic subject (sciences as well as humanities) to a high level. Professional and vocational training is then undertaken after the first degree. A professional qualification (rather than a Masters degree in an academic subject) is normally required for entrance to a chosen career. Medicine is the only exception here, and in any case the first few years of medical training are scientific and theoretical. Having a first degree in a theoretical or academic subject is no barrier in the UK or the USA to any profession. Oxford and Cambridge Entry to these two top universities is extremely competitive. Early action and decisions are required. You must decide which course you are going to apply for before the end of the sixth year and prepare carefully for application by doing extra reading and work for your chosen subject area. All courses are highly academic and theoretical, and require a high degree of commitment (even obsession). The work rate is very demanding and you need to be a self-starter who will willingly spend many hours in the library working. You must also choose a college to apply to. See the university websites (www.ox.ac.uk www.cam.ac.uk) for information on the individual colleges. The admissions tutors will ask many applicants to submit work done at school (usually essays). These essays must be thoroughly researched, original and well expressed (in English). They should be about two thousand words long. Some subjects require extra entrance tests: Medicine BMAT www.bmat.org.uk/index.html This test will take place in school on 3rd November 2010. Law LNAT www.lnat.ac.uk PPE, E&M, Psychology courses Politics, Philosophy and Economics and Economics and Management, Experimental Psychology and Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford require the TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment). This test will take place in school on 3rd November 2010. History HAT www.history.ox.ac.uk/prosundergrad/applying/hat_introduction.htm This test will take place in school on 3rd November 2010. Physics There are two papers to be taken here: one in Physics, one in Mathematics. See the departmental website: http://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/ This test will take place in school on 3rd November 2010. English there will be a test for English. See the website: www.english.ox.ac.uk This test will take place in school on 3rd November 2010. Computing there will be a test for Computing. See the website: www.comlab.ox.ac.uk This test will take place in school on 3rd November 2010. Mathematics there will be a test for Mathematics. See the website: http://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/ This test will take place in school on 3rd November 2010. Please check carefully to see if any other subjects are intending to set admissions tests. The HAT (History Aptitude Test), Physics, English, Computing and Mathematics are only for Oxford courses; BMAT and LNAT are required by Oxford and other universities also (see below). Cambridge also set the TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment) for certain courses, but this is administered at Cambridge during the interview period. ESPS at UCL: European Social and Political Studies will tested at interview by a TSA. Interviews Most candidates (not all) are invited to interview at Oxford or Cambridge during the first week in December. This plays an important part in the battery of assessments made by the universities to decide whether to make you an offer. The conditional offer (if you receive one) will be at least 85%, with 9/10 demanded in certain key subjects at the Bac final examinations. The school receives on average three or four offers each year. Other Universities Entrance Tests Some other universities also require entrance tests: BMAT for Medicine and Veterinary Science at: Imperial College London Royal Veterinary College University College London UKCAT www.ukcat.ac.uk/home Registration is now open for UKCAT. You must register early and take the test before you make your application. It is advisable to do this over the summer holiday and in any case before 8th October 2010. UKCAT Universities Candidates intending to apply in 2010 for entry to one of the universities and courses listed below in 2011 or for deferred entry in 2012 are required to take the UKCAT by the 8th October 2010 deadline. University UCAS Course Code University of Aberdeen A100, A201 Brighton and Sussex Medical School A100 Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry A100, A101, A200, A201 Cardiff University A100, A104, A200, A204 University of Dundee A100, A104, A200, A204 University of Durham A100 University of East Anglia A100, A104 University of Edinburgh A100 University of Glasgow A100, A200 Hull York Medical School A100 Keele University A100, A104 King's College London A100, A101, A102, A202, A205 Imperial College London Graduate Entry A101 University of Leeds A100 University of Leicester A100, A101 University of Manchester A104, A106, A204, A206 University of Newcastle A100, A101, A206 University of Nottingham A100 University of Oxford Graduate Entry A101 Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry A100 Queen's University Belfast A100, A200 University of Sheffield A100, A104, A200 University of Southampton A100, A101, A102 University of St Andrews A100, B900 St George's, University of London A100 Warwick University Graduate Entry A101 UKCAT Key dates and Information Key dates Registration opens: 4 May 2010 Bursary applications processed from: 4 May 2010 Testing begins: 6 July 2010 Registration deadline: 27 September 2010 Bursary application deadline: 27 September 2010 Exemption application deadline: 27 September 2010 Last testing date: 8 October 2010 UCAS application deadline: 15 October 2010 LNAT (Law) (www.lnat.ac.uk) at the following: University of Birmingham University of Bristol Durham University University of Leeds University of Glasgow King's College London University of Nottingham University of Oxford University College London You must get advice and apply to take these tests in good time. Some are done through the school (BMAT, HAT and other Oxford tests); for others you have to register yourself (LNAT, UKCAT). You may be asked by some universities (particularly more competitive ones) to attend an interview, or to submit work, or to do a special piece of work, or to complete a questionnaire. Some may even arrange a telephone interview. Most give an offer on the basis of the application. You should be aware that some universities will reject you without giving a reason, particularly at sought-after places for competitive courses. (That’s life.) Conversion Table of A level grades to European Baccalaureate scores Three 'A'-Level 'A'-Level % European Points Grades Baccalaureate 360 AAA 85+ 84 83 82 81 340 AAB 80 79 78 320 ABB 77 76 300 BBB 75 74 280 BBC 73 72 71 260 BCC 70 69 240 CCC 68 67 220 CCD 66 65 200 CDD 64 63 180 DDD 62 61 160 DDE 60 UCAS FAQs How do I access apply? Go to www.ucas.com and follow the links. Or you can go directly to: http://www.ucas.com/apply02/index.html What is the school Buzzword? Brussels1 What is my user name? This will be generated by UCAS for you. It will probably be your initial, your surname +1 (eg: jbulwer1). What is my password? This will be generated by UCAS for you. You can change it if you like. What is my fee code? (EU Nationals only) 02 Student Support EU Team What happens if I am not an EU national? Discuss this with your referee or Mr Bulwer or Mrs Catt as soon as possible. What is my residential category? (EU Nationals only) A - UK Citizen/EU National How do I fill in the qualifications section? Go to the Baccalaureate section. Then click European Baccalaureate. You must include your 6th year marks. Put the correct date and fill in the boxes, using the year or C mark. Do all of these first. Then include your European Baccalaureate subjects, leaving the boxes blank. Indicate written, oral or continuous. Continuous for any subject you are not taking a final exam in. UCAS 2010 Check List A list of things to think about Making the right choice • www.ucas.com • Open Days and visits to different universities • University websites and virtual tours • University prospectuses • The school careers advisor • The UK careers advisor • The Occupations handbook • Subject area guides and handbooks • The Times Good University Guide • The Virgin University Guide • Alternative guides • Newspaper surveys (The Times, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Observer, Guardian) The right subject and course • A school subject (English, History, Chemistry, Maths etc.) • A subject closely related to one or more studied at school (Biochemistry, European Studies) • A completely new subject (Psychology, Law, Environmental Studies, Medicine) • A professional / vocational course (Nursing, Teacher training, Accountancy, Nutrition) • A practical course (Hotel and Catering, Audio Systems, Business Studies) • Art and design: one-year foundation courses • Art and design: Routes A and B • Seek advice on portfolio preparation and how to apply Other things to consider • How long is the course? • B.Sc. / B.A. : 3 or 4 years • M.Sc. / M.Eng. : 4 years • Is there a year / semester abroad? • Is an Erasmus year possible? • Is it a sandwich course (thin or thick)? • Is an industrial placement compulsory? • What are my career / academic prospects after I have completed this degree? • Does this course give a professional qualification? • If not, what will I have to do afterwards? The right university • Near / far • Big city • Small city / town • City centre (old, red brick) • Campus ( glass and concrete, more modern) • Oxford / Cambridge • Big university • Small university • London • The sea / countryside • Transport links • Sports • Climate • Accommodation • Will I be able to live on the campus? • How long for? • What sports, cultural, social etc. facilities are there? • How easy is it to get from the campus to the nearest town / city? • How much is it going to cost to live there? The right course and university • What are the requirements? (particular subjects and overall EB mark) • Am I on course to achieve them? • Has the university got a good faculty for my chosen subject? • How big is the department? • Is there anything special or unusual about the course there? Applying through UCAS • All applications are electronic. The form is completed on-line. • 5 choices in total. • 4 medical / vet / dentistry schools only • 15th October: deadline for Oxbridge and Medicine applications. • 15th January: other courses and universities deadline. • Importance of personal statement • School reference: a compilation of all of your teachers’ comments about your work, attainment etc. Confidential. • Predicted EB marks • Complete application promptly – before end of November • Conditional offer / rejection • Keep 2 offers, one firm and one insurance • Go to firm choice if you have achieved the marks required. • Go to insurance place if not. • UCAS Extra if you get 5 rejections. Gives you more chances. • Clearing in July-August if both your universities reject you. Oxford and Cambridge • Separate application form: goes at the same time as the main UCAS application. • Some courses demand entrance examinations (LNAT Law, BMAT Medicine, HAT History, STEP papers for Cambridge Maths) • Interviews in December • Very competitive, especially certain subjects and colleges. • You apply to a college of the university. • You can only apply to one of the two. How much will it all cost? • For 2010-11, top-up fees of £3,390 per year. • Scotland has no top-up fees but a graduate tax payable in the final year. • English students pay top-up fees in Scotland, but other EU ones do not. • The fees are payable at the end of the course. • You may take a low-interest loan to cover the cost of fees. • Your fee debt can be repaid through your income tax code when you start to earn over £15,000 p.a. • University halls of residence costs: £50 - £110 per week depending on where and how luxurious. • London is more expensive than anywhere else. • Allow at least 10,000 euros p.a. to meet all university costs, apart from fees. • Your fee debt can be repaid through your income tax code when you start to earn over £15,000 p.a. • University halls of residence costs: £50 - £110 per week depending on where and how luxurious. • London is more expensive than anywhere else. • Allow at least 10,000 euros per year to meet all university costs, apart from fees. Work experience • All UK schools organize work experience for year 11 (5th year) students. • It is part of the curriculum in other European countries too. • If you can get any kind of paid / unpaid work before you apply, take it. • It is essential for Medicine and Veterinary Science, recommended for anything else. Some universities, notably Bristol, will simply not accept students who are under 18 years old on 1st October when their course begins. Others will insist on a relative or friend with a UK address being prepared to act as your legal guardian until you are 18 years old. This is due to the Children’s Act, in the UK.
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