University Applications

Almost all students leave Sir Thomas Rich’s School to go to good universities in the United Kingdom. Every year a number go on to Oxford or Cambridge. One or two apply to universities overseas. There is a substantial programme of support for students applying to university, detailed under the headings.

Support and advice is available to students at any time of the year but our students are supported with the following formal programme.

September – Students with advantageous contextual circumstances are made aware of the Access to Bristol course which supports eligible students with a lower university offer on completion of the Access course.

January – We run an annual Higher Education and Careers Fayre, where students can gain access to more than 40 different university representatives and more than 50 employer representatives in order to commence their research. Universities invited to the Fayre span the range of grades generally achieved in our A level results here at STRS.

Alongside the main Fayre, a programme of talks, delivered by professionals, university lecturers and university Admissions Tutors, inform students about what it is like to study particular degree courses, what careers are available beyond the degree course, as well as useful information about specific universities.

The afternoon of the Fayre is for students interested in applying to Oxbridge and those interested in Degree Apprenticeships. Oxbridge potentials hear from either Oxford or Cambridge University about the admissions process and can view a model Oxbridge interview.

Students have a full briefing of what to expect from the Fayre shortly before the event. We discuss how and what to research when considering universities and degree courses, consider the right questions to ask and provide students with ways of making decisions about what is available to them. Students bring to bear the skills and knowledge gained from their careers lessons at this event.

February – During our Enrichment Programme, we ask UK universities to come in to the School to discuss other considerations when choosing a course and university. For example, location, living at university, teaching methods, finance, grants and bursaries and other ways of researching.

February-April – All students are interviewed in order to support them in their university and career choices.

March – Students are made aware of university open days throughout the year. As students begin to go out and investigate their chosen universities, we ask a UK university to advise students on how to make the most of a University Open Day.

April – For those considering Scotland, we ask a Scottish university to explain the Scottish University System.

April-July – Students are encouraged to attend university taster days and masterclasses, as well as enter university essay competitions.

June - Introduction to the UCAS process, including setting up the electronic application and advice on filling it in. Students are given a presentation on how to promote themselves through the Personal Statement. Lunchtime workshops are available for any that require it.

September-January – One-to-one support with personal statements and applications.

Although students at Rich’s are always encouraged in their studies through a strong pastoral and academic support structure, preparation for Sixth Form applicants to Oxbridge, Medicine, Veterinary and Dentistry begins in January of Year 12.

Following the Oxbridge Admissions talk, delivered by either Oxford University or Cambridge University at the Higher Education and Careers Fayre, students who feel this is a route they would like to pursue are offered further advice, which helps them translate the Admissions Requirements into action. Students are supported with one-to-one interviews with Mrs Morris to make sure their attainment is on track and to discuss what else is required to enhance their applications. Mrs Case, the Librarian and a graduate of Cambridge University herself, advises students on extra reading and maintains up-to-date reading lists.

Individual support continues after the June mock examinations with preparation of personal statements in readiness for applying in October. Each personal statement is read at least twice by staff. As well as this, there is support for the Oxbridge entry examinations and plenty of interview practice tailored to the course that students intend to apply for.

Students are made aware of Oxbridge Open Days and Masterclasses and are encouraged to attend any that are of interest.

We actively encourage participation in the Oxbridge Essay Competitions.

Although students at Rich’s are always encouraged in their studies through a strong pastoral and academic support structure, preparation for Sixth Form applicants to Oxbridge, Medicine, Veterinary and Dentistry begins in January of Year 12.

The preparation for entry to Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary runs all year through the Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Society. A student Chairperson is elected in March and works with Mrs Morris to identify the needs of each year’s cohort. Largely, the programme runs as follows:

December – speakers from Cheltenham General Hospital or Gloucester Royal Hospital, who are currently practicing within Medicine and Dentistry, meet our students and discuss the realities of life in the Medicine and Dentistry professions, along with a broad outline of how to prepare for application.

A speaker from a local Veterinary Practice visits to discuss Veterinary Medicine as a career and the major issues of the time.

January – At the Higher Education and Careers Fayre, students can hear speakers from Bristol University talk about what it is like to study these three degrees, along with more detailed information about the application process and requirements.

February-May – A programme of talks and workshops take place on everything from human and animal physiology, NHS values and ethics to critiquing an academic paper.

June – Talks and workshops take place giving advice on writing a Personal Statement, specifically tailored to Medicine, Veterinary and Dentistry.

July – Optional one-day course in preparation for the UKCAT.

There are also one-to-one progress meetings with Mrs Morris.

September-October – One-to-one support with personal statements and the UCAS application.

November

  • Group workshop on interview skills for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Sciences run by a practicing Medical Professional
  • A number of one-to-one interview practice sessions
  • An ‘Experience Day’ in the simulation suite at Cheltenham General Hospital
  • A practice Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) session designed to simulate the pressures faced in the real MMI