26 November 2020
Mrs Bodil Chambers, Head of Higher Education & Careers
Autumn term is busy for Upper Sixth making applications to UK universities, US and Canadian colleges, drama and music schools, and art colleges. The impact of the pandemic has mostly been positive in UK university application terms. There were record numbers of students placed at UK universities in 2020 with fewer deferrals than usual. As a result, for most courses, demand for places is not likely to be any more competitive in 2021. However, there are some exceptions. A relaxation of the rules for re-applicants to medicine has led to significant increases in the number applying this year and a more competitive landscape. Despite this, our students applying for medicine are starting to hear news of interviews, which is fantastic, and we wish them success.
Offers are starting to flood in for many more of our students and several have already received offers for all five of their chosen universities. Some universities are renowned for making later decisions and keeping students waiting, sometimes until well into the spring term, so the number of offers students have now can very much depend on where they have applied. Durham, Edinburgh, St Andrews and LSE are four universities that keep students waiting longest. These are very popular choices for our students.
A number of students have applied to Oxford and Cambridge this year for a wide variety of subjects. We have a rigorous programme that runs throughout the Sixth Form for those looking to apply to these universities. This term the focus for the Upper Sixth has been preparation for the assessments and interviews that make up the application process for Oxbridge. In the past couple of weeks numerous mock interviews have been conducted in school as well as an interview swap with Roedean and Whitgift. With the real interviews fast approaching we wish all the students the best of luck.
Something wonderful about Woldingham is the huge range of talents of our students, which is reflected in their choices of university courses. At many schools, students gravitate to a small number of popular subjects, but our students are encouraged to explore their interests and strengths, and together with their tutors and the higher education team, they find fantastic courses that are right for them. Examples of the range include computer science and cyber security, stage and production management, media and communications, international social and political studies to name a few. As always, we see a near equal distribution of choices across STEM, arts and humanities, social sciences and creatives and our most popular subjects reflect this spread. Business and finance courses are perennially among the most popular choices, closely followed this year by chemistry, medicine, and philosophy. The most popular university choice so far this year is University College London, closely followed by Bristol and Manchester. Kings College London, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Durham, Exeter and Loughborough are not far behind.
Hear the words ‘personal statement’ and they’ll often be accompanied by a groan, but one of the best parts of my job is reading the wonderfully authentic personal statements our students write. These reflect their deep interests in their chosen subject and the rich array of super-curricular activities they have participated in, from wider reading and research to essay competitions and international subject Olympiads. On top of that most students have fabulous extra-curricular activities and achievements displaying their skills and strengths. Our modest Upper Sixth may not realise it but they have achieved great things - well done all!