Students aim high with university applications

Students aim high with university applications

10 February 2021

Mrs Bodil Chambers, Head of Higher Education & Careers

The start of the spring term has been much quieter in UCAS terms than the busy autumn term. Many students received a flood of offers in quick response to their applications last term but many are still waiting to hear from the universities which typically take longer to make decisions. The reason the top universities delay is that they are likely to be oversubscribed for most courses and wait for the ‘equal consideration deadline’ on 15 January each year so they can compare all applications fairly. With UCAS postponing the deadline to the end of January, these universities are taking even longer this year, and there are more of them this year, with the London universities being notable additions.

Our students do aim high. With all applications now in, our top ten most popular universities are all in the Russell Group, with the top 25 almost entirely reflecting the top 25 in university league tables. Topping the popularity list for Woldingham students are UCL (pictured), Nottingham, Edinburgh, Bristol and Durham.

Applying to Oxbridge is always challenging and this year was even more so, with a significant increase in numbers applying to both Oxford and Cambridge, and the latter announcing that they would restrict offer numbers. Warmest congratulations to Sofia, who received an offer to study theology at Downing College.

More than a third of our students applied to STEM subjects this year and our scientists have done exceptionally well, receiving offers from some of the best universities including Imperial College, Durham, St Andrews, UCL, KCL, Loughborough and Bath for subjects including chemical engineering, natural sciences, computer science and engineering. Special congratulations to Alice, JQ and Nadia for receiving offers after tough interviews at Imperial College and Loughborough.

Applications to medicine have also been extra challenging this year, with record numbers applying nationally after UCAS relaxed the rules for re-applications. Gemma has done brilliantly to receive an offer to study medicine at UCL, and she is awaiting decisions from her other interviews. Emily, our prospective vet, has secured some great offers for veterinary medicine in what is an extremely competitive application process. We wish every success to those still waiting to hear news of medicine interviews and offers.

The full range of subjects applied for by our wonderful Upper Sixth students is inspiring. Those in younger years coming through the school should be reassured to know that our students are encouraged to explore their interests and strengths and, together with their tutors and higher education team, find fantastic courses that are right for them. Examples of the range this year include economics and cyber security, stage and production management, media and communications, international social and political studies to name a few. The list of the most popular subjects changes every year and always represents the breadth of talents of our students.

UCAS has delayed the date by which students have to make their final decisions about their firm and insurance choices, so our Upper Sixth students have an extra month to make up their minds. It would be wonderful to hope that they may be able to include some visits to universities in that decision-making. 

Alongside applications to UK universities, some students have also applied to universities overseas and they are still waiting for news on these.