26 April 2023
As we come to the end of the UCAS application process for UK universities, Mrs Maria Young, Director of Higher Education and Careers, provides an update on the offers and opportunities for our Upper Sixth students as they prepare to leave Woldingham, and reflects on the year overall as experienced by our students.
Mrs Maria Young, Director of Higher Education and Careers
Many of our Upper Sixth have now accepted their firm and insurance offers, with some taking a little more time to reach that important decision, and others still wating for a few final offers to come in. In this, we are typical of the UK picture - as was the case last year, the most competitive courses at the most sought-after universities are overwhelmed with applications and some are taking a very long time to consider each one.
Although the 2023 application process is not yet complete, UK universities have pledged to try to get all their offers out before exams begin. This was not the case last year and it was difficult for students still to be waiting on offers whilst sitting their exams.
We have much to celebrate with the offers received so far: in addition to two Oxbridge places, three offers for medical school and one for dentistry, our Upper Sixth students have a range of excellent offers encompassing a huge variety of subjects. Some of these, very pleasingly, buck the national trends and deserve celebrating. Around a quarter of our offers are for STEM subjects, which include, alongside the ‘straight sciences’, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace, physics with philosophy, computer science, mathematics and biomedical sciences.
The UK media often comments on the trend away from English as a degree, and the dramatic fall in the number of modern foreign language (MFL) students. This isn’t the case at Woldingham. Four students have opted to study English. MFL remains one of Woldingham’s most popular degree choices, in particular studying Spanish alongside Portuguese, French, ab initio Italian, Arabic and Chinese.
Business and management continues to be a sought-after degree for Woldingham students, as does politics and international relations, fine art, fashion, film, sports science and a really interesting variety of social sciences.
Nationally, there is a stampede to study for degrees that lead to better-paid graduate outcomes. We are also pleased to see that many of our Upper Sixth are choosing undergraduate study for the sheer joy of academic debate and discovery, secure in the knowledge that this will lead to interesting things. Offers for philosophy and theology degrees from top universities have been rolling in. ‘REthink’, ‘Thinking Big’ and our many other academic societies make an excellent contribution in preparing students to apply for these degrees.
People often ask about statistics around places secured at Russell Group universities. The Russell Group is a self-selecting group of 24 UK universities with strengths in high-quality research, which are seen by some as an elite cohort of universities. However, there are other groups, such as the 1994 Group, where the emphasis is focused on providing a world-class student experience. For those who like statistics, 81% of our Upper Sixth applicants hold at least one offer from a Russell Group university, including Durham, Imperial, Edinburgh, Bristol and UCL, although not everyone will choose to take up this offer on results day. The 19% who do not have offers from the Russell Group largely didn’t apply, instead choosing to study at conservatoires, art or drama colleges or overseas.
Woldingham students often look overseas for university and have secured some excellent places in the US and Europe this year, often with the offer of a scholarship. They have offers from Boston, New York, Parsons, Pratt, Dartmouth, Santa Clara, Groningen, Amsterdam and Trinity College Dublin, with results for Hong Kong University applications due in the summer.
The clear message is - if you are ambitious and prepared to work, Woldingham is the place to get you where you want to go. Congratulations to all of our Upper Sixth students on their magnificent set of offers so far.
To any student I say again and again, the important point is to discover your own passion in life and to embrace all that Woldingham can offer to help you delve deeper. Seize opportunities for summer schools, MOOCs, independent research and work experience – every fortnight in the Woldingham communication to parents I share the wide range of opportunities available.
As we expect the number of university applicants to rise significantly in the years to come, we encourage all our students to discover their own particular niche and continue to write their own stories. This is why we have such exciting degree offers on the table. Alongside the more traditional disciplines such as economics, history, geography, fine art, business and psychology, students have degree offers for nursing, music production, liberal arts, film and TV, marine science, interior design, architecture, animal behaviour, social policy, physiotherapy and aviation management with pilot training.
We are extremely proud of this Upper Sixth group and wish each of them every success in securing the grades needed to progress with their inspiring ambitions!