Here’s the scenario, you’ve been studying hard for your A Levels in Year 12 and it’s time to think about your next steps. Your time studying at our sixth form in Leeds will come to an end, and you want to head to university to study your chosen subject. So, how can you make sure you get that place?

Do your groundwork – you will have already selected a great combination of A Level subjects to give you a helping hand.  Go to university open days and start thinking about your UCAS application form early, so you aren’t rushed.

Meet the UCAS deadline – for 2024 entry applications, you can submit your application from 5th September 2023. The deadlines might be earlier than you think:

  • 16th October 2023 at 18:00 (for any course at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or for most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science and dentistry).
  • 31st January 2024 at 18:00 (for the majority of courses).

Entry requirements – this is basically the criteria you need to meet to be considered to study a degree at university. The criteria are set by the university and the requirements are often referred to as UCAS entry requirements. So, make sure you are totally clear what is required of you to study your chosen degree and that you are capable of meeting the requirements.

Grades count – universities will principally look at the grades you expect to gain by studying either A Levels or BTEC courses. For example, high grades are needed to study Psychology at Bath, typically A*AA in three A levels and there are also stipulations around GCSE grades too. However according to UCAS lots of other universities commonly ask for lower entry grades to study Psychology, like Liverpool John Moores University who ask for BBB.

But, they want to see more than just grades – universities will look for much more than just post-16 grade achievements. Some universities may interview you before offering you a place, want to see an audition or your portfolio or you may have to sit a special exam. Your UCAS personal statement can be used to compare candidates against one and other…so make sure you put the effort in to demonstrate you’ll be a good student.

Consider the five UCAS options – you might be set on studying at the University of Durham, if this is the case, you could apply for five different courses at Durham. But if Chemistry is a must, you could apply to study Chemistry at five different universities. You might want to consider courses with higher and lower requirements so that you’ll have a backup.

Whatever your aspirations, remember that your teachers are here to help. Mr Mason is our Sixth Form Careers and UCAS Co-ordinator and is a real fount of all knowledge when it comes to applying for that important university place, so utilise him and you will be fine!