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Applying to University
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University / Higher Education Information

1. Going to University or a Higher Education College

Whilst all of the various websites and resources below will be useful in supporting you to make decision about your future Higher Education plans, you should NOT rely on any one source alone. It is ALWAYS best to use a range of different resources to make this very personal decision. In addition to the websites below, speak to the Head of SFH6, your form tutor or other members of the teaching staff at SFH6.  Speak to the Careers and Enterprise Coordinator based at Sydenham School.  Consult with family and friends. In addition, we highly recommend that you visit the university /college that you are interested in attending to see the facilities, meet the staff and to ask some relevant questions about the course and the future progression it offers. There are also many free Taster Days and Summer Schools to give you a feel for university life.


UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It is the centralised service that students use to apply to university.  The UCAS website: contains key information on all UK university courses, with links to individual institutions websites – so that you can continue your research.  The UCAS YouTube channel has videos on completing your Personal Statement and preparing for virtual tours of universities:

The Office for Students

The Office for Students: has statistical data on each individual course at all the UK’s universities. There is information displayed on the following categories: student satisfaction, average salary after graduation, progression, accommodation costs, time spent in lectures and seminars, how it is assessed and student satisfaction with the university’s student union.

UK Course Finder

UK Course Finder: is a website where you can search for universities based on course title, location and entry grades

Informed Choices

Use the Informed Choices website to help you make your A Level and Sixth Form study choices.  It will help you understand which subjects open up different degrees, particularly at Russell Group universities:

University and College reviews written by those who know – the students who are studying there:

The Uni Guide

This site is part of The Student Room: University

It is a website that provides key information on individual degree courses, including the average UCAS points achieved by students actually starting the course, employment prospects and drop-out rates, etc. For students unsure of their plans, they can also use the A level explorer tool: that suggests degree courses – based on the subjects that a student is studying or plans to study at A-level.

Apply to Uni

Apply to Uni: has information on applying to university, including a series of university guides and information on finance and open days.


Push: describes itself as being a “ruthlessly independent” guide to UK universities and comes from, at times, a very different perspective from other resources.

2. Other useful university websites, Oxbridge and medicine

The Student Room: is a student only networking site that links students and prospective students with each other for discussions.

My Student Halls: is a website that allows you to research the university accommodation at any of the universities that you are considering applying to.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, QAA: allows you to read reports on the ‘quality’ and ‘standards’ of the various higher education providers.

People and Planet: is a website that contains a comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance.


SFH6 has a link College at each of the universities. At Cambridge we are linked to Gonville & Caius College and at Oxford we are linked to Queen’s College.  Lewisham Education department also run afterschool seminars for students across the Borough interested in applying to Oxbridge. Speak to the Head of Sixth Form to be notified of these events.

A talk for Year 12 students on applying to Oxbridge:

If you are interested in finding out more about studying at, or applying to, Oxford or Cambridge you can use this website which has been put together by the two universities:

Oxford and Cambridge student conferences online:

This pre-recorded webinar includes everything you need to know about both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, the application process and the different kind of support available to you:

Academics from both universities provide an insight into what they’re looking for in a strong application, including guidance on personal statements and what to expect at interview:

Current students from both universities answer pre-submitted questions on a range of topics including choosing a college, student life, workload and support:

Academics from both universities answer pre-submitted questions about a range of topics, from deferred entry to EPQs:

Suggestions for Super-Curricular reading/activities:

Oxbridge Applications

This company offers free (and paid for) resources to assist with your application to Oxford or Cambridge Universities:

Oxford University African and Caribbean Society

The Oxford African and Caribbean Society is a student-run society at the University of Oxford dedicated to the promotion of African and Caribbean culture and the social and educational development of tomorrow’s generation of gifted African and Caribbean students.

Applying for Medicine

Lewisham Education department runs afterschool seminars for students across the Borough interested in applying to for medicine.  Speak to the Head of Sixth Form to be notified of these events.

Research the websites below for resources and advice about applying for medical school:

3. What is Widening Participation in Higher Education?

All Universities and Colleges of Higher Education have Widening Participation Policies to attract and assist students from a diverse background who experience difficulties accessing higher education.  The university’s Widening Participation and Outreach Teams specialise in events or programmes aimed at schools and individual students.  The WP events are often aimed at Year 12’s but can be offered to younger students.  Participation in the initiatives can even lead to a reduced grade offer. 

For more details (including eligibility details) go to the individual university websites.  A few examples are:

Goldsmiths College, London University:

University of Greenwich

City University, London University:

King’s College, London University:

London School of Economics, London University:

Imperial College, London University:

University College, London University:

Oxford University

And Oxford Uniq Outreach programme:

Cambridge University:

4. Increasing Access to University

There are many charities and organisations working to increase access to university for students at state schools and Sixth Forms like SFH6.

The Social Mobility Foundation – Aspiring Professionals Programme

The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for young people.  The Aspiring Professionals Programme (APP) is carefully designed to open up professions for those with the ability to join them in the future, but without the means or networks to get there. The five year programme aims to give young people the skills needed to achieve their aspirations.

The Sutton Trust

Amongst other things, the Sutton Trust: organise one-week summer schools and residentials for bright students from non-privileged homes to give them a taste of university life.

The Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club is an award-winning university access charity that works with schools and universities across the UK.  Its Mission is to increase the number of pupils from underrepresented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities. The Club does this by mobilising the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools.

King’s College, London University, K+ programme

This is a two year programme for academically high achieving Year 12 students whose parents have not been to university.

Realising Opportunities

Realising Opportunities (RO) is a unique collaboration of leading, research intensive universities, working together to promote fair access and social mobility of students from groups underrepresented in higher education.

Nuffield Research Placements scheme

This is a 4-6 week research initiative for Year 12 students in their summer holiday.  Although the focus of the scheme is on STEM subjects, this also includes placements in social science (psychology, geography, economics, etc.) and data science projects.  The research is undertaken with a leading university or employer and students receive a bursary of £100 pw and travel expenses.  The Nuffield Research Placement scheme aims to support those who would not traditionally take up such a fantastic opportunity. As such, those from low income families or do not have a family history of attending university are prioritised.

Future Learn

FutureLearn’s purpose is to transform access to education, by providing thousands of free online courses from leading Universities around the world.

5. University Open Days and Taster experiences

Open Days: allows you to search for open days, and other events, being hosted by universities across the UK. Details of these are, of course, available on individual institution websites as well.

London University Taster Days

University of London Taster Courses are short courses at participating universities in and around London.  They are designed for school students, usually in Year 12, to get an insight into studying a particular subject or subject area at university.

University Taster Days and Summer Schools

To search for countrywide Taster days and other events.

6. Good University Guides

The primary aim of the rankings is to inform potential undergraduate applicants about UK universities based on a range of criteria, including entry standards, student satisfaction, staff/student ratio, academic services and facilities expenditure per student, research quality, etc. They can be very useful, however, be aware that different guides use different criteria to rank the various degree courses /universities.

The Times has a Good University Guide, which you can access online for a small subscription:

The Guardian has a Good University Guide:

There is also the Complete University Guide:

In addition to these UK based websites there is also another website, Top Universities:  that has information on where the ‘top’ universities are located, globally, and what courses they offer.

7. Graduate Employment

There are a number of websites/resources that highlight the type of graduate employment opportunities that students can progress onto once they have completed their degree. They are worth looking at to broaden out your ideas and see what a degree can lead to. It is interesting to note that most do not require specific subject qualifications:

The Times Top 100 is free, but you have to Register to view:

The website includes details of the top 100 employers in the UK, as ranked by graduating students, ie. who they enjoy working for the most.

The Guardian’s Top 300:

is a similar list to the Times Top 100 but 3 times as big!

Prospects Careers:

is an excellent website where you can explore what students studying a range of different degree subjects consider for future careers – once they graduate.

8. Applying for HE abroad

UK students are increasingly looking at studying overseas, and overseas universities are increasingly marketing themselves at UK students. Here are some websites that students can use to explore some of the options available:

A Star Future:

  • A website dedicated to students considering applying abroad.

Study Portals:

  • Another website that allows you to search undergraduate degrees outside of the UK

The European University Central Application Support Service (Eunicas):

  • has information on courses taught in English at European universities.

Study in the USA:

  • The Fulbright Commission website gives information on studying in the US.

Study in Canada:

  • This Canadian government website has information on studying on Canada.

Study in Australia and New Zealand:

  • Study Options is a website designed to help students who are interested in applying to universities in Australia and New Zealand.

The Australian government also has a website: about studying in Australia.


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UCAS parent and carer guide 2023 27th Jun 2022 Download