There is a comprehensive careers guidance programme in the Sixth Form which helps students on to the next stage of their careers.
During the first few days of the Autumn Term you will be interviewed by The Headmaster, Deputy Head Academic and the Head of Sixth Form to check that you are happy with your choices of subjects. In the Spring Term the Head of Sixth Form and the Tutors, explain to Year 12 your options after you leave Queen’s College.
Each week the Head of Sixth Form and Sixth Form Tutors discuss possible university options and subject choices with each student. In addition, outside speakers come in to talk about the world of work, OQs are invited to share their experiences of university, interview techniques are practised, GAP year options investigated, ideas for work experience or apprenticeship schemes shared and the admissions system for Higher Education (UCAS) is explained. The whole year group visits local Higher Education Fairs as preliminary research into universities and courses. Many of the universities have stands at the fair and can give you advice on the types of courses they run and the options available as well as supplying information regarding accommodation, the Student Union and activities and clubs run on campus.
As a Sixth Former, you are encouraged to go to University Open Days in the Summer Term and you then draw up a shortlist of universities in which you are interested and start planning your personal statement. In addition, many students attend Subject Taster Days and subject-specific courses during the year. The Head of Sixth Form invites University Admissions Tutors to visit who give up to date, accurate information on negotiating UCAS and how to get the best out of the system and also arranges a UCAS Finance evening, led by Student Finance UK. Specific days are set aside for full support and guidance on the application programme. You are given an introduction to the electronic UCAS system and will be issued with UCAS handbooks. To download an example, please click here.
Students who are interested in taking a GAP year are helped to research relevant GAP year programmes. Some students like to take a break from studying and go and work for charity organisations overseas. Others feel they need to broaden their experience in a particular career and work for an arts body. Artists may undertake a foundation year before embarking on applying to Art college, other students just want to travel or experience life outside school.
In addition, the Head of Sixth Form organises an annual Pizza and Careers Fair at school where parents, OQs and local businesspeople come to Queen’s to talk about their jobs and give advice on how to enter particular careers. This year we had representatives from areas as diverse as the Armed Forces, HR, design, medicine, accountancy, marketing, journalism, nursing, catering and hotel management. Students were encouraged to spend two minutes with as many professionals as possible to learn a little about different jobs.
At the beginning of the Summer Term a UCAS evening is organised for parents where the admissions system to Higher Education is explained and an information booklet is available providing further information. Former students are also invited back to present an evening on advice for applications. Students wishing to apply to Oxford or Cambridge meet with Dr Taylor in Top University Group meetings on a weekly basis to practise interview technique, answer open-ended questions and attend tutorials.
Throughout the year the Sixth Form tutors discuss individual students' interests and needs. There is a full resource area in the Sixth Form Careers Room in both printed and electronic form including university prospectuses, careers guidance booklets, GAP year options and work schemes available for students to peruse at any time.
Before the summer holidays, students are encouraged to decide on which courses to apply for, undertake work experience and begin work on their personal statement. From June of Year 12 you start the application process, applying for five university courses listed on the application form in alphabetical order. There is a separate application deadline for Oxford and Cambridge applications and a medics evening is held at Queen’s, with consultants from Musgrove Hospital, to cater for those applying for medical courses at university. The Head of Sixth Form and Headmaster draft your academic and personal references which accompany the application and the Headmaster and Head of Sixth Form interview every student. Subject specific sessions are held for everyone applying to university. After the application forms have been sent and processed, normally before the October half term, students are called for interview and places are offered, unconditionally or conditionally depending upon their A Level results. Universities look at several factors when assessing a candidate for their courses:
Each student may hold one firm offer and one insurance offer and the Tutors help you to make your decisions.
On results day, a day to celebrate success for many, the School opens and the Head of Sixth Form, the Headmaster, Tutors and Heads of Department are on hand to provide help and support for those who need specialist help or have to enter the Clearing System.
The motto of Queen’s College is ‘education for life’ and pupils who decide to apply to university after receiving their A Level results are welcome to seek advice and guidance from the Headmaster and Head of Sixth Form long after they have left. It is not unusual for students to return to Queen’s College for careers guidance many years after they have left and even when thinking of a change in career direction later on in life. Our Alumni Relations Manager is always on hand to help Old Queenians with careers guidance and work experience.
To download the destinations where our students went onto university last year, please click here.