Careers and Guidance

At The Priory School we pride ourselves on being an inclusive and supportive community and this is firmly echoed in the careers guidance within the sixth form. Our ethos is to provide the highest-quality advice to ensure that every student finds the correct post-18 pathway. We hope that we open the door to a wide range of opportunities that will lead to exciting and fulfilling careers. To that end please find below an outline of the processes and supporting information that is available for life after the sixth form.

The University Pathway

Our university journey starts in earnest halfway through Year 12. Students have got the feel for their subjects and are in the position to seriously reflect on what they wish to study at university. For some people this is an easy choice but others find this vital decision more difficult, therefore to support this we begin a programme of broad activities that hopefully will make the application process move like clockwork. 

The introduction to higher education is supported by a visit to The University of Hertfordshire where students get taster lectures, tours of the campus and a chance to soak up the atmosphere of a real university campus. Suitably inspired we then begin the application process with a day off timetable to work as a year group on issues such as personal statements and how to choose a course. 

The first half of Year 13 is used to fine tune application forms, personal statements and references in partnership with form tutors and the wider sixth form team. Once sent to UCAS we have the excitement of seeing the offers flood in. A particular joy is to see the happiness students get from being offered a place at their dream university and the subsequent redoubling of efforts as each person knuckles down to ensure they achieve their grades.

Should you have any questions about the application process please explore the links and material below or alternatively contact your child’s Form Tutor for further guidance.

Useful resources
General UCAS – applications are made through the website, each student has their own Hub to manage this, their choices, offers and other information.

Unifrog – has a tool to help choose courses and other interesting information. Each student has their own account. 

Choosing a course The Uni Guide 

What Uni?

University league tables The Complete University Guide 

The Guardian League Tables 2022

Personal Statements Advice from UCAS themselves – – How to write & How to Structure – and huge amounts of information on their website

Advice from The University of Northampton 

The Priory School predicted grade policy

The timeline for the 2023-24 application process is outlined below:

12 July 2023: UCAS Conservatoires 2024 application open.

5th September 2023: Completed 2024 entry UCAS Undergraduate applications can be submitted to UCAS.

2nd October 2023: 2024 entry application deadline for most UCAS Conservatoires music courses.

16th October 2023 (18:00 UK time): 2024 entry deadline for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science and dentistry.

31st January 2024 (18:00 UK time): 2024 entry deadline for all UCAS Undergraduate and Conservatoires applications, except for those courses with a 16th October deadline.

HOWEVER – Please note our Year 13 mocks will be starting in January 2024, therefore to avoid too much work please aim to complete your application before the Christmas break.

Additional support for competitive courses and universities 

For our students who aspire to enrol in courses at the most competitive institutions, we aim to provide individual guidance and support to ensure they are well prepared to make a competitive application. Through our Levelling Up programme students are introduced to a range of opportunities to broaden their subject knowledge and interest over the course of Year 12, and build a super-curricular portfolio that will make them competitive prospective applicants in Year 13. Some useful resources for students aspiring to apply to Oxbridge or for Medicine, Conservatoires or competitive apprenticeships can be seen below.

Useful Resources

Choosing A-Level options Post-16 subject choices | Undergraduate Study

The Subject Matters by University of Cambridge Admissions Office – Issuu  

Choosing a course at Oxbridge AZ of courses | University of Oxford

AZ of courses | University of Cambridge  

Oxbridge application support guides for parents Supporting an Oxford applicant A parents’ and carers’ guide

Guide for Parents and Supporters – Cambridge 2023 entry  

Cambridge applications newsletter for parents 

Support for Oxford and Cambridge applicants InsideUni

Cambridge Super-curricular suggestions | Undergraduate Study

Official Video Guides to undergraduate study at Oxford  

 2024 entry admissions timeline | University of Oxford 

Outreach event calendar | University of Oxford 

A Guide to the Cambridge Colleges

Colleges | University of Oxford 

Applying to Medical School The Medic Portal

Entry requirements for UK medical schools 

Applying for Conservatoires  Conservatoires | UCAS 
Applying for Apprenticeships Amazing Apprenticeships 

How to apply for an apprenticeship : Unifrog Blog 

Applications for Oxford and Cambridge must be submitted earlier than for other courses. Please see the table below for some key dates to be aware of:

Item Date
Cambridge Organ Scholarship application and transcript deadline 1st September 2023
Cambridge Organ Scholarship reference deadline 11th September 2023
LNAT assessment registration deadline 15th September 2023
Deadline for registering for university assessments 29th September 2023
TPS internal deadline for Oxbridge UCAS applications 9th October 2023
UCAS deadline for Oxford and Cambridge 16th October 2023
BMAT Medicine Assessment
Oxford TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment)
Cambridge Assessments – TMUA (Maths), NSAA (Natural Sciences) & ENGAA (Engineering)
18th October 2023
Oxford Assessments – CAT (Classics), ELAT (English), GAT (Geography) & MAT (Maths) 19th October 2023
Oxford Assessments – HAT (History), MLAT (Modern Languages), PAT (Physics) & Philosophy Test 20th October 2023
Deadline for transcript submission (non Organ Scholars), extenuating circumstances form and additional “My Cambridge Application” form 23rd October 2023
Deadline for submission of written work to Oxford colleges 10th November 2023
Interviews December 2023

Apprenticeship Pathway

For those students who do not wish to follow a purely academic path after Year 13 then an apprenticeship could be for you. As an apprentice you are an employee of an organisation, earn a wage and have ongoing training that allows you to work towards nationally recognised qualifications. Other benefits to this pathway include hands-on work-based learning from experienced staff, the chance to get paid, avoid student debt and get a foot on the career ladder. There are four levels of apprenticeship available to you; a summary is below but click on the link to read more information on the UCAS website.

INTERMEDIATE 5 GCSEs 9-5 Level 2 NVQ, Diploma, National Certificate
ADVANCED 2 A-levels Level 3 NVQ, National Certificate, BTEC
HIGHER A foundation level degree Foundation degree, BA, MA, Level 4-7 NVQ, Higher National Diploma
DEGREE Bachelors/Masters degree Foundation degree, BA, MA, Level 4-7 NVQ, Higher National Diploma

Unlike the university application process there is no set deadline for when to apply for apprenticeships so it is important to be aware of what is on offer. Therefore the key is to research and be signed up to some key websites that will provide job alerts. This is especially important if looking at a degree level apprenticeships, which are thinner on the ground and highly competitive. Each week we post local vacancies onto google classroom. When you find the apprenticeship for you or simply need some guidance, please speak to Ms Buchanan who leads on this pathway and she will work with you in refining your covering letter and all-round application. 

Useful websites that contain links to all of the available opportunities and a myriad of information on apprenticeships:

UCAS Career finder 

National Apprenticeship Website

National Apprenticeship Service

Not Going To Uni! 

Gap Years

Whether your gap year will be travelling the world, volunteering or finding paid work, the key to a successful experience is to have a plan.  The most important thing to avoid is a year of drift; be purposeful and aim to maximise the benefits to yourself as an individual or to your career plans. Pulling pints in a pub does teach you about employment, but if you have taken a year off to grow yourself could you hunt down an opportunity that will perhaps pay dividends further down the line of your career? Travelling to other countries and living in a different culture will show independence and resilience. Where might you go? What could you discover about yourself?

As with all the other pathways mentioned above we will  support your decision-making process and help you to make the plan that will open doors for you in the future. When you are ready to make your UCAS or apprenticeship application, get in touch and we can help you with the process. You may have left school but you are always part of the community!

UCAS – Making the most of your gap year 

Some other ideas you may find inspiring:

The Year Out Group

Volunteering England

Trailfinders Travel Academy

Volunteering opportunities with Herts County Council