One of the most daunting and important decisions facing sixth form students is which university to apply for. With increased competition for places and the introduction of course fees, understanding the possibilities and options involved in higher education is more important than ever. Making the right choice will have an almost inestimable impact on the future of individuals, and we take the task of providing students with as much information and guidance as possible extremely seriously.
As part of Ashbourne’s comprehensive UCAS preparation, we run several trips to different universities throughout the academic year. Our visit to the Oxford University Open Day in September is always a highlight of the Autumn Term, and even students who have no interest in applying for Oxford or Cambridge find this to be an inspiring and fascinating visit. Lecturers and students provide a great deal of information and first hand experience of what it is like to apply for and then be a student at one of the world’s leading academic institutions.
In order to get a balanced view of the different learning environments we also choose two universities with strong reputations and which are significantly different from one another. Our campus university this year was The University of Bath, and we were joined by almost all of the lower sixth on this trip. On arrival, students were separated into small groups and given a full tour of the university by a cohort of current Bath students. They were then given a lecture on university life which also included a very informative and comprehensive Q and A session.
In order to get a feel for a very different kind of institution, we also visited the renowned science and engineering university Imperial College situated in our own Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Students were once again given a comprehensive tour of the various facilities and were able to get a sense of what it is like to study at a non-campus university.
One of the most significant outcomes of these visits is that they help students to decide on the kind of university that would best suit their needs and personalities. Students quickly become aware of the complexities of this decision, and are able to gain first hand knowledge and experience of different learning environments.