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Autumn advice roundup

The new academic year is upon us, and HE institutions are starting to buzz with freshers as a record 424,000 UK university places were offered this year.

Pupils in Years 12 and 13 have plenty to get done if they want to be among those getting places in the next couple of years. Here we take a trawl through advice from UniBox and other sources on things that are important at this stage.

Download the UEA’s guide for teachers on advising students about going to university.

2016 entry

If you’re still looking at entry this year, UCAS takes Clearing places off its search tools TODAY (30 September). The deadline for adding Clearing choices, and for unis or colleges to accept Clearing applicants, is 20 October. Work fast!

Find out more from UCAS on Clearing.

Year 13s/2017 entry

You can start applying to university courses for 2017 entry now. Visit UCAS.


Music students applying to conservatoires for 2017 must have their applications in with UCAS by 6pm on 3 October, 2016. UCAS says: “Dance, drama, or musical theatre courses may have different deadlines – check conservatoires’ websites for info.”

Oxbridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine

Time is pressing. Applications for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and for most courses in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine/science, should arrive at UCAS by 6pm on 15 October.

Links for prospective medics:

And similarly, here is our overview of the route into Oxford and Cambridge.

Personal statements and references

The deadline for university applications for most courses isn’t until 15 January next year, but Year 13s will want to get started on their applications, including at least thinking about their personal statements from now.

UniBox has advice on personal statements:

When it comes to writing references to support your students in their applications to uni, you might want to refer to UniBox’s 10-point checklist.

Year 12s

Open days

Universities will be running open days in the coming weeks, and students should maximise the value they get from these opportunities. UniBox has lots of great advice:

Subjects not taught at school

Students may have interests that take them away from the subjects on their school curriculum. There are many ways to explore these.

UniBox has talked at length about the Extended Project Qualification, which encourages a breadth of cross-disciplinary learning and lets pupils gain knowledge beyond their lesson timetable.

FutureLearn Choices is a great resource, offering free online courses across a whole range of subjects to introduce learners to new things, or help them consider and decide what direction they want their learning to take.
If you’re thinking of a medical-related course, you should look at the “top 10 tips” link, with video, mentioned above.

Good luck! Is there anything else that Year 12s and 13s should be doing now? Let us know in the comments.

Posted by Nicholas Manthorpe on Tue, 14 Feb 2017

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Nick was a reporter for the Eastern Daily Press and its sister weekly titles in Norfolk and Waveney, then served as Media Officer for North Norfolk District Council for 13 years. He now works as a writer and PR and media relations consultant. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, an associate member of the Chartered Management Institute and a member of East Anglian Writers.

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