University Guidance

Applying to University

The first part of this process is undertaken when you choose your A-Level and/or BTEC/CTEC options. We always interview applicants so that the student’s aspirations can be matched to the subjects that they choose to study in Sixth Form.

It has been an “open secret” that many universities prefer certain subjects. The Russell Group Universities (containing Universities that are well regarded for their research) have published “Informed Choices” which suggests subject combinations for most degrees. Any student who expects to be getting As and Bs at A-Level would be well advised to take the information presented in this report into account when choosing their subjects. russell group informed choices


During Year 12, students should be starting to narrow down choices for study after Sixth Form. They must take into account predicted grades and current performance in modules or coursework.  (When applying for University either the AS grades achieved or the teachers professional predictions will be likely to form the basis of predicted grades, and that Universities will compare the AS grades with the predicted A2 grades in considering whether to make an offer.)  Usually, a student is able to apply for 5 different degree courses, and this is done directly through UCASThe school will give the students a “buzzword” so that their application is connected with The Saint John Henry Newman Catholic School.

Normal Procedure:


  • Subject Teachers write a reference for each student; these are collated for the Form Tutors. Also included are current results (eg AS grade or BTEC level) plus a predicted grade.
  • Students log in to UCAS and enter basic details (eg, name, address, ...). Start to plan your personal statement.

Summer Holidays   

Research Universities offering the degree that you are interested in.


Final decision on which AS subjects to take to A2. Students should have selected their degree course and have narrowed down the Universities to whom they intend to apply.

Once the student has chosen which courses and Universities to apply to, there are some specific deadlines (please note that it is in your interest to apply early, as some courses begin short-listing as soon as they receive applications, and may have to stop short-listing before the official closing date as they have already met their quota of offers that they are allowed to make): 

Please be aware that applications to UK Conservatoires may follow a different application procedure.  Further specific guidance is available from the Music Department 

Mid- September      

Students submitting applications for Oxbridge, Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Science.
This allows one month for your Tutor to write your reference and for your form to be proof-read by the Sixth Form Team.

Mid- November                   

All other applications submitted.
This allows 1 month for Tutors to get all references written and for all applications to be proof-read by the Sixth Form Team. Not meeting this deadline means that your application might be sent off with errors in it.

Note that Art degrees sometimes follow a different application procedure. Further specific guidance is available from the Art Department.