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St Edward's College

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Higher Education

The College boasts a long and proud tradition of having a high proportion of its students accepted to the country's top universities. Students benefit from a hands-on approach from dedicated Higher Education staff, with help and advice on finding the most appropriate course and institution to suit each individual. Once courses and institutions are finalised, advice on completing UCAS forms and personal statements is given. Our aim is to ensure that each student be able to make well-informed, realistic choices about the future, whether that be university study or employment or an apprenticeship.

The Higher Education landscape has undergone profound change in recent years and this process will surely continue. For students to be well prepared for their university application it is essential that they are given the knowledge to best navigate their way through the myriad of courses and universities on offer. The College aims to provide this in a variety of different ways and enable students to make wise decisions regarding their plans for Higher Education. We have a good track record of students achieving both a strong number of offers at a time of high competition as well as offers from some of the world’s top universities and top courses.  To ensure our pupils and students obtain the best opportunities, speakers from local universities visit the College to deliver talks and workshops with Sixth Form students before the start of the application process to UCAS. Students all benefit from visiting a Higher Education Open Day at Liverpool University in Year 12.



Our aim is to help every student to gain a place in Higher Education either at the end of Year 13 or, if a student chooses to, following a gap year. In order to achieve this we offer comprehensive and expert advice at every stage of the applications process. Students begin to receive Higher Education advice from Year 10 onwards. The College sees the need to encourage and inform pupils in their early teenage years to contemplate their future, giving them time to discover who they are, what they want to study and what career path to progress towards.

Staff who know the students well such as form teachers, subject teachers and the Head of Sixth Form are key to this successful support and advice service. We have considerable experience and a proven track record of success in guiding students' applications to universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, for which we have a separate preparation programme which commences during GCSE study.  Of course university study is not for everyone, and so our Careers Breakfast Events and Sixth Form Lecture programme also prepare students for other options, such as Higher Level Apprenticeships.

In his role as Senior Sixth Form Tutor, Mr Ion overseas the Higher Education application process and is always happy to speak with any student or parent who has any queries about applying for universities.


Unifrog is the leading Higher Education guidance and advice service for students and Sixth Forms.  Our staff and students use unifrog to help inform their decisions and to organise the application and referencing process.  It is also a brilliant service for signposting students towards Higher Level Apprenticeships, which are an increasingly popular option among out students.


Where students are applying to the most competitive courses in the United Kingdom, such as at Oxbridge and other leading universities or in Medicine Dentistry or Veterinary Science, they need specially tailored advice and preparation must begin early in Year 12.  From 2018 we are fortunate to have been able to appoint a Scholarship Coordinator to support these students.  Stefanie Hale works for Christ Church College Oxford overseeing their regional outreach work.  Having grown up on Merseyside, she will be working at St Edward’s on a part-time basis to supervise and encourage applications to Oxbridge and other particularly competitive Higher Education routes.  She will meet regularly with the student to discuss work, offer reading advice and give guidance and assistance, where necessary, for any entry examinations. A trip to Oxford and Cambridge universities is also offered to help inform student decisions.

Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry applicants are also well-supported with entry test preparation, advice in organising work experience and mock interview work with professionals in their field.  The College makes good use of its wide base of contacts in all sectors, often resulting in students being given valuable mock interviews with Old Edwardians, now experts in their area.


In the highly competitive environment of university applications we know how important it is that students can show their interest in subjects outside of the classroom. The College offers an excellent range of extra-curricular activities such as sport, DofE, debating, drama, Engineering clubs, Advocacy schemes and charity work which all help to complement and enhance a student's application. 

For those who wish to gain a further qualification, the College offer students the chance to undertake the Extended Project (EPQ), which enables students to produce a 5000 word essay on a subject matter of their choice. Students are encouraged to choose a topic that relates to the course they plan to study, therby strengthening their UCAS application and personal statement. Students undertaking the EPQ in 2017 achieved excellent results with 90% of candidates achieving an A grade or higher.

These experiences also enable our students to develop their soft skills for university, developing confidence and higher level thinking as well as talents of oration and discussion necessary for top universities.


Year 12

  • Talk on Choosing What and Where To Study delivered by a university
  • Launch of Unifrog for Year 12
  • Parents’ UCAS and Higher Education Information Evening to focus on the application process and Student Finance
  • Attend Higher Education Conference at Liverpool University


  • Draft Personal Statement, attend open days, start to fill out UCAS form

Year 13

  • UCAS References and Predicted Grades produced by College teaching staff
  • Students work with Form Tutors on completing their UCAS application


  • 1 October - deadline for all Oxbridge applications and early applicants (Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry, Music Conservatoires)
  • October half term - internal deadline for all UCAS applications


  • Christmas holidays – the referencing and checking procedure for these critical applications takes time and must not be rushed.  Where an application is submitted before our internal UCAS deadline, the College guarantees to send it off to universities before the Christmas holidays (and much sooner wherever possible)


  •  Advice on applications for student finance


  • The UCAS website is the most important website, if you are making an application to a UK university. It has guidance and advice on how to complete an application, student finance, course search (which lists every course available at all the UK institutions) and a tracker to track your application once it has been made. When an offer is made you will find out through your account on the UCAS website. Start searching for courses as early as possible, so visit this now!
  • The Student Room is the largest student community in the world. Want advice from people who have already applied and are studying the course at the university you wish to attend – then go to the forums and find out all the information you need!
  • The Russell Group universities are a group of the 24 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector. Find the list of universities by following the link and see if you want to apply to any of these institutions.
  • Scholarship Search gives you loads of information about applying for scholarships to universities, helping either fully, or partially, towards the cost of going to university. If you are concerned about costs for universities, a scholarship might be easier to get than you think – search by following the link.
  • The complete university guide is simply what it says on the tin. Have a look at the resources on their website.
  • The Guardian has loads of information and answers to questions you might have about the whole spectrum of universities and applying to them. Take a look!
  • Find out all the answers to your questions about costs of living, how you can afford to study at university and how much the government will loan you on the Student Finance  England website.
  • For free examples of personal statements visit Studential. Remember your personal statement must be plaigarism-free!


  • Gapyear.com offer an online and printed directory of gap year organisations and opportunities
  • The Year Out Group includes over 30 gap-year organisations that provide opportunities at home and abroad
  • Travel companies that offer a booking service covering travel, volunteering and work experience abroad also include Real Gap and STA Travel.


See the following websites for advice or see Mr Ray:

  • The Complete University Guide has information about studying abroad
  • A Star Future has information on studying in Europe and further afield
  • Fulbright has a wealth of resources and information about applying to universities in America. As already stated, the process can be very daunting – so take a look and you will see it is not as difficult as it might seem!
  • The Sutton Trust is very similar to Fulbright, giving loads of advice about applying to US universities, but also has the added benefit of explaining the scholarship system. Take a look to see if your family background gives you the opportunity to be eligible for a scholarship.
  • Want further advice, look on universities in the USA website.
  • For information about studying in Canada visit the Government of Canada website