Personal Development

Applying to university

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UCAS stands for University and Colleges Admission Service.

If you wish to apply for university in the UK then you must do so via UCAS.

All students are required to sign up to UCAS, even if you currently think you do not wish to apply to university. We ask you to do so, as circumstances may change and students often change their minds about what they would like to do post sixth form. We also require students to explore all pathways before deciding on one, so you can’t discount university as an option until you have researched it thoroughly.

At this stage, year 13 students should be completing their applications and writing their personal statements using the resources that have been provided through the tutor programme.

Visit the UCAS Website

UCAS Step By Step Guide 2023

Bluecoat Sixth Form UCAS Predicted Grades Policy

When a student applies to University through UCAS, the school is asked to give predicted grades in order that Universities are best able to establish the suitability of the student to their chosen courses. See below the answers to some frequently asked questions.

  1. When do students get their predicted grades?

Predicted grades will open for staff to input them during the summer data snap shot. Teachers will be able to assess all the data at their disposal whilst ensuring that all students, including early-entry applicants (Oxbridge, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary) have sufficient time to choose their courses appropriately based on these.

  1. How are predicted grades decided?

It is essential that we predict grades that we feel are a true reflection of each student’s ability and potential. We adopt an honest and evidence-based approach to this process, whereby attainment and progress in Year 12 is the main indicator of future performance.

The teacher or teachers of each subject decide the predicted grades for their students, as they know their own students best. They may consider some or all of the following factors when making their decision:

  • Results of Year 12 half-termly assessments
  • Results of Year 12 mock exams
  • General attitude to learning and commitment
  • Performance in homework assignments
  • GCSE results
  • The student’s drive and passion for the subject
  • Contextual information that may have impacted on student performance
  • Professional judgement and experience of making UCAS predictions

For example, a student who consistently achieves ‘C’ grades throughout Year 12 in assessments and homework assignments in a particular subject may be awarded a predicted grade of a ‘C’, or indeed a ‘B’ if they have an excellent work ethic and attitude to learning. It is unlikely, however, that such a student would be predicted an ‘A’ grade, as the evidence would not support such a prediction.

Teachers will not base their predictions on a student’s wishes, what the student needs to get into a particular course, or on students’ promises that they will ‘work harder’. While this affirmation is certainly admirable, it is the case that Year 13 students work harder than they did in Year 12, simply to maintain their grades, due to the increased difficulty of final year content.

  1. Over-inflated predictions

It is understandable that students and parents may desire teachers to over-predict A Level grades, in order that the student may access a particular University course. However, we have a professional and moral responsibility to ensure that the student has realistic expectations with regards to their abilities, whilst still remaining motivational and aspirational.

The potential consequences of over-predicting A-Level grades are that students may find themselves without a university place when they receive their results, as they achieved what teachers originally predicted, but not the higher grades that were requested. Future students may also be affected, as the school’s reputation for accurate predictions is diminished. University admission tutors build up a knowledge of the accuracy of a particular school’s predictions. Therefore, if the school becomes known for over-predicting, then future applications are put at a disadvantage, as their predicted grades will be brought into question. Finally, teachers are asked to go against their professional judgement and honest opinion, which is not moral, nor is it fair to other students who are given an accurate prediction that may be lower than they would like.

  1. Appeals

If a student feels that a particular predicted grade is not a true reflection of their ability or what they may achieve at the end of Year 13, then they may ask for the grade to be increased by providing a letter of appeal to the Head of Faculty. This should outline the reasons why they think the predicted grade is not a fair assessment of what they may achieve. The Head of Faculty will then consult the subject teacher or teachers, following which a final decision will be made as to whether or not the grade should be increased. Please note that the final decision will rest with the Head of Faculty.

  1. What happens next?

Teachers input their predicted grades along with their comments for the student’s UCAS reference. This information is passed along to the student’s tutor, who will then put the grades onto the student’s UCAS application, along with their completed reference. The application is then checked by a member of the sixth form team, before finally being sent to UCAS.

The Sixth Form places great importance in supporting students in planning their destinations on completion of their studies in the Sixth Form. For the majority this involves the choice of both a course and institution as they take up a place at University and access Higher Education. We have a designated UCAS co-ordinator on hand to support students’ applications, as well as an experienced and knowledgeable team of form tutors. In addition to this year 12 students are taken to the UCAS Higher Education fair to meet with University representatives, as well as being granted days off in the summer term to attend open days.

University is not the right option for all students and equal support is provided to those students who choose to pursue other options including apprenticeships, traineeships or entering employment directly. We work with the national apprenticeship service and regional employers to develop employability skills and ensure students leave ready for the world of work.

Parent / Guardian Support and Advice:

UCAS Results confirmations and clearing videos (click on the below text):

Undergraduate results       What is clearing?

Student finance

Most students are entitled to student finance for university.

There are generally 2 different loans which you may be entitled to:

  • Tuition fee loan
  • Maintenance loan

Here is a link to a video which breaks down student finance, and will hopefully help to ease your mind about student finance. Please also so the additional financial support video on the page as well for even more guidance.

Nottingham Trent University:


Unifrog is a fantastic one-stop-shop for all post 16 options and careers advice.

It has many resources to help you decide which post 16 pathway may be most suitable for you.

You can research universities, their courses, apprenticeships, MOOCs and much more.

It also allows you to create shortlists for the options you are interested in, so that you can keep track in one convenient place.

You can also practice your personal statement on there, using their useful tips and breakdown and saving it as you go. Please see the personal statement section of the website.

Once you start making applications, you can keep track of those on Unifrog as well so you can always refer back to them.

Here is a guide on getting started on Unifrog.

Researching your Options & Degree Apprenticeships

Deciding which pathway is best for you post sixth form can seem like a daunting task. These useful tools will help guide you through the process, and help you realise what is important to you.

You can find very useful information on Unifrog. Please complete the personality and interests quizzes and use your findings from these to inform your research.

Loughborough University support

Broadening Horizons (code 28230)

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships have become increasingly popular over the past few years. If you’d like to pursue further study while gaining a head-start in your career, a degree-level apprenticeship could be the first step – without the price tag of a traditional degree and all while earning a salary as well.

Please use the following resources to research these in more detail.



Advanced Access

Personal Statement

Year 13s are required to have completed their personal statement by the Christmas holidays in order to complete their UCAS application.

No matter what pathway you wish to pursue post sixth form, you will be required to write some form of personal statement, so this is an essential skill.

Hopefully you were able to tune in to the workshop which Nottingham Trent University hosted via Microsoft live.

If you missed it, here is the content which they covered – see the personal statement section on the website:

NTU Support with researching and applying to university

Here is a guide on how to do your personal statement on Unifrog

Contact Us

Bluecoat Sixth Form
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Tel: 0115 900 7215

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