#BeMoreBHASVIC Higher Education,
Further Education & Study Abroad

Supporting your young person through the university process may seem exciting, but also can be daunting with many choices and considerations. Over 70% of our students choose to enter Higher Education, around 25% after taking a gap year, and at BHASVIC we have available plenty of support for our students. This is mainly delivered through the tutorial system but may well include advice and guidance from teaching staff, and expertise from our careers and HE advisors.

Although students are kept well informed; it may well be helpful for you to know what happens in college, and how you might be able to support your young person at home. Please see information below for tutorial support throughout A1 and A2 at BHASVIC.

We suggest looking carefully on any university website for specific requirements and please do contact admissions officers as they will have email contact addresses as well as phone numbers.  All universities want to increase their numbers of applications and will want to help.

Parents and carers of A1 and A2 students had the opportunity to attend our Higher Education Information Webinars in March and our Specialist Applications Evening in May, please scroll down the page to view these under their specific subject headings). Our BHASVIC Parents & Carers Guide to Higher Education 2023-24 is full of helpful information and useful resources.

What should your young person be doing at the moment to prepare for their UCAS application? Whatever stage of the UCAS journey students are following there is always plenty of help and support available. Alongside a range of resources, including Bitesize audio and information sessions in college, there is much information and guidance to help students along their way. Sessions in tutorial in both A1 and A2 years, support any student making a UCAS or degree level application for any course, now or in the future. All universities have plenty of virtual information available and we do encourage students to ask questions of admissions officers, particular those specific to a course they wish to apply for, and attend university open days.

Very experienced personal tutors support them in their UCAS, Oxbridge and Medics pathways, and Teams channels and groups also support with regularly updated information and opportunities that come through to us. Students also apply through UCAS via the Visual Arts and Employability and Enterprise pathways – they also are well-supported by very knowledgeable specialists. Students should keep an eye out for updates and registering for the UCAS Hub provides useful UCAS-related content.

A quick listen to the Bitesize Audio presentations available below will provide an overview of information and considerations.  
If you require further support please email he@bhasvic.ac.uk.


Contact us for help

Please do email us with any BHASVIC specific or general questions regarding Higher Education

We have a dedicated email address for questions, although please be aware that every higher education institution is different, with different courses and requirements, and we often can’t give specific advice on institutions and courses.

HE@bhasvic.ac.uk

We will aim to reply in term time as soon as possible and emails are monitored most of holiday times, although there may be a short delay.

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Nikki Fabry

Guidance Manager, Higher and Further Education, Study Abroad 

Higher Education Noticeboard - Please note we are in the process of updating our documents for the year 2022/2023.

 

General HE info for Parents and Carers:

There is a huge amount of information online regarding university choices and higher education. This is just a few suggestions of websites to browse. It is worth spending time with your young person looking together researching the right courses and institutions for them. 

Please find more suggestions in the useful links section below including resources for:

Options & Careers/University Research/Finance/Scholorships/Open Days/Taster Days/Summer Schools/Events/Work Placements/Study Abroad/Gap Year/Volunteering.

 

The BHASVIC Higher Education information webinar evenings for parents and carers, took place for our A1 (first year) cohort on Thursday 2 March and our A2 (second year) cohort on Tuesday 7 March.

A1 Higher Education including Progression -  Thursday 2 March - HERE..

Every student’s choice is different and individual to them, and at BHASVIC we help all our students in this process, giving them tools and ideas to support their independent research, ready to return to writing personal statements and applications in the Autumn term.  This webinar starts with a brief introduction to the variety of options now available post-18, and the support that is available at BHASVIC. We outline what studying a degree involves and focus on the important decision-making processes. We also covered how the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) application process works and provide an overview of student finance. 

A2 Higher Education including Student Finance - Tuesday 7 March - Please view the recording HERE.

This event updated parents and carers about the process of transition into university (Higher Education).  Students are currently receiving offers from universities and weighing up their options before firming-up places. Our webinar covered topics such as accommodation and how you can prepare your young person for university life. We will looked at student finance and how universities support students, including the Disabled Student Allowance, also addressing how BHASVIC can help your young person after leaving college, including how to apply to university as a former BHASVIC student. 

Support at home in making these life changing decisions is critical, and all evidence shows that parents and carers have a huge influence on their young person’s decisions.  We were able to answer questions on the night, but please do not hesitate to email he@bhasvic.ac.uk with any queries – large or small.  If we haven’t got an immediate answer, we will point you in the right direction.

Please check the wealth of resources on our Higher Education website page (scroll down the page for further specialist pathway information including: Oxbridge, Medics, Conservatoires) and see the helpful BHASVIC Parents and Carers Guide to Higher Education 2023-2024, designed to support you as our students navigate their journeys. Specialist careers advisers can offer further support for careers, widening participation (WP), work experience and higher education, so please encourage your young person to book an appointment with them by emailing careers@bhasvic.ac.uk if they would like further advice. Our student services team also offer advice on counselling, bursaries, financial support and welfare, please find full information on our website Our Support Services

Our Specialist Applications Evening for parents and carers of our A1 cohort took place on-site on Wednesday 3 May 2023, please see the sections for the Oxbridge and Medics pathways below. Further resources can be found on our Careers & Employability page.

These events are deliberately timed to prepare parents and carers for supporting their young person through Progression Week in the Summer Term.  

 

Useful Links

Options & Careers

University Research

Finance / Scholarships

Open days / Taster Days / Summer Schools / Events

Work Placements

Study Abroad

Gap year

Volunteering

The following calendar gives you some idea of how we support students at BHASVIC in deciding whether to apply for higher education and if they do decide to apply, how to select their university and relevant course, and how to complete the application process. We are currently updating this information.

Applying to BHASVIC

  • Careers staff available – students encouraged to book appointments with our careers staff
  • How parents/carers can support: Talk to students about their BHASVIC course choices, future plans.

A1 Year (Spring) 

  • My Future Plans - Tutor sessions considering pathways – higher education, apprenticeships
  • Futures Fair – wide range of exhibitors from all sectors
  • A1-A2 Transfer - Students make their second year course choices
  • Higher Education/Specialist evenings for parents/carers – parents evenings
  • Careers staff available – students encouraged to book appointments with our careers staff
  • How parents/carers can support: HE evening for parents/carers, talk to students about their BHASVIC course choices, future plans.

A1 Year (Summer)

  • Research skills – 6 Tutor sessions dedicated to considering future pathways
  • Open days – Students begin to attend open days at universities they may be interested in
  • Progression Week – Students have an opportunity to attend a local university   
  • Careers Enrichment Day – Students must attend pathway sessions and have an opportunity to attend a local university and begin researching options.
  • Careers staff available – students encouraged to book appointments with our careers staff
  • Personal Statements – Students introduced to personal statements – an important aspect of their applications
  • Contextual Information – Students give draft information to tutors to help them write information in support of their UCAS application.
  • Student Reports –are completed in July. Subject references are made available via Parent Advantage to parents / carers at the end of term
  • Predicted Grades – are completed in July. They are made available via the Parent Portal to parents/carers at the end of term
  • Tutor Contextual Information – students check and update information with tutors prior to the application being sent off to UCAS.
  • Preparation work for Personal Statements – to be completed in the autumn term
  • Summer schools and taster days – in preparation for applying to university
  • How parents/carers can support: Support students in researching options. Support and encourage students to attend university open days. Discuss choices and encourage matching preferred choices with realistic predicted grades. Home will receive subject references.
  • Open Days: There is a lot of useful info online. Students will be spending a lot of time and money at University and we strongly suggest visiting universities to check they are right for them. Prime times are June/July and September/October. Students need to plan and book online in advance. We will authorise absences on receipt of evidence (emails) to reception.
  • UCAS Open Days search tool: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/getting-started/events-and-open-days

A2 Year (Autumn) 

  • College Internal Deadlines for all guaranteed UCAS applications
    • Early Application deadline Usually the third week of September for Oxbridge and Cambridge.
    • Internal Priority Application deadline second week of November for guaranteed processing before the national deadline.
    • Internal Standard deadline Early December after the Christmas break.
    • Ex-student deadline Early December.
  • Personal Statements – focus in tutor on writing Personal Statements (5/6 sessions) and support given by tutors on draft statements to improve quality. Additional support offered to WP students.
  • UCAS Apply Sessions – BHASVIC runs regular sessions (every lunchtime through mid-October to end of November) where Guidance managers will check students online applications. Students MUST attend a session for their application to progress
  • Contextual Information, Predicted Grades and Personal Statements – checked and reviewed in tutor sessions
  • How parents/carers can support: Continue to support researching options. Open days will still be available early in the autumn term. Read through personal statements. Encourage to be realistic about choices reflective of predicted grades. Remind students to check their emails.
  • Ensure deadlines are met: This is crucial. Our general office staff (and university staff) are term time only so do not work over Christmas.
  • Encourage email checking: If there is an error on a student’s Apply form we will need to contact the student to ask them to correct the information. If students do not check their emails regularly this becomes problematic.
  • Aspirational/Solid/Safe: We encourage students to make a mix of applications. Aspirational choices will be slightly above predicted grades, solid will predict their grades and safe may well be slightly under. This will ensure they are able to make effective Firm and Insurance Offers when universities make offers later on.
  • Firm/Insurance offers: There is lots of really good information online regarding offers.

A2 Year (Spring)

  • FINAL UCAS Application deadline 15th January 2021(Internal deadline to book UCAS Apply session 27th November 2020)
  • Tutor – University preparation - accommodation / Student Finance / Independent Living
  • 1st May – Deadline for offers and replies otherwise they disappear
  • Student Finance Applications
  • How parents/carers can support: Remind students to check their emails and UCAS track. Students need to register for student finance around May-time. They will need their NI number. If they delay their finance maybe delayed, including their maintenance loans for September.
  • Student Finance Applications: Usually open for registration in May. Students must register before the deadline (please check – Usually sometime in May). They will confirm after results day when accepting their offers. 

A2 Year (Summer)

  • Deadline for University replies and offers – check UCAS website
  • Clearing and UCAS Extra opens for late applications.
  • Study leave and revision!
  • How parents/carers can support: Support students with revision. Planning for University – discuss accommodation and finance. Encourage learning skills of Independent Living including budgeting, basic cooking skills etc.

A2 Year (Results day)

  • Mid-August – BHASVIC Helpdesk opens (until end of August)
  • UCAS Adjustment opens
  • UCAS Apply 31st August Offer conditions must be met & Adjustment ends
  • How parents/carers can support: Support students with acceptances/offers/clearing. Students may contact universities through clearing or adjustment (when grades are better than expected).

The Medical Careers tutorial pathway is intended to prepare students for making applications to medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, and meeting the early UCAS deadline for applications in these subjects.

It is enhanced by specialist enrichment activities during A1 year which students can choose to attend. Students will move into a Medics tutor group in the final half term of their A1 year and during Progression Week, students will commit time to completing further detailed research into different medical schools and universities, as well as different course entry requirements and any additional requirements required or suggested by the higher education providers (for example, work experience, extra-curricular activities, entrance exams).

Please see the additional information below or contact Stella Coleman, Our Medics Coordinator through HE@bhasvic.ac.uk.

As a parent/carer, you may find the following information and links helpful in preparing to support your young person with their next steps:

The Oxbridge tutorial pathway is intended to prepare prospective Oxbridge applicants for making a competitive application, and meeting the early UCAS deadline required for these colleges. Students interested in applying for an Oxbridge pathway will have the opportunity to attend enrichment after college in A1 year and can choose to join an Oxbridge tutor group in June of their first year.

During Progression Week, students followed a programme of events and activities which helped them to understand the process of applying to Oxford or Cambridge. They were expected to complete detailed research into the different colleges, as well as course entry and other special requirements. After Progression Week, they began the A2 tutorial programme led by Natalya Luck, our experienced Oxbridge Co-ordinator.

All Oxbridge tutees should expect to commit time over to complete the personal statement assignments set by their Oxbridge tutor to ensure they are best placed to make a competitive application. They will also begin preparation for entrance exams.

If students require further specific information or support with their Oxbridge research, please encourage them to chat with Talya or Nikki through the Team or by emailing HE@bhasvic.ac.uk

As a parent/carer, you may find the following information and links helpful in preparing to support your young person with their next steps. 

UCAS is the application service for performance-based music, dance, drama, and musical theatre courses
at conservatoires in the UK – at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Please find more information in our BHASVIC Conservatoires Guide 2022-23.

Conservatoire courses are very much based on practical training and performance, rather than the more academic courses available
through UCAS Undergraduate and UCAS Postgraduate. If your young person is interested in a practical discipline, such as
instrumental or vocal performance, then a conservatoire course may be a more beneficial route for them.

BHASVIC fully supports students taking the Conservatoire route and many of the application processes are similar to a standard UCAS application.

A key difference is the need for both an academic and a practical reference. We can help. Please email HE@bhasvic.ac.uk for more information.

 

Every year a small number of our students choose to study abroad. Popular choices have included studying in the Netherlands, where many courses are taught in English, the USA and elsewhere in Europe.

The application process can be complex. There is no UCAS system for Higher Education Institutions worldwide so individual deadlines, courses and entry requirements need to be carefully researched by students. A key consideration is funding as Student Finance England (student loans) do not cover study abroad.

We have a great deal of information on our VLE covering many different countries worldwide which should be a first point of call for any student interested.

We can support any application to an institution abroad. Institutions may require transcripts and a variety of documents to support an application and it is useful to have time to prepare these in advance. It is really helpful if students can give us plenty of notice if thinking of taking this route by emailing HE@bhasvic.ac.uk.

There are options run by many universities for students to study part of their degree abroad. The benefits for this are that universities manage accommodation through link universities and it is generally covered by UK Student Finance. This is an attractive option across a range of courses and universities. More information and how to research study abroad options in UK degrees is covered in our Bitesize Study Abroad PowerPoint (please see Bitesize section above).

Students Destinations

UCAS

  • BHASVIC processed 1650 University applications by the national deadline of January 2023 from current and ex-students – an increase from 893 in 2015
  • Around 70% of our students enter Higher Education with around a quarter taking a gap year before they go.
  • We continue to be pleased that our percentage of Higher Education acceptance routes for Widening Participation (including low income, first in family to go to university, care-leavers) and BAME groups is significantly higher than the national average.
  • 61% of BHASVIC students accepted a place at a high tariff university (including Oxbridge & Russell Group), substantially higher than the national average of 35%.
  • Number of Oxbridge offers continues to increase year on year with over 343 offers in the past six years – making us the highest non-selective state provider to Cambridge.
  • We have seen a sustained increase in Medics, Veterinary and Dentistry offers with an offer rate of around 1:2 compared to 1:10 nationally.
  • HESA data shows 93.3% of our students achieve first or 2:1 degrees, substantially higher than the general sixth form sector. Excellent success rates at university study are replicated amongst low participation wards and First-generation scholars.
  • 70% of our vulnerable and disadvantaged students (low income, young carers, in care, care leavers) go onto university and 60% of our students receiving learning support – figures equal to our main student cohort.
  • 9% of our students’ progress into specialised further education, including very successful art foundation entry.

HESA Data 

  • HESA data shows our students are more likely to complete university compared to the general sixth form, state and independent sectors
  • 92.5% of our students achieve first and 2:1 degrees, substantially higher than the independent, state and sixth form sector in general. For students from low participation wards for all UK universities the figure is 92% compared to 84% for the state sector and 91.5% for the Independent sector.
  • Additionally, we know that our students from disadvantaged backgrounds perform higher than any other sector and are more likely to continue at university.

ESOL

  • 32 completed June 2022
  • 14 different nationalities, 5 different first languages
  • ESOL students go onto a variety of pathways including academic studies at BHASVIC, vocational courses in the local area and employment.

Internal Deadlines: Please encourage your young person to meet these deadlines/ It is in their best interest and we process over 1650 applications.

  • 22 September 23: Early Application Internal deadline for completion of all Oxbridge/Medics applications to process for the national deadline 16/10/23.
  • 10 November  23: Internal Priority deadline for completion of UCAS applications. Applications completed by this date are likely to be processed more quickly by both BHASVIC and universities.
  • 1st December 23: Internal Standard deadline for completion of UCAS applications. Applications completed by this date are likely to be processed after the Christmas break in time for the national deadline.

Please note staff DO NOT work over the Christmas break and may have January work priorities that may delay processing in the Spring Term after Christmas.

UCAS National Deadlines:

  • 31 January 2024 - Deadline for undergraduate university applications. 
  • 23 February 2024 - UCAS Extra opens for any applicants who received no offers, or who rejected all their offers. 
  • 8 June 2024 - Reply to offers if you’ve received your decisions 18 May 2024. 
  • 30 June 2024 - Applications received after 6pm will automatically be entered into Clearing
  • 30 June 2024 - Last date to add a UCAS Extra choice.
  • 5 July 2024 - Clearing 2024 opens
  • 17 July 2024 – Reply to offers if you get all your decisions by 12 July 2024
  • 21 September 2024 - Final date for 2024 UCAS undergraduate applications.
  • 17 October 2024 - Clearing 2024 closes

What are they? 

A UCAS Predicted Grade is an evidence-based, professional judgement provided by the college about the most likely final grade the student will achieve in the qualification. UCAS Predicted Grades are formulated by the teacher using a holistic assessment of performance across the first year of study. We provide UCAS Predicted Grades in a student’s college reference. These grades are most commonly used for a student’s UCAS application, but they can also be used by the college for other student application processes and reference requests. The UCAS Predicted Grade is not used in any final assessment judgements and sits outside of any assessments required of the college from awarding bodies. As such, the college aims to provide an optimistic and aspirational UCAS Predicted Grade and this is not normally lower than final progression grades achieved at the end of the A1 year.

Any grade that is predicted by a teacher is their judgement of the most likely achievable final result, but it is obviously not a guarantee of that grade. Assessment evidence and progress reports across the second/final year of study, especially in the Spring and Early Summer Terms, will be the most accurate predictor of the likely final grade.

When and where are UCAS Predicted Grades used?

UCAS Predicted Grades are generated by teachers in June of our students’ A1 year. These are checked in the beginning of the Autumn Term of the A2 year. The grades are added to the student reference at the beginning of our students’ A2 year and subsequently rechecked, alongside references, for accuracy with all students by Personal Tutors.

Communication to students

Students will be introduced to UCAS Predicted Grades (how they are generated and when they are used) in A1 tutorial during the first half of the Spring Term, when they are exploring their progression plans. This comes late enough for A1 students to put the information into context, but early enough so that they can act on it in support of their ambitions. In the A2 year, students will be able to see their predicted grades via their online college profile and as part of the UCAS Application Process.

Communication to parents and carers

Parents and carers are sent a copy of the draft reference at the end of the A1 year; this reference does not include UCAS Predicted Grades for courses.

Queries regarding UCAS Predicted Grades

The Predicted Grade is not negotiable and we ask students and their parents or carers to avoid lobbying teachers or Personal Tutors to have their UCAS Predicted Grade raised. We ask this because over-predicting grades can be counter-productive for students and many universities and colleges monitor the accuracy of schools’ and colleges’ predictions – we do not want to disadvantage current and future students by having a reputation of making unrealistic and over-optimistic predictions.

Students are asked in the first instance to contact their course teacher to seek advice and guidance with regard to their predicted grades. We would hope that students will understand how the grade has been generated and its relationship to their progress grades and grade history. If a student, parent or carer believes that a UCAS Predicted Grade is very clearly incorrect, then the student should speak with their subject teacher, providing a very clear set of information to their teacher (on-course assessments, mock exam results and other formal assessments) which clearly make a case for consistently higher performance than the prediction. If a grade is not changed and the student, parent or carer remains absolutely certain that the prediction is incorrect, the college’s Complaints Policy should be followed.

Requests for Predicted Grades for Ex-students

The college is not able to provide predicted grades for ex-students who are re-sitting exams. Teachers will not have evidence of the student’s performance over the year on which to base a new predicted grade. We are able to provide a supporting letter to universities detailing grades achieved whilst at college, attitude to learning and any extenuating circumstances which might have negatively impacted or limited a student’s achievement in previous exams. Any such letters will be at the discretion of the college.

There will be lots of students in this position due to linear changes to qualifications from all sectors of colleges/FE. 

Every university is different so it is worth discussing with individual universities (ringing admissions officers who will want to be helpful) what they might offer. Linear exams are new to universities too and they are yet to revise offers regarding 3 full A levels BUT it is a student’s market and discussions with regard to individual choices would be of benefit.

Students will have to investigate universities offering on points – there is a wide range although some of the competitive higher tariff universities will be out of range due to probably insisting on 3 full A levels. We cannot speak for them – students will have to research.

An additional AS/BTEC certificate will add 12-28 points for a good pass to distinction which would be useful. There is the added option of an EPQ to raise the possible points to apply with which is a gain of points that add more than an AS level – another 20-28 points for a good pass.

An additional option is to apply for a third year of further education elsewhere which offers possibly a BTEC in a year. Some students will choose this option.

Or a very good option is to choose a university offering a foundation year. 4th year added to a degree which supports a change of progression plans to pick up maths for example, or to apply with lower grades. A good example of this is the Sussex Foundation degree which asks for the equivalent of CCC (but may well be flexible) to apply for a second year entering AAA degrees. Other examples in UCAS Extra including nursing degrees with foundation asking DD.

Without knowing a student’s particular progression plans it is hard to comment further and responsibility will be down to students to research carefully, contact universities and ask. There may well be preference in any recovery course so it is worth finding out. The long and short is that there will be a cohort in the position.

Generally I would advise looking at the high number of quality universities prepared to offer on UCAS points – there are plenty, or Foundation years – which are really good courses and growing in number in a range of high/mid/lower tariff universities.