University, apprenticeship and careers support

We want you to make the most of your time during sixth form and as well as studying hard in your subjects, we will provide you with access to a vast array of support and information to aid your plans for life after Cowes sixth form!

In addition to our dedicated careers lead, Miss Gibson, we also work with our careers advisor from Island Futures, to offer impartial 1:1 careers guidance. Here is a snapshot of the support we can offer:

Education & Training post-18 - University and Apprenticeships

We have excellent partnerships with universities including University of Southampton, University of Portsmouth and the Southern Universities Network (SUN). You will have opportunities to attend taster days, workshops and residentials on campus, as well as receiving regular visits at the academy from their outreach teams, who will deliver assemblies and presentations on how to complete university applications, write personal statements and apply for student finance.

We also receive regular visits from the Oxbridge outreach teams, offering a huge amount of support for students considering applications to read at Oxford or Cambridge.

If you are considering university as a future option then please explore the UCAS website to start to get a feel of the opportunities that are available to you https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate.

We understand that university might not be every students’ choice after sixth form and to provide you with the full range of information, advice and guidance, we work closely with the local apprenticeship providers and ALPHI Network to deliver up-to-date information on apprenticeships; including where to find them, how to apply, what they will entail in terms of work/study balance and how much you can expect to get paid. There is no central ‘hub’ for all apprenticeship opportunities but many can be found either directly on a companies own website, through UCAS or https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship.

Our students have excellent success rates for achieving places on Russell Group courses and our Aspire Programme offers specific support for students seeking these pathways.

Who are the Russell Group?

The Russell Group represents the 24 leading UK universities that are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience for students of all backgrounds and close links with business and the public sector.

Russell Group universities work hard to create the ideal learning environment for students to flourish. The combination of teaching and research excellence in the universities offer the chance to learn from some of the world’s most respected academics and benefit form the best teaching facilities in the UK: from libraries and lecture halls, to labs and online learning tools. In combination, this gives Russell Group graduates a huge step up to achieving success in the wider world. 

Entry requirements

Each Russell Group university sets its own entry requirements for each of its courses. This means that when you’re thinking about going to university, you’ll need to look on universities’ own websites or in their prospectuses to find the specific grades, qualifications and subjects that they require for the courses that you are interested in.

Russell Group Universities

Our students have excellent success rates for achieving places in Medical School and our Aspire Programme offers specific support for students seeking these pathways.

Is a career in Medicine the right choice for me?

If you’re a caring person and you’re interested in health and well-being then a career in medicine could be for you. You’ll often be based in a clinic, GPs surgery or hospital setting – though some roles are remotely based. You’ll need to be a people person with good communication skills for jobs in this sector.

You'll examine, diagnose and treat patients. You'll specialise in a particular area like:

  • surgery – caring for patients before, during and after an operation
  • medicine – treating general medical conditions and working in specialisms like cardiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, geriatrics and neurology
  • paediatrics – managing health conditions that affect babies, children and young people
  • pathology – investigating the cause of disease and the effect on patients
  • psychiatry – working with patients experiencing mental health problems like depression, anxiety, personality disorders and addiction
  • anaesthesia – giving anaesthetics for surgery and medical procedures
  • obstetrics and gynaecology – caring for pregnant women and their unborn children
  • oncology – treating patients with cancer

Depending on your role you might also:

  • lead a team of medical staff
  • manage a department
  • teach and supervise trainee doctors
  • write reports and keep GPs informed about the diagnosis and care of their patients

Entry requirements

To get on to a medical degree, you will require three A levels at high grades (typically A grades). Chemistry and biology A level are required by the majority of courses, with some schools preferring a third related science subject. It is important to check individual requirements with each university.

Personal Statement

Given the level of competition, personal statements form a significant part of the selection process. Admissions tutors are looking for:

  • evidence that you are well informed/motivated about your subject and that you have a realistic understanding of your future career interests, which could be demonstrated by:
  • relevant work experience and shadowing (this is a requirement or a strong recommendation for many degrees – minimum levels of time may apply )
  • additional reading around key issues, topics and the latest research
  • membership of relevant societies/clubs
  • a range of interests outside of academic study i.e. sport, music, voluntary work
  • a well written statement that demonstrates your analytical and critical thinking skills
  • an ability to work individually and in teams
  • the personal qualities required for careers within the medical and allied professions

Key dates

The UCAS entry deadline for students wishing to study medicine at University is the 15th October.

Additional Information

This is a highly competitive field, with medicine receiving some of the highest number of applications per place. Other selection tests may also be used, for example, the majority of medical schools will expect you to take either the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). They test the skills you'll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.


Our students have excellent success rates for achieving places on Oxbridge courses and our Aspire Programme offers specific support for students seeking these pathways.

What is Oxbridge? 

Oxbridge is a portmanteau of Oxford and Cambridge, the two oldest, wealthiest, and most famous universities in the United Kingdom. 

Both universities are made up of different colleges, there is no such thing as ‘The University of Oxford’, it is the name given to the collection of university buildings throughout the city. You will generally apply to a college, rather than to the university itself. 

Oxford and Cambridge trade places for the top spot in university league tables and admit more students from the state sector than from the private sector. 

Gaining a place to study at an Oxbridge university will give you access to world experts on your subject, world class libraries and facilities and an you will be part of an enquiring and intelligent student body. 

Studying at an Oxbridge university 

Oxford and Cambridge are very demanding universities; atypical student workload would include two 1500 word essays a week. By comparison, other Russell Group universities might ask for six essays per term. 

One of the biggest distinctions between Oxford/Cambridge and other universities is the tutorial system. 

For each module you will be expected to attend a once a week, hour long tutorial with a course tutor. This is usually 2:1 but can be 1:1. Often you may be having your tutorial with the person who wrote your text book! Tutorials can be demanding, they test your knowledge of the subject and your ability to think critically and logically. 

Passion for your subject is essential! 

Additional information 

Oxbridge have student societies for every taste, and college life means that students make friends quickly. The abundance of resources also means the majority of societies and clubs are very well supported. 

Each college will have its own website where you can get a more in depth look at the college than in the general prospectus. Each college and university also produce an ‘alternative prospectus’ written by current students. 

We strongly recommend that you visit before you make an application. 

The Application Process 

All students must apply via UCAS by 6pm, UK time, on 15th October. 

Cambridge also asks all applicants to complete an online Supplementary Application Questionnaire after submission of their UCAS application. Most Cambridge students will also sit the Thinking Skills Assessment at interview. 

Oxford will ask some students to sit a written test prior to their being shortlisted by the Universities and called to interview. For most courses, they will still call the majority for interview. 

Both Universities will ask for a submission of written work prior to the interview. Oxford will require this by the 10th November, Cambridge will advise your school. 

It is not possible to apply to both Oxford and Cambridge in the same admissions round, so students will have to choose one or the other. Both universities are world renowned in teaching and research in both arts and science subjects, so the decision is largely an individual one. 

Useful websites and resources

https://www.cam.ac.uk/study-at-cambridge

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford

https://lnat.ac.uk/

https://www.admissionstesting.org/

https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/student-advice/applying-to-uni/oxford-vs-cambridge

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Getting-into-Oxford-Cambridge-Entry/dp/1906041938


Employability Skills – Work Experience and Enrichment

During your time with us in the sixth form, we want you to grow and develop your skills, both academically and to prepare you for future employability! To that end, we work closely with all local employers and industry sectors, to be able to provide you with the best range of work experience and volunteering opportunities. Work experience is invaluable, and in some cases, essential, to demonstrating to future universities and employers that you have the commitment and passion that they are looking for. In particular, students have found placements with the NHS and BAE systems to be extremely beneficial.

We are excited to offer the opportunity for entrepreneurs to take part in Young Enterprise, empowering students to set up and run a company under the guidance of a business volunteer. Students make all the decisions about their business, from deciding on the company name, managing the company finances and selling to the public. YE teams gain practical business experience and key skills.