Five things Sixth Formers should be doing this summer

16th Jun 2017

Most new Upper Sixth students returned to school this week and at Radnor we started proceedings with a lecture on UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) and how to select the right subjects.

It is never easy for those 16 and 17 year olds who spent the last few weeks revising to be told that lessons and homework start up again where they left off.

It is very common for A-Level students to have little or no idea about what or where to study when they leave school and so the following five point action plan might be a helpful starting point.

1) Be proactive - there is no point burying your head in the sand and pretending choices don't matter. Most independent schools (Radnor included) ask for UCAS applications to be completed by the middle of October in the Upper Sixth. That means roughly 120 days and counting to make the decisions, write the personal statement and send it off.....the clock is ticking!

2) Write down subject options - or in some cases start with the subjects you know you don't want to study and then narrow it down. Once you have between two and five choices start researching them more widely. This means students should read the course overviews on UCAS, ask people who have studied them what the courses are like and do your own research about things like employment prospects and future earning potential.

3) Draft the personal statement - yes this means actually do some writing over summer. You should aim to return with at least a first draft by the start of September. As you write you should be aware of the lack of deeper knowledge you have about the subjects, do not ignore this but rather dig deeper and try your best to fill in the gaps. Historians can read books, mathematicians can work through complex theories and artists can further develop their portfolios.

4) Start visiting potential colleges and universities - you do not need the excuse of an Open Day to have coffee in the student union. Make a list of six potential places you might consider, jump on the train and spend the day there. Be a tourist, have a sandwich in the local park and generally soak up the atmosphere. (I did this in August and was hit by the Edinburgh Festival which was in full swing - needless to say I immediately fell in love with the place and spent four happy years there as an undergraduate.)

5) Recharge the batteries - September rolls around very quickly and the next 12 months will be among the most intense of your life so make sure you use the time to rebuild your energy levels.

Some points will be more obvious than others but I think the theme for the summer should be about using the time wisely either for work or pleasure. Oh to be a Sixth Former again.....