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This guide is intended for all who are considering uni., at whatever stage, including those who have left school/college after Year 13. 

If you click on a Step number in the list of contents below, you will be taken to that section of the website. 

Some of these steps listed below will apply to all potential applicants. Others will apply to those with specific interests and needs. So don’t be put off by the length of the list! You might find it reassuring to read what I put in the Conclusion  (Step 71) before embarking on Stage 1.

The suggested order and time scheme is based on students studying for 2 years in the Sixth Form (Year 12 and 13), and appropriate adjustments need to be made by those applying outside this structure. Not all students can or will start their research early in Year 12. Those who begin much later will have missed some opportunities, but most of this guide will be relevant to those whose decision to apply only comes after the start of a given year’s application cycle on 1 September.

Step-by-step number                                                                           suggested time scheme               

STAGE 1 : BASIC RESEARCH                                                        
                                                                                                                Year 12 : September

Step 1              Sixth Form subject choice                                                                                           

                What is a university?                                                                                                                    
Step 2                              Degree programmes                                                                                                                                     
Step 3                              A very brief history of UK universities                                                                                     
Step 4                              Some basic differences among universities                                                                                          
Step 5                              Are there any similarities among UK universities?
Step 6              Keeping an open mind                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                Year 12 : Autumn Term and Christmas Vacation

Step 7              What can I do this year to get myself a good reference for university application (UCAS reference)?
Step 8              Visiting universities in the Half Term break (Part 1)                                                                           

Step 9              Work experience and shadowing (Health and Social Care subjects, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary)
Step 10           Taster courses (Part 1)  
                Researching possible university subjects                                                                             
Step 11                            Preliminary thoughts about subject
Step 12                            Degree programmes accredited by professional bodies
Step 13                            Degree programmes NOT accredited by professional bodies
Step 14                            Website research at module level

Step 15                            Further reading, the Extended Project Qualification and competitions

                                                                                                                Year 12 : Spring Term and Easter Vacation                                                                          
Step 16          Work experience and work shadowing (general)                                               
Step 17          Taster courses (Part 2)                                                                                                                  
Step 18          Visiting universities in the Half Term break (Part 2)                                                                           
Step 19          Higher Education Exhibitions (HE Fairs)                                                                  

Step 20          Open Day visits                                                                                                                
Step 21          Specific Learning Differences : questions to ask on a university visit          
Step 22          Mental health and other health needs                                                                   
Step 23          How to read a university prospectus                                                                                       
Step 24          How to use a university website                                                                               

                                                                                                                Year 12 : Summer Term and Summer Vacation 
Step 25           Starting your UCAS form                                                                                                              
Step 26           How useful are league tables?                                                                   
Step 27           What is the relevance of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework to undergraduate applicants?
Step 28           Refining subject and university choice                                                                    
Step 29           Contacting current students                                                                                       
Step 30           Collecting material for your Personal Statement and planning for the vacation                                    
Step 31           Good and bad features in Personal Statement writing                                     
Step 32           Entry tests                                                                                                                                         
Step 33           The summer vacation between Year 12 and Year 13                                                                                                         

                Applying to Oxford and Cambridge                                                                                        
Step 34                           Who should apply?                                                                                                                                                         
Step 35                           Visiting Oxford and Cambridge                                                                                  
Step 36                           Choosing a college                                                                                                          
Step 37                           The application process                                                                                                

                Applying for Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine                         
Step 38                           Qualities needed                                                                                                                            
Step 39                           Deciding which unis. to apply to                                                                                
Step 40                           Preparation for the UKCAT and BMAT tests                                                                         
Step 41                           Completing any work experience                                                                                             
Step 42                           Conducting relevant scientific research                                                                 
Step 43                           Conducting research in areas likely to be encountered at interview                          
Step 44                           The application process                                                                                                
Step 45                           Useful websites                                                                                                               
Step 46                           A useful book                                                                                                                                                   

                Work-related degree programmes                                                                                         
Step 47                           Foundation Degree programmes                                                                                             
Step 48                           Sandwich degree programmes                                                                                  
Step 49                           Company-sponsored degree programmes                                                                           
Step 50                           Other work-related learning in degree programmes                                        
Step 51                           Degree Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships                                      

                Single Honours, Joint Honours and Combined Honours degree programmes                                                                                      
Step 52                          Single Honours (single focus and integrated) programmes                                            
Step 53                          Joint Honours and Major/Minor Honours (double focus and less integrated) programmes
Step 54                          Combined Honours programmes (three subjects or more)                                            
Step 55                          Different types of Foundation programme                                                                           
STAGE 3 : THE APPLICATION PROCESS                                   
                                                                                                                Year 13 : Autumn Term and Christmas Vacation

Step 56           Final decision on subject(s) and universities                                                                        
Step 57           Completing the UCAS form                                                                                                         
Step 58           The UCAS reference                                                                                                                      
Step 59           “Gap year” decisions                                                                                                                     
Step 60           Entry tests, additional forms and questionnaires                                               
Step 61           Interviews                                                                                                                                         
Step 62           What happens after I apply?                                                                                      

                                                                                                                Year 13 : Spring Term and Easter Vacation                                                                          
Step 63           Post-application Open Days                                                                                        
Step 64           UCAS Extra                                                                                                                                         
Step 65           Conditional and Unconditional offers                                                                                     
Step 66           Firm and Insurance choices                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                Year 13 : Summer Term and Summer Vacation                                                 
Step 67           Notifying unis. about special consideration                                                                          
Step 68           Confirmation and Clearing                                                                                                           
Step 69           Examination re-marks                                                                                                                   
Step 70           UCAS’s Adjustment process                                                                                                       
Step 71           Conclusion                                                                                                                                         

The step-by-step approach: About
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