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Coombes Sixth Form

The UCAS process

The personal statement 

The personal statement is an important part of a student’s university application, as it is the only section where students have the opportunity to describe to university admissions tutors why they would be a good candidate for their chosen degree course.  Students can demonstrate their interest in the subject, that they have read independently, completed related work experience and how they have been a positive part of sixth form life.

At Coombe, we work hard to support students in writing their personal statements, with ongoing, expert advice and guidance from the Sixth Form Team.  However, ultimately, the personal statement is the student’s responsibility and they need to be proactive so they can clearly show in their personal statement that they have a genuine interest in their chosen course.  If applying for medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or Oxford or Cambridge, applications must be discussed with the Sixth Form team by the summer term at the latest and a full draft personal statement must be submitted to the team by July of Year 12.

UCAS references 

The UCAS reference is the school’s opportunity to ‘sell’ the student to their chosen universities.  At Coombe we aim to be as positive and constructive as possible and we will work with students to ensure that we have all information to hand that could support their application.  The references are written by the students' tutors and include information provided by their subject teachers.

Predicted grades 

Students’ predicted grades are another important part of their application.  As a school, we encourage all staff to adopt a positive and optimistic approach to agreeing grade predictions that takes into account a students’ potential development during the final year of their course.

Communicating with parents during the process 

Please note that whilst we are happy to discuss any aspect of a student’s application during the process, we are unable to keep parents informed about the detail of every application on an on-going basis.  We advise, therefore, that parents discuss their son or daughter’s application status with them on a regular basis.

It is also important to note that UCAS regard applications as confidential between themselves and students and will not usually discuss them with parents unless they have been nominated as point of contact.

Choosing universities and courses 

Students’ choices of courses and universities will be influenced by an enormous range of factors and we will offer support and guidance at each stage of the process during Year 12 and 13.  We keep a full set of UK university prospectuses in the sixth form study room, but the most up-to-date information on entry requirements and course content will be available via the university’s individual website.  

We recommend that students visit a range of university open days in the summer term of Year 12 as part of making an informed decision.  Most universities now offer Saturday open days.

How the school supports students in completing their UCAS application 

The remainder of the summer term and the early stages of the autumn term are devoted to working with students in a wide range of ways.  The most significant of these is the Coombe ‘Futures Planning’ module.  This programme requires students to think through a number of possible future ‘pathways’, investigating the implications, costs and career opportunities in each case.  These activities will be developed through our summer ‘Futures Planning’ Day, Active Tutorial sessions and tutor meetings, assembly presentations and so on.  At all stages, the tutors and the Head of Year will be working closely with the students.

Key school deadlines in the UCAS process at Coombe 

Coombe deadlines for university applications are in advance of the official UCAS deadlines. This is to allow the Sixth Form team to check applications thoroughly, complete the student’s reference and predicted grades and to ensure that each application is of the highest standard.

UCAS Deadlines:

15th October 2019 - for Early Entry courses  (Medicine, Veterinary Science, Oxford and Cambridge Universities)

15th January 2020 - for all other university applications

Coombe Sixth Form deadlines:   

Early Entry Applications -  Coombe deadline is 27th September 2019

(In addition, your application must be discussed with the sixth form team in the summer term of Year 12 and a draft personal statement submitted by July of Year 12.)

Applications for all other Universities: - Coombe Deadline 25 October 2019

Please note that whilst we will still process applications received after these deadlines, we cannot guarantee to submit them by the UCAS final deadline.

Student Finance 

The most up-to-date information about Student Finance (tuition fees loan and maintenance loans) for higher education can be found at

A useful section is the Student Finance calculator which can give an indication of what finance is possible for individual students based on household income:

Student Finance arrangements are subject to change and while we try to keep up-to-date with developments, it is the responsibility of students and parents to research thoroughly.  The application window for student finance applications is usually from February to May of Year 13.

“How has the school helped you think about your future?

"We’re given lots of help to choose which GCSE subjects, with open evenings, careers advice and the Y12s providing their insight to the younger years. For the Y12s, UCAS days and Uni visits are all about helping us choose the next step that’s right for each of us.”