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Bloxham Careers' UCAS and FE Event

Many thanks to Rosa Watson for her report on the recent UCAS and Further Education event, held in the Great Hall.

On Monday 14th September, Bloxham Sixth Formers, their parents and Sixth Formers from local schools attended an evening on life beyond school. There were four talks over the course of the evening: one by UCAS; one discussing scholarship opportunities to an American University; Oxfordshire apprentices, and one given by a representative from Trinity College, Oxford, offering interview advice. These talks offered more than just advice on how to apply for university - opening people's eyes to opportunities and ambitions they may have never previously considered, such as studying abroad or using skills developed at school to follow a career path into engineering or agriculture. This provided students with motivation for the rest of the year.

The UCAS talk was extremely informative, with the speaker providing a step by step guide of everything you need to know about university without overwhelming or intimidating the audience. It was helpful to those whom had not started to research universities, with a 73% success rate of UCAS and a choice of over 380 providers and astoundingly 35,000 courses. He outlined the key considerations when looking at universities, from entry requirements to career prospects, and from geographical location and distance from home to extra-curricular opportunities. Probably the most important aspect for parents was the speaker's advice on financing university, including fees, travel and living expenses. He also gave advice on how citing references and listing experiences can make personal statements stand out from the crowd of other applicants.

The Oxfordshire Apprenticeships talk was aimed at students who are looking for an alternative path to university, starting a training scheme straight from school from which they gain valuable skills and training, opening up hundreds of career possibilities and often leading straight into a job within the firm once the training is complete. One of the speakers, Sophie, was in her third year of training to be an engineer. Sophie had been offered a place to study Sociology at university but declined it after being offered a place as an apprentice for MGTS electrical. Through working with MGTS, Sophie had gained lots of experiences and opportunities, such as going abroad with the firm and working with Cadbury. Sophie pointed out that she sees the benefits of becoming an apprentice include being paid from the outset and gaining valuable experience, which she views as making her more employable than her friends who have graduated from university and are struggling to find work. Although an apprenticeship doesn't guarantee a position once the training is completed, firms often have connections to help their apprentices find a position. Apprenticeships are an increasingly popular option and there are 250 different types to apply for.

The third talk was given by a representative from Ethos College, USA, and was directed at those who are considering gaining a sports scholarship to study at an American university or college. It outlined the main three things American universities expect from a sports scholar; someone who is both academic and athletic, competitive on all levels and prioritises studies over socialising. The speaker explained that sport scholarships often lead to a career in professional sport, including the perks that go with it! Potential scholars need a high GPA grade as well as graduation rate, this can be arranged by employing a suitable tutor whom will help you reach to reach to their expectations. Applicants should remember that coaches are annually inundated with applications so won't necessarily ever receive a response. Coaches assess applicants on a written application, a video to demonstrate sporting skills and attributes and a conference call. Whilst it's a gruelling process to undergo, it sounds like a rare and fantastic opportunity that should definitely be taken by hard-working athletes whom are willing to take the chances.

The Trinity College, Oxford talk was given by a woman who has previous experience of being an interviewer at the University and she had plenty of advice than can be applied to other university, or even job, interviews. Her main advice was simple but effective – arrive promptly to convey a message of being reliable and to avoid being stressed; wear smart but comfortable clothing; and get to know the other candidates (your potential future course mates!).

Although, there was a lot of information to absorb in one evening the talks were immensely enjoyable and many students will have come away from the talk with a different perspective of their own futures. A big thank you to Dr Evans for making it possible and to the Headmaster for sharing his thoughts, not to mention the Catering Department for laying on some delicious refreshments during the break.