Admission to degree courses is mainly governed by performance (or predicted performance) at A Level. Radley’s policy is for boys to take AS at the end of VI.2, together with the A2 papers (a statement to this effect is added to each boy’s UCAS reference which also includes mention of our policy on complementarity). The current practice is that Oxbridge and other top universities will still be making conditional offers based on the A Level exams taken at the end of VI.2. There are indications that candidates taking four A Levels may be at an advantage in terms of offers and also in terms of a sympathetic response if they narrowly miss an offer. The number of A* and A grades obtained at GCSE is also a key indicator.
Competition for places, especially in the traditionally popular subjects, e.g. English, Medicine, Law, and History, etc., remains severe. As well as proven ability at A Level, candidates need to show the qualities of enthusiasm, commitment, independence of judgement and self-motivation. Some degree courses will require certain subjects to have been studied to A Level; others will accept any combination. For some subjects, it is important, to have done relevant work experience; these include Medicine, Veterinary Science, Law and Engineering.
During the VI.1 year, boys are recommended to investigate courses for themselves (with appropriate advice and assistance) through the books and prospectuses available in the Careers Centre and through visits to particular colleges and universities. Key links in this respect are UCAS - Apply
and UCAS - Coursesearch
Detailed explanatory information on university entrance procedures is given on this website and advice on higher education is always available from Tutors, Heads of Departments, Form Masters and the Director of University Entrance (DUE). Boys are also encouraged to make informal visits, which can sometimes be more productive than the official ‘Open Days’. Apart from choice of subject and institution, a number of other decisions need to be made, particularly with regard to timing; for example, applications can be made pre-A Level or post-A Level and that may be determined by decisions about Gap years, etc.
Applications are now electronic; applicants can register on UCAS Apply from mid-June, and begin applying from early September. The Summer term is the crucial period in which research on courses and universities should be carried out, choices and decisions made, and a Personal Statement written, with the advice of Form Masters. It is important to be fully prepared to apply early in the Michaelmas term; for popular courses, there can be a clear advantage in making an early application. Universities occasionally (and now increasingly) interview candidates or at least require them to attend an Open Day. Candidates for Medicine may expect to be interviewed. In addition to the Interview Techniques Course
run by the Careers Department, practice interviews are arranged for all boys if they are required for interview at particular universities.