Many students dream of attending world-renowned universities in the UK and Europe or becoming an undergrad at Ivy League schools in the US. But at the same time, others are focusing on tertiary study that’s a little closer to home – especially given the changes and uncertainty within the current Covid-19 situation.
However, whichever path ACG Sunderland students are looking to take, the school is always on hand to supply help and guidance across the tertiary landscape.
Understandably, the various choices within tertiary study can be challenging. Students must decide which university they prefer and consider that each will offer slightly different degrees. Plus, each tertiary provider will have its own rules, conditions and prerequisites. So, students need to understand these requirements before they apply.
Fortunately, ACG Sunderland Careers Advisor Rebecca Lambarth is available to help students navigate these decisions. She works closely with Senior students to help align their areas of interest and career goals with the right subject selection and pathways to achieve these. Additionally, Rebecca delivers information, guidance and support to prepare students for the application process – which, although challenging, is manageable with the proper planning.
"The most important things to consider are the prerequisites for specific courses you may be interested in," confirms Rebecca. "For overseas applications, students need to think about their timing and online applications. In the UK, for instance, they use a system called UCAS and students require a personal statement, academic transcript, a teacher reference and can apply for up to five universities. This takes time and organisation, so it shouldn't be left to the last minute. Oxbridge is a different process again and has an earlier deadline than other UK universities."
ACG University Placement Advisor Guy Mills also provides assistance and support across the ACG Schools group. With his wealth of experience and connections, he is a veritable mine of information for students exploring tertiary education alternatives.
"A key thing to keep in mind is that if you have the marks, New Zealand universities will take you, so it really is down to your results and your choice if you're planning to study domestically," says Guy. “With ACG Sunderland’s 2020 graduates currently enrolled in five of the eight universities in New Zealand, we can see that our students are choosing the university and the degree that suits them best and not simply following a default option.”
"Overseas universities, however, are looking for a lot more than just good, or great, marks. So if you want to apply for universities overseas, it's wise to find out what they require early in the process so you can prepare accordingly."
While deciding where to apply and which courses to take may initially seem a daunting task, ACG Sunderland students have access to a wide range of material that can help. This portfolio includes the comprehensive ACG university advice blackboard page and the ACG Sunderland Careers and Future Plans blackboard page, along with expert guidance from Rebecca and Guy.
And Rebecca offers another layer of support by working one-on-one with students from Year 10, giving advice, organising internships, and helping with CV writing and career planning.
She arranges for various universities to present to Years 11 to 13 during senior assemblies too. These presentations are extended into Course Planning sessions throughout term three when university liaisons return to help with applications, clarify programme criteria and answers any questions students may have.
Additionally, events such as August's Options Evening allow parents and students to discuss subject options and requirements with teachers and the Sunderland management team, arming them with the necessary information to plan for 2022 and beyond.
It's a lot a take in, but Rebecca has some sterling advice.
"Don't worry too much! The best plan of action is to identify your subjects and areas of interest and then look at the appropriate degree options. From there, you can consider where might be best to study. Lastly, you can work your way methodically through the application process for your preferred universities and any possible scholarship opportunities.
"Speaking to subject teachers, deans, and careers advisors and having open discussions at home are all important when working out what to study. Just remember that no one else can make this decision for you. It is something you need to decide yourself – but we're here to support you in every way we can."