What will I learn in this section?
Whether you’re applying to sixth form or college, or maybe even both, you will be asked to fill out an application form. For many students this process can feel quite daunting, especially if it’s your first time filling out an application. But don’t worry, this page has all the information you’ll need! In this section, we will cover:
- How to apply to college or sixth form
- Writing a personal statement
- Preparing for interviews
- Next steps after you have applied
Lets Get Started!!
What you need to know
Most application forms are now done online, usually by creating an online account on the institution’s website. You will typically need to provide information on your personal details, such as your name and contact details, as well as information on your current school and predicted GCSE results. Each application form will differ depending on where you’re applying to, therefore it’s really important you follow any instructions carefully.
Your application is also likely the first impression the college or sixth form will have of you, therefore it’s really important you take the time to check through your application before you click send. The admissions team will be looking at your spelling and grammar, so make sure you triple check everything! It’s also a good idea to get someone you trust, like a friend, parent or teacher to proof read through your application to check for any mistakes you may have missed.
Good to know...
Some colleges and sixth forms may require you to write a personal statement. This is a section on the application form where you need to write something about yourself. It can be tricky writing about yourself and your skills, but colleges and sixth forms include this part to learn a bit about you and why you’d make a good student at their institution.
These are some useful sections you may wish to include in your personal statement:
- Your reasons for applying to that particular college or sixth form. For example, is it because of the facilities, the specific course on offer, the reputation of the institution or something else?
- Your future career or education plans and how taking the course you’re applying to will help you get there.
- Any activities, clubs or hobbies you take part in outside of normal school lessons. For example, do you play for a sports team, play a musical instrument or are you part of a drama club? You can make this section even better if you can link your hobby to any transferable skills, for example being a good team player or well organised!
- Any work experience, part-time jobs or volunteering you have done and any skills you gained from completing them
Preparing for Interviews
As part of your college or sixth form application, you may be asked to attend an interview. Not all institutions require an interview and some may only require them for specific courses.
For example, courses such as Performing Arts, Dance, Music and Football Academies often require a practical audition or trial. Other courses such as Art and Design or Graphics will sometimes ask you to provide a portfolio of your previous work during the interview. You will need to check the college or sixth form’s website to find out whether you will need to attend an interview.
For most students, college or sixth forms interviews may be your first formal interview experience. This can often feel a bit intimidating or scary, but the interview is just a chance for the college or sixth form to get to know you! It’s an opportunity for you to meet with a representative from the institution, express your interest in the course and show your personality.
We’ve put together some useful tips to help you prepare for a successful interview.
Things to think about
Preparation is key
Feeling fully prepared will help you stay calm and reduce stress during your interview, allowing you to perform at your very best. One great way to prepare is to ask your family and friends to do practice interviews with you. This will help you plan and think about your answers ahead of the real thing! Also ensure you do your research on the course and institution. This will show the college or sixth form that you’re keen to go there, which is exactly what they’re looking for.
Your appearance is part of your first impression. You don’t need to wear a suit, but dressing smartly shows the interviewer that you’re taking the process seriously and that it’s important to you.
Arriving early will allow you lots of time to get to the right room or building without feeling stressed. It also allows you to take a moment to calm your nerves and collect your thoughts before the interview begins. No one wants to be running in through the door all sweaty, two minutes before the interview starts! Do your research and make sure you know how long your journey will take beforehand, including extra time for traffic if you are travelling by car or public transport.
It’s totally natural to feel nervous or anxious, but try to relax and be yourself. Listen carefully to any questions you’re asked, and if you’re unsure or don’t understand the question, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
Try to be enthusiastic and show why you’re passionate about studying your chosen subjects. Colleges and sixth forms want to know what motivates you to do well and why you want to be a part of their institution. This is a great opportunity to show off your passions and talents!
Honesty is the best policy
Much like the application, it’s important to always be honest in your interview and not to lie about potential grades or qualifications. Colleges and sixth forms will be able to find out the truth
Bring any necessary documents
Some interviews may require you to bring certain documents with you. This could include any qualification certificates, or proof of ID such as a passport or drivers license. Having these documents to hand will show the interviewer that you are well prepared and organised.
Take a copy of your application
By taking along a copy of your application, you can give it a final read through just before you go in. You may also want to refer to your application during your interview to help you remember certain things you want to talk about.
At the end of your interview, the interviewer will normally give you an opportunity to ask any questions about the institution or course. Think of some questions you may want to ask ahead of time so you don’t have to think of them on the spot. This is a great chance to show the interviewers that you’re really interested in the college or sixth form and that you’re keen to know more!
What Happens Next?
So, what happens after you’ve submitted your application to your chosen college or sixth form? Below you will find out what the next steps are that you can expect after you’ve completed your application. However, it’s important to remember that every college and sixth form will be slightly different, so this order may not be exactly the same each time!
Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive an email, online notification or letter confirming your application has been received by the college or sixth form. Remember to always check your junk folder and if you haven’t received any confirmation, you will need to contact the institution.
After the college or sixth form have received your application, they will then contact your school or teacher for a reference. This is why it’s really important you double check you’ve listed the correct contact details for your referee on your application!
Once the college or sixth form have received your reference, a member of the admissions team will review your application. This is when they will determine whether you meet the entry criteria and requirements for the subjects you’d like to study.
If your application meets the entry criteria, the college or sixth form will contact you to arrange an interview. Remember, interviews only apply to specific courses and institutions. Check the college or sixth form’s website to find out whether you’ll be expected to attend an interview.
If your application has met the entry criteria (and your interview went well if you had one), the college or sixth form will send you a conditional offer by email or post.
If you have been declined by the college or sixth form, you will need to apply to either another course or another institution. If you’re unsure what to do next, speak to your teacher.
Accept Your Officer
Once you have received an offer, you will either need to accept or decline it. This is usually done by logging into the account you used to apply to the college or sixth form.
Attend a Welcome Day
After accepting your offer, some institutions will invite you to attend a ‘Welcome Day’ during the summer. This is a great way to get a taste of college/sixth form life and familiarise yourself with the campus. Please note that some institutions may state that attending this day is compulsory, while some colleges and sixth forms don’t offer a ‘Welcome Day’. Make sure to always read the college/sixth form website or any communications carefully.
Once you’ve received your GCSE results, you will need to contact the college or sixth form to let them know whether you have achieved the required results as part of your conditional offer. Each college or sixth form usually has an ‘Enrolment Day’, which is a day dedicated to conditional offer holders to take in proof or their GCSE results.