Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise

Achieving a degree from a good university is one of the best ways to secure a successful future career. The key factors in doing this are:

  • Choosing the right A levels
  • Being ambitious and hard-working
  • Developing independent learning
  • Achieving your full potential
  • Being well informed and supported in applying to university.

We have our own special course to help sixth formers to prepare themselves properly for application to university and a rich programme of extra sessions, including everything from degree apprenticeships to Oxford and Cambridge. We also have many close links with universities such as Durham and Newcastle, invaluable when we need guest lecturers, when students want individual advice on specialist academic matters or when students need practice interviews.

In 2018 more than four out of five of our students went on to University and over three quarters of these went to the most selective universities of the Russell Group and Sutton Trust 30. We also sent students to universities overseas and to take degree apprenticeships.

Advice to Higher Education Applicants

Prospective applicants need to research thoroughly and to seek advice. The following websites are intended as a starting point and to provide a handy reference. Please bear in mind that this list is not intended to be exhaustive and that new resources appear all the time. (The fact that a site appears here does not mean we have extensively vetted it – be careful with confidential personal details and in particular your personal financial information). For up to date and accurate course information you can only expect the universities own websites to be reliable.

Those uncertain about Higher Education should look at http://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/ & http://www.MyCareerSpringboard.org. These two sites contain articles with useful advice on a number of career-related issues and plenty of job postings and work opportunities.

The main site is www.ucas.com for course searching, finance information, links to universities etc. as well as applying for entry which opens in June of the year before courses start.

Recent work on the value of a degree is based on earnings after five years based on universities and subjects.  It is experimental but interesting https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/graduate-outcomes-for-all-subjects-by-university 

Finance is a major concern for those new to the system and anyone who watches the news. Start by watching these videos:

Applicants ought to register with sites which provide guidance and opportunities to enhance applications. This includes:

Other useful general sites include:

Most of these can be linked to from UCAS.


On what to study look at:

For medics www.mmc.nhs.uk, the role of the doctor www.medschools.ac.uk , Core values, skills and attrubutes needed www.gmc-uk.org, NHS values  http://www.nhs.uk/nhsengland/thenhs/about/pages/nhscoreprinciples.aspx Then use the universities own sites - there is good advice provided to applicants.

Where to go look at www.ucas.com first (and keep going back to it), then www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/ukinfo for locations of institutions, League tables are very varied www.unistats.com is the UK official source on entry profiles, student satisfaction etc. Use it for researching your choices and also when choosing between your offers in UCAS, www.whatuni.com, www.university.which.co.uk, http://www.push.co.uk/,  http://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2014/jun/03/university-league-tables-2015-by-subject,  http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankingshttp://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2014-15/world-ranking, The QS international table is at http://www.topuniversities.com/subject-rankings/2014 and an alternative is http://www.shanghairanking.com/. (League tables must be used carefully and critically! Key points are to drill down to course level and to identify the criteria used and decide which matter to you.) http://www.brightknowledge.org/knowledge-bank/education-pathways/choosing-a-university

For Higher Education convention visit planning http://www.ucas.com/students/exhibitions/howtoprepare/. For open day dates look at www.opendays.com

Student Life www.unite-students.com, www.studentpad.co.uk, http://www.brightknowledge.org/knowledge-bank/accommodation, www.accommodationforstudents.com(private accommodation) – accommodation, www.thesite.org.uk, www.thestudentroom.co.uk, www.realuni.com, www.push.co.uk

Videos about universities https://www.youtube.com/user/Unionviewcom

Employment www.prospects.ac.uk, www.monster.co.uk, www.agr.org.uk, www.heacademy.ac.uk, http://targetjobs.co.uk/graduate-jobs

Study and Work Abroad http://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/portal/searchcustom.jsp, www.hobsons.com/studyeurope, www.allaboutcollege.com, www.erasmus.ac.ukwww.careerseurope.co.ukwww.eurochoice.org.uk

For study abroad (finance is much more complicated and also can mean paying much more without government funding e.g. loans!)

Gap Year http://www.brightknowledge.org/knowledge-bank/education-pathways/gap-years, www.gapyear.com, www.gogapyear.com, www.gapwork.com, www.realgap.co.uk, www.yearoutgroup.org, www.bunac.org.uk, www.yini.org.uk, www.csv.org.uk, www.gap.org.uk, www.vinspired.com, www.fco.gov.uk, www.thesite.org.uk, www.wava.com, http://www.workaway.info/