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Getting into a Top UK University – a How To Guide

Getting into a Top UK University – a How To Guide

by Jon WestleyMay 1, 2017

Part 1.

Leaving school – the big questions

Of all the questions facing young men and women in schools across the emirates thinking about their eventual leaving school and seeking a route into Higher education rather than Industry, the most pressing are likely to be

  • Which university should I apply for?
  • How do I secure my place?
  • Will I be able to afford the fees?

Too often these questions are thought about towards graduation, when in most cases it is simply far too late. Ideally, getting a grip on these and related questions needs to be started as early as possible.

That means, in practice, choosing a school for the critical period between 16 and 18 that has specialist departments geared towards guiding students in how best to meet their potential and ambitions when eventually leaving for university or industry.

Planning for a university slipstream is something that, we think, needs to start as early as possible – and certainly before higher level subject choices are made at 16.

The Graduate landscape that today faces young men and women is very different from even that of ten years ago. Pressures are much higher. It only takes a cursory recognition of the near exponential increase in numbers of young people now leaving school for university rather than industry to realise that getting a place at university, and certainly a top university, has never been more competitive.

And the result is that whilst choice and places have grown, so too the competition for those places and the expectations of top universities in what they expect from applicants has too. In Finland around 85% of all young men and women now go to university. Across the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) group of countries the rate doubled to 40% between 1995 and 2008. Between 30% and 50% of young men and women go to university in the UK depending on socio-economic groupings – a jump from around 6% only twenty years ago. University has become a mainstream expectation rather than a pursuit of the elite few.

Arguably undergraduate university education, rightly or wrongly, is increasingly becoming an expectation and the norm rather than an option taken only by an elite number of children.


Next: Specialised Sixth Forms in the UAE

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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