Each year, our students leave Emanuel with a wide variety of individual talents and ambitions. 

Our many higher education destinations include Oxbridge and Russell Group universities including Bristol, Exeter, Manchester, Newcastle and York. Many students leave Emanuel for a prestigious set of destinations that cater for the creative and performing arts, such as The Royal Drawing School, RADA and Trinity Laban Music Conservatoire. Several former pupils have established their name on the world stage with careers in professional choirs and orchestras, West End shows, BBC period dramas and box office films. 

A small and growing number are choosing to study overseas, with destinations including Harvard, Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota, Amsterdam, Bocconi, and Milan. These students are supported throughout their application process by the Director of Higher Education who oversees international applications. 

Find out more about the higher education guidance we offer our students below. 

UCAS guidance

UCAS is the centralised service that students use to apply to UK universities. We offer support and guidance to our students as they compete their UCAS applications, while also keeping parents informed about the process.

When students enter the Lower Sixth, they are encouraged to explore their interests by reading beyond the curriculum, arranging work experience and attending one of the many academic societies on offer. Students begin to research their university choices and book places on taster courses and open days. They also start their Extended Project Qualification, which enhances the quality of their UCAS application and can make students appear more favourable to universities.

In the summer term, all students are off-timetable for two days, attending our in-house dedicated UCAS days. There are talks on student finance and making successful applications to competitive universities. Students research course choices and begin their online applications and personal statements.

In the Upper Sixth, some Life Education lessons in the autumn term are devoted to completing UCAS applications. Old Emanuels (our alumni) come to talk to our current students about their university experiences, offering an unparalleled peer insight into life at university. Later, in the spring, pupils are given talks on how to make ‘firm’ and ‘insurance’ choices, budgeting and finance, and coping with university life. 

On A level results day, staff are available to celebrate with students and to provide advice and moral support. Staff also help and advise students who need to navigate the Clearing and Adjustment processes. 

Oxbridge applications

The academic profile of able students may lead them to consider Oxford or Cambridge. Emanuel is very well-equipped to support students who choose to undertake an Oxbridge application. There is an established programme of support in place and we have a track record of success in securing places. 

Students can attend a series of assemblies, Life Education sessions and admissions events (such as the annual Oxbridge Student Conference) to help them decide whether to apply. Those who choose to apply are guided in their applications by Ms Johnson, Assistant Head: Teaching and Learning. They are offered one-to-one appointments to discuss their options, and we are proud of our dedicated two-day UCAS programme in the summer term of Lower Sixth during which every aspect of the process, from personal statements to interviews, is explored in detail, with first-hand advice from college representatives and OEs currently studying at Oxbridge. 

Students are encouraged to discuss their proposed application with the head of department for the subject they wish to study, and work closely with their subject teachers to gain advice on extra reading and super-curricular involvement. Emanuel’s extensive programme of talks and societies provides a huge number of opportunities for students to extend themselves beyond the classroom. Applicants receive weekly mentoring from a subject specialist as well as practice for admissions tests and mock interviews in the terms prior to their application. 

The average GCSE score for a successful applicant is just over eight A*/9/8 grades. If a student succeeds at interview, a standard offer for A level results from Oxford is AAA for humanities and language subjects, and A*AA or A*A*A for sciences. Cambridge offers are likely to be A*AA for humanities and languages (though in some instances they can be higher), and A*A*A for science subjects. 

Both the Oxford and Cambridge websites give extremely comprehensive information about their undergraduate courses, which prospective students are encouraged to consult carefully when making the decision about where and whether to apply. 

Medical applications

Medical applications are popular at Emanuel. The application begins a lengthy process of preparation and training that can last for several years, if not decades. Mrs Brown, Head of Science, is on hand to offer further information and support for those who choose to proceed. 

Students considering medical applications are fortunate to have plenty of support available within school, including dedicated science societies to help demonstrate an interest in the career path and strengthen their application. We also welcome OEs to discuss their medical training and discuss their experience of working for the NHS, which helps to give current students a genuine insight into modern-day medicine. 

Art colleges and architecture

The Art department supports around 10 to 15 students applying to art and architecture courses each year. Architecture applications go through UCAS while Art Foundation applications are direct to the individual colleges. Both sets of applicants require a portfolio. 

Early in the Upper Sixth year, students have a Life Education session about the application process. Each student is assigned an Art teacher mentor who helps with their personal statements as well as receiving help from their form tutors, who work with them during further Life Education lessons. 

Students are expected to attend weekly life drawing and master class sessions at Emanuel to help enhance their portfolios. All students are shown exemplar portfolios and the department runs masterclass sessions to help students put together their physical and digital portfolios. In the autumn term, architecture students normally need to complete a drawing test set by the university as well as taking a portfolio if they are invited to attend an interview. 

Performing arts

We warmly encourage students who are thinking of a career in the performing arts at Emanuel, taking them through all of the options, be it a university course followed by drama school, straight to drama school, drama school foundation places or even routes directly into the industry. We have a comprehensive careers library located in the Fiennes Theatre foyer which outlines courses available at a range of reputable institutions to help students with their first steps. For those who decide to apply for drama schools we run an audition technique masterclass early in the Upper Sixth year, where students can prepare for approaching auditions. Throughout the spring term we offer one-to-one support with audition pieces, preparing a range of monologues and offering advice for development. For successful applicants we take students through the process of re-calls and how to prepare for the different elements of audition. 

Music conservatoires

Many students who study A level Music at Emanuel go on to pursue a career in the music industry. This includes reading academic music at universities such as Oxbridge, as well as applications for some of the UK’s leading classical and jazz conservatoires. Students are given regular interview and audition practice with staff in the Music department, while the extraordinary breadth of the music calendar affords students the opportunity to attend a range concerts, work alongside professional musicians and perform in some of the finest music venues in London. Each year, the Music department organises a careers’ evening hosted by a range of industry experts, giving our pupils the chance to discover how best to prepare themselves for a career in the music industry. 

Universities overseas

As a result of a desire for an international experience and the cost of the tuition fees here in England, many students are now considering new options such as studying abroad. The USA is the number one destination for all international applicants as American colleges and universities enjoy an excellent reputation, with 70 in the world’s top 200 institutions. There has also been recent interest for degree programmes in Australia, and there are over 400 degree programmes in Europe taught wholly in English. 

At Emanuel, we help students in their initial decision-making when considering applying for universities abroad and invite independent consultants into the school to deliver talks on studying abroad and how to target applications to the USA in particular. We provide support with applications and beyond this, can point students in the right direction for further advice and support. 

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