UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE APPLICATIONS
Over 98% of Dollar pupils go on to Higher Education after school, with a significant number taking gap years.
There is a comprehensive system of support, resourcing and guidance for pupils wishing to apply to universities, and this help is continued after the pupil has left Dollar: a number of FPs who decide to make course or institution changes continue to be supported by the school. A very small number of Form V pupils also opt to apply for Higher Education during the Fifth Year, although the vast majority prefer to stay on to gain the advantages of advanced study and the full range of the Sixth Form experience in Dollar.
All pupils are assigned a UCAS Adviser who will see them though the application process, from first discussions about course choices to the final production of the reference and application form. This UCAS Adviser is in addition to the Personal Tutor, a particular feature of Sixth Form life, whose work is also supplemented by that of the day to day support given by the Form Tutor, Head of Year and Assistant Rector in charge of Forms V and VI. Pupils applying for subject areas such as Medicine, Law, Art, Dentistry or Veterinary Science are assigned to specialist advisers; those applying to Oxford or Cambridge will likewise receive particular guidance. Practice interviews are given for those who require them in Medicine, Law, Art, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Teaching, Physiotherapy, Oxbridge etc. Pupils are supported throughout the process of navigating the on-line UCAS application program “apply”; they are also encouraged to acquire their own prospectuses and explore university websites. Requests from pupils to attend University Open Days are managed by the school to achieve a balance between the need for adequate research and the fullest attendance at lessons. Those pupils who have to sit specialist aptitude tests for Medicine or Law [UKCAT, BMAT, LNAT etc] are given tuition in advance.
The school provides a library of prospectuses and dedicated ICT facilities for UCAS research and applications.
March: The process of opening opportunities for thinking about Higher Education begins for many with the biennial Careers Convention. Held in Dollar in March, it attracts in the region of 80 presenters who offer personal insights into a wide variety of careers, letting potential professionals [and their parents] know, among other things, what qualifications will be required for their intended careers. Lectures are also given on certain popular careers such as Law and Medicine.
March/April: Those interested in applying to Oxford or Cambridge attend a conference in a major Scottish city to find out from University liaison staff and current students more about their institutions and the application process.
June: The next event is the first of two UCAS [University and Colleges Admissions Service] Evenings. At this one, Fifth Form pupils are invited to meet representatives from a range of Universities and Colleges, and to gain materials and advice to inform their thinking in their Sixth Form applications next term.
September: The school runs a further UCAS Evening in the first term of a pupil’s Sixth Year to focus more closely on the application process. A speaker from the Admissions department of a major Scottish University is invited to give the key note address, and presentations are given by senior members of the Dollar staff in support. [In recent years our speaker has been Mr Niall Bradley, Director of Student Admissions and Recruitment from Edinburgh University.] Both pupils and parents are again welcome on this occasion. About this time all members of Form VI are given a further briefing by the school UCAS staff to launch them on the process of application, and materials are distributed to enable the effective completion of the on-line process. Former Pupils already at university requiring course or institution changes, or those who have been on a gap year, are supported in making new applications. Many are operating from a distance, and the school is used to handling applications by e-mail for these applicants.
Early August: In the days following the release of examination results, UCAS staff are in school to help pupils and parents with enquiries related to university applications. Those who have failed to meet entrance conditions, for example, or those who have had a change of heart on receipt of unexpected exam results, will receive guidance as to their options.