6th form applications(again) Extra CA and personal statement type questions on forms- HELP!

(12 Posts)
circular Sun 06-Jan-13 10:09:18

Several application forms to do, most with some type of extra CA question ranging from asking about activities in and out of school, responsibility, role models to younger students, to the one college that asks for an actual personal statement.

I know what kind of stuff needs to be included and she has plenty, although unsurprisingly very music heavy. What we are not clear on is:

- How far to go back?
- Whether to include stuff done in the past, but not any longer ? and if so would we state that it has stopped and why?
- Should we put in fairly minor occasional activities (that are not music related) to give some balance?
- She had to stop all sport for over a year because of a knee problem, and still cannot do anything high impact or involving much twisting. She has only just returned to one team sport, so not in main team ? is it best to leave this out completely (as just listing the sport, without saying in X team, not too impressive) or include the sport anyway?
- And if she does not include much/any sporty stuff (as most in the past) should she explain why, or is it best to leave out the negatives?
- Is it enough to list stuff, or are they expecting explainations of what skills have been learnt from the activity/work, and why it is enjoyed.

DD1 and I are spending a lot of time mulling over these questions. II have left her with lists of all the extra CA stuff she has done, voluntary work, work experience, G&T days with dates etc. and hoped she would produce something half generic, that we can tweak for the various forms. She is stumped, and I must admit, so am I.

I have looked at some of the examples here http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Category:Sixth_Form_College_Entrance_Personal_Statements. Although some of the use of English and word repetition is worse than DD's. they do mostly get the point across. DD is not good at writing, but I don'tt want to write it for her help her too much as my style is so different (more adult, business cv like as opposed to better) and it needs to be believable,

How much do the schools take notice of this info anyway?
ie. with predicted grades of 1 A*, 4 or 5 A's and 3 or 4 B's at GCSE (plus an A and B at equivs.) will the application get binned anyway when there are 10 to 15 applicants for every place?

I am beginning to wonder whether her time today will be better spent on homework that she has conveniently just remembered she has.

Sorry, got out of bed with a really negative hat on this morning...

glaurung Sun 06-Jan-13 17:50:50

We did this last year. For very academic selective schools (we applied to one super selective grammar) they were only interested in grades (I think) and perhaps looked at this part just to confirm the standard of written English, but the rest took most who met the minimum entry standards (I think) so we didn't have to agonise too much and kept things brief. I imagine schools will look on musical achievements very favourably as it implies middle class with involved parents. Her grade predictions look pretty good to me too (bear in mind there's often a reluctance to predict A*s in any case).

I would keep it fairly simple - put in the high level stuff (music) without going back too far, unless for something very remarkable; leave out the lower level stuff (except maybe to say that while she enjoyed sport she has had to cut back due to injury); include voluntary work and work experience. Don't worry too much about the what you learned or why you liked it unless you can relate it back to something you could contribute to school life at sixth form.

If she can draft something simple maybe you could tidy it up for her and make corrections to take the pressure off without turning it into your style? I don't think brevity is frowned on unless extreme.

circular Sun 06-Jan-13 21:16:57

Thanks glaurung - good to know that about the A*'s.

I think we are almost there, and had enough to more than fill the space without going back prior to yr9.

Not actually applying for any grammars or selectives, but the comps all become selective at 6th form, All seem to have different tie breakers too.

senua Sun 06-Jan-13 23:52:10

Not actually applying for any grammars or selectives

Things must have moved on since our day! When DD applied to similar, as glaurung said, most places were mainly interested in making sure you got the minimum requirement. I think that extra-curricular activities only made a difference if you were really good at it eg regional or national level.
I suppose the UCAS advice probably stands good: do not focus so much on what you have done, but how you have made best use of opportunities that have been sent your way. Not achievement so much as aptitude and attitude (subtext: give me the chance and I will make good use of your lovely sixth form).

JustinMumsnot Mon 07-Jan-13 00:45:14

Blimey. DD has applied for two sixth forms. I haven't even seen the forms, she did them online, but I don't think they asked for that sort of detail - it seemed to only take her about 20 mins to do each. No personal statement that I am aware of.

circular Mon 07-Jan-13 07:20:21

Senua- Definitely not like that round here. Shortage of places very locally as a few schools without 6th forms, no specialist 6th form college and FE college awful, with no science or languages offered last time I looked. So minimum grades only really apply to internal applicants.

Great advice on the UCAS style - thanks.

Justinmumsnot -Hope I've not worried you. I'm sure your DF would have realised if it's as competitive in your area.

DDs current school have told them all to make multiple applications to
keep options open and in case they don't make the grades to stay. But they have not offered much in the way of advice on completing
the forms. I think the schools without 6th forms are far more helpful.

JustinMumsnot Mon 07-Jan-13 11:25:36

Circular - DD's only choices were the underperforming local FE college who will take anyone and the one an hour and a half away where she plans to go and do the IB - they do have a grade requirement but her predicted grades are way above what she needs. She has done taster days at both and there will be interviews. But no competition as such. Are you in the south east? Schools in general are pretty much the same in my county - all average or slightly below but not enough difference between them to make any hard to get into.

circular Mon 07-Jan-13 19:03:43

Justinmumsnot - Yep, South East suburban area. Good transport links into town, not so good x-country or outwards. So majority we are applying for not in same LA. Sounds like our applications finish much later than yours if your DD has already done taster days.

realcoalfire Tue 08-Jan-13 15:28:12

The school will have to have a published sixth form admissions policy which will contain the criteria for entry they have to follow in prioritising admissions
(Middle class, involved parents will I not be listed, in fact I think it is illegal to select in this way)

circular Tue 08-Jan-13 18:23:04

realcoalfire - for some schools, the criteria are either non-existent or very well hidden on the web site.
Not quite sure what you meant by the middle-class comment, although one or two do favour musicians or sporty students.
Some are selecting based on point scores on GCSE predicted grades, but unclear how this works when choices are a mixture of popular and less popular courses.
A few use distance as tie breakers which seems fair enough.

realcoalfire Tue 08-Jan-13 20:09:36

If it is an LEA maintained school it might be on their website
AFAIK the admissionscriteria have to be transparent

Mutteroo Tue 08-Jan-13 20:26:09

DS filled his own form out & no doubt it said "Love sport, did the school council thing, didn't like it. Predicted A*-B grades."
He gained a place & one of the best sixth form colleges in the country so I doubt the college paid any attention whatsoever!

Good luck to all DC who are making the change to college this year.

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