Access and Widening Participation


Resources for young people in Year 11

Year 11 is an important time in your education. Not only will you be completing your GCSEs, you will also be starting to think about your next steps and answering some big questions:

  • What will you study after GCSEs?
  • Will you go to university? Where? And what will you study?
  • What are your long-term aims for a career and how will decisions now impact what you do in the future?

UCL has a range or resources designed to help you prepare for the future and make informed decisions about where you go next. On this page you will find links to useful and reliable information, as well as some top tips on how to make the most of your time between Year 11 and Year 12 and beyond.

Preparing for the Future

Regardless of how your school adapts to the current circumstances you can expect some disruption to continue into next year, but it still won’t be long before you have to start making some decisions about your future. Now is a great time to prepare yourself for post-16 education and research the opportunities available to you.

Over the last few months you have hopefully developed some new skills. You have been learning remotely and have needed to take more responsibility for directing your own learning. These adaptations may be good preparation for A-level and university.

Your Next Step Guides

To support you as you make your decision about what and where you will study next UCL is putting together a series of guides that will explain what your options are and help you to make an informed choice.

Choosing your A-Levels

If you haven’t done so already then Year 11 is a great time to start thinking about what A-levels you might like to do. Think about what you’re good at and what you enjoy. Some degrees (such as medicine) may expect you to study specific A-levels so make sure you do your research and find out what may be required. The ‘Choosing you A-levels Guide’ will explain this in more detail and give you some practical tips on how to get started.

A-Levels: What's Different?

Starting A-levels isn’t just a case of picking subjects. What you do and where you choose to study can shape your experience. You may decide to stay at school or go on to a sixth form college. A-levels pose an academic challenge and are structured differently to GCSEs. The ‘What’s Different’ guide will help explain how things will change and give you some tips on how to adapt.

What I Wish I'd Known Before Starting My A-levels

We asked a number of current UCL students, who were in your position only a few years ago, to reflect on what they wish they’d known before starting their A-levels. We hope the experiences collated in the 'What I Wish I'd Known' guide will give you a useful insight into the challenges to be aware of as you head into the next stage of your educational journey.

Choosing a University

Deciding what and where to study will be one of the biggest decisions you make. In our guide to choosing your university and degree we outline the factors you should consider when weighing up your options.

Useful Links 

Guides for Parents and Carers

Over at the Discover UCL blog we have a range of posts aimed at parents and carers with lots of helpful tips and advice for the journey on to higher education. Your parents may find this useful to learn more about progression options and how to support you in your education.


Wellbeing Tips 

In the current climate it’s important that you put your wellbeing first. Below is some guidance that you might find helpful when thinking about your wellbeing:

  • Try and set yourself a realistic goals each day. Lots of people find to-do lists a motivating factor in their productivity. Remember to only set yourself SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based), keep them achievable, and don’t set more than five on any one day.
  • Find a study environment in your home that works for you. Not everyone has an office at home and adapting to a new working environment can be a challenge.
  • Think creatively. Could setting a motivational picture as your desktop background help? You may also want to think about not using technology all the time and instead embrace classic pen and paper methods to encourage creative thinking.
  • Take breaks and time for doing things you enjoy. Breaks are really important for recharging and ensuring you’re well rested. You’d normally have breaks at schools so make sure you build these into your time at home too.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family. Making sure you maintain a balanced social life is really important for your wellbeing. Have you thought about setting up a study group on Zoom with your friends?

Watch this space…

We will be updating this page with further guidance and tips in the coming months. Make sure you come back to check it out! In the meantime if you have a question that you think we could help with please send us an email wp.pre16@ucl.ac.uk.