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 of 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 in Year 11 and beyond.

Preparing for the Future

While your current focus will understandably be on succeeding in your school assessments and final exams, you should also find time to think about your next steps, as it won't be long before you have to make 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 past couple of years you have hopefully developed some new skills. You have had to learn remotely, cope with lots of changes and 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 has put together a series of guides that will explain what your options are and will 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 may require 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 on at your school's sixth form 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 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 the next couple of years. In our guide to choosing your university and degree, we outline the factors you should consider when weighing up your options.

Useful Links 

Over at the Discover UCL blog you will find lots of helpful tips, advice and guidance to help you with your journey to Higher Education, including information about degree courses, posts from current UCL students about their studies and their lives and the application process.

If you are interested in finding out more about our undergraduate courses, you can watch virtual open day recordings here. You can also find lots of useful information covering a wide range of topics, from applying to university to how a remote control works, or you could even ask your own question, on our Ask the Expert webpage.

Your parents and carers may find it useful to check out our Guide to University Study. The guide will help them to learn more about progression options and how to support you in your education. 


Wellbeing Tips 

It’s important for everyone to prioritise their own wellbeing. 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 that improve 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.
  • 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 schedule time for doing things you enjoy. Breaks are really important for recharging and ensuring you’re well rested. Just like at school, when studying at home make sure to build breaks into your timetable.
  • 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 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.