Guidance for University

For virtually all of our students, applying for Higher Education is the culmination of their journey through North London Collegiate School, and we support them to ensure that they have everything in place to make an ambitious and successful application.

The Sutton Trust’s report into university access, “Degrees of Success”, placed NLCS first nationally for the proportion of students gaining offers from the most competitive UK universities.

Our students are supported in their applications by a team of highly experienced and trained experts, including our:

• Head of Sixth Form
• Assistant Head: University Guidance and Careers
• Assistant Director of University Admissions
• Assistant Heads of Sixth Form
• Tutor and Co-Tutor team


Every student is allocated an individual Academic Subject Mentor to advise them on developing their particular strengths and interests throughout the applications process.

“I was given an extract to prepare from near the end of Sophocles’ ‘Philoctetes’ 40 minutes before the interview (both Greek and translation). In the interview I was asked about aspects of the story, the Greek, the style and the messages within it. My mentor had recommended I read ‘Philoctetes’ just the week before!” – Successful Oxford applicant for Classics

Preparation for applying to Higher Education takes many forms and every experience a pupil has contributes to their success, be it curricular or extra-curricular. Our weekly Academic Enrichment sessions enable students to explore their developing interests beyond the restrictions of the syllabus and to access a seminar-led tutorial approach which foreshadows the experience of Higher Education and invites students to pursue their own research, often complemented by their choice of Extended Project.

“Make the most of the enrichment sessions! They make you start thinking abstractly and give you more confidence when talking on the spot. They helped me so much as we were encouraged to take elements from things in class and develop/apply ideas to a higher level. (And what we did in one of the sessions came up in the interview!).” – Successful Cambridge applicant for Natural Sciences

For students considering taking on a “non-school” subject for Higher Education, we also offer specialist enrichment sessions in fields including Law, Psychology, Medicine and Dentistry.

Many of our students are attracted by multi-disciplinary opportunities and this has led to an increase in successful applications to courses including Liberal Arts, both in the UK and in the USA.

“I chose to apply to the US because I really appreciate how I will be encouraged to continue exploring academically with a liberal arts focused degree. I will be able to continue pursuing multiple interests deeply and thoroughly, and even try new subject areas.” – Lara Zakaria, Successful application to Princeton University, USA

Our system of encouraging Sixth Form students to take on responsibilities in running our wide range of Senior Societies, our Charity Committee and our Peer Mentoring scheme allows them to engage with activities which are often directly relevant to their proposed course of Higher Education, as well as to develop vital transferable skills of leadership, teamwork and management.

According to the Head of Admissions at a prestigious American Ivy League institution, schools such as NLCS not only lay the foundation for university life – they give students the confidence to put themselves forward and aim for the top:

“Because students coming from all-girls environments are either in leadership roles or used to seeing their friends in them, their expectations are raised about the roles they will play on campus and that is a very good thing.” – Dean Janet Lavin Rapelye, Princeton University, New Jersey

University Guidance Events accordion-plus

Throughout the Sixth Form, a structured programme of presentations, visiting speakers, workshops and individual advisory sessions ensure that every student can access the guidance and support they require. These include:

• “An Evening with America’s Top Universities” (for all Parents/Students, October)
• “Extra-Curricular Responsibilities Workshop” on developing leadership skills (for Year 12 Students, January)
• “Planning ahead for Higher Ed.”, a presentation by our Assistant Head: University Guidance and Careers (for Y12 students, early Spring term)
• Higher Education Conference (for Year 12 Students, Spring term)
• UCAS Applications Information Evening (for Parents/Students, Spring term)
• USA Applications Information Evening (for Parents/Students Years 7-12, Spring term)
• USA College Essay-Writing workshop (for Year 12 Students, Summer term)
• USA Applications Consultation Evening (for Parents/Students Years 11-12, Summer term)
• Individual Subject Mentor Consultations with Year 12 Students (Summer term)
• Higher Education Consultation Evening for Parents/Students Year 12 (Summer term)

Interview Preparation accordion-plus

Interview Skills are an essential complement to every application and we work hard to ensure we instil confidence in every pupil, both through our approach to subject-teaching and through specific training and mentoring:

• Year 12 Careers Interviews practice (workshops and individual)
• Year 13 Academic Interviews practice (individual)
• Year 12 and 13 Old North Londoner (Alumnae) mentoring opportunities

“Practising Multiple Mini Interviews in school really helped boost my confidence for the real thing, as I had experienced that kind of pressure.” – Successful applicant for Medical School

“The school prepared me really well for my interview, and my English lessons helped a lot for the poem analysis. Talking about poems in French really gave me confidence for when it happened in the interview, as otherwise starting off by analysing Baudelaire in French might have been a bit of a shock.” – Successful Cambridge applicant for Modern Languages

One of our most valuable sources for advice on current applications, whether to Higher Education or for internships and the working world are our links with Old North Londoners, who generously offer up-to-date, detailed and honest advice on how to plan for life after school.

We have always supported our students who wish to take a Gap Year between school and Higher Education and we continue to assist them with their applications long after they have travelled far beyond our walls.