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Post-18 Options


The majority of our students (around 70-75%) go on to university after they complete their A Levels. As a general rule, this involves completing a three or four-year degree programme in a subject that they have chosen to study. At the end of the programme, they will receive an Undergraduate or Bachelor’s Degree (Level 6) or Master's Degree (Level 7) qualification. Applications are made through UCAS and funding is provided in the form of a student loan, which will cover tuition fees, and will usually also include a maintenance loan to help with the costs of attending university. This loan is available whether you choose to stay at home or to move away (although the maintenance loan amount will differ).

Students who would like to attend university, but who are unsure what they would like to study, or who haven’t quite got the necessary grades for their course, may be able to take an Access to HE (Higher Education) course or a Foundation degree. These are both preparatory courses for progressing on to Higher Education. Access to HE courses are usually offered by Further Education (FE) colleges, such as two local colleges, Lincoln College Access to Higher Education (HE) courses : Lincoln College and Bishop Burton (Riseholme) College Access to Higher Education | Bishop Burton College. Foundation degrees are offered by some universities and can be found via UCAS.

Other Higher Education courses include Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs), which include qualifications such as HNCs (Higher National Certificates) and HNDs (Higher National Diplomas). HNCs are a Level 4 qualification and HNDs are Level 5. HNCs and HNDs are vocational qualifications, and usually are more focused on learning in the workplace than traditional degrees. Upon completing an HNC/HND, it is sometimes possible to go to university to do a one or two-year “top-up” course to receive a full degree. As well as being more vocational, teaching for these courses is often organised to allow students to work at the same time, for example by compacting teaching into one or two days per week or learning during evenings. Students are entitled to a student loan and the same application process applies as for university, through Student Finance England. Most courses are listed on UCAS, but students should also check the websites of local colleges to see the range of available courses.

Some courses, and some universities, have slightly different requirements and deadlines to the usual ones. This includes all courses for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Studies, where the deadline for applications is October, not January. These courses are extremely competitive and students who are considering them should be working on their applications and gaining work experience from the beginning of Year 12 (if not before). They should make their tutor and teachers aware that they are considering studying these subjects, as extra support is available throughout Sixth Form. Applications for Oxford or Cambridge also have an October deadline and, again, students should make tutors aware of their ambition to study at these universities. We, along with other link schools in the area, have connections with certain colleges, such as Christ’s College at Cambridge Homepage | Christs College Cambridge and Lincoln College, Oxford Home | Lincoln College Oxford, although students will be fully supported whichever college they are considering.

Detailed information on all UK universities and the application process can be found here:

Information for students who are interested in attending a conservatoire (normally students who are particularly talented at music or drama) can be found here: Conservatoires | Conservatoires | UCAS

We strongly encourage all students to sign up to UCAS in Year 12, even if they are not considering university. UCAS has information on a wealth of other courses, including technical qualifications and apprenticeships, and registering with UCAS will keep their options fully open as they progress through Sixth Form.


Government guidance and application links for student finance can be found here: SFE - Student Finance England

Useful general information on student finance can be found in these articles: Student finance 2024: How do UK student loans work? - BBC News and Martin Lewis: Student Loans Decoded - MSE (

In addition to student loans, students may be eligible for scholarships or bursaries. Scholarships are normally based on academic merit, artistic ability or other talents, while bursaries are based on financial need and will normally cover costs, such as books or laptops. Each university offers different scholarships and bursaries, so students should check individual websites or contact the university of their choice for more information. Some institutions, such as the Armed Forces, will also sponsor students through university, paying part of their fees as part of a contract of employment.


Taking an apprenticeship is an option at post-18 that is often misunderstood. Apprenticeships are available from Level 2 (roughly GCSE level) to Level 8 (Postgraduate study). Normally, students who have completed A Levels would be looking at Level 4, 5, 6 or 7 Apprenticeships (although it is sometimes necessary to take a Level 3 apprenticeship to learn the basics of a role before progressing). Level 4 & 5 Apprenticeships (also known as Higher Apprenticeships) are equivalent to an HNC or HND and can lead on to a full degree later. A Level 6 Apprenticeship is equivalent to a full, or Undergraduate, Degree and has exactly the same standing as a degree completed in a university setting. Level 7 Apprenticeships are equivalent to a Master’s Degree. A guide to understanding apprenticeship levels can be found here: Apprenticeship Levels UK | Level 2 - 7 Explained (

Apprenticeships normally involve working for approximately 80% of the time and studying for around 20%. They can be very rewarding for the right candidate and have the advantage of incurring no student debt, and earning while you learn. However, they are very competitive and students need to proactively look and apply for these opportunities. They also have to be willing to work hard in the industry of their choice from the outset. Nationally, there are a number of employers offering excellent apprenticeships, including high quality degree apprenticeships in IT, Business, Banking and Management. We also have a number of local employers offering excellent post-18 apprenticeships, including the NHS, Siemens and smaller local firms in sectors such as estate agency and law. Apprenticeships can be found through the Government Find An Apprenticeship site: Find an apprenticeship - GOV.UK ( or by checking the website of local firms. As a rule, degree apprenticeships, especially with national/international firms, will start to be advertised around December of Year 13. Higher and local apprenticeships will usually be advertised later in the year, although there is no hard and fast rule and students should be actively seeking positions throughout Year 13 if they are seriously interested in taking up an apprenticeship. It is important to remember that students can apply to both apprenticeships and university courses and we would encourage them to keep their options open.

More information on apprenticeships can be found here: Amazing Apprenticeships or by signing up for this podcast: All About Apprenticeships Podcast - Amazing Apprenticeships


Some students may choose to go straight into the world of work after their A Levels. This can be a good choice where training programmes are in place. For example, management trainee programmes with retail or restaurant chains offer very good career progression and many accountancy firms prefer to take students on post A Levels to start training them for their professional qualifications straightaway, without the need for a degree. Students should advise their tutors that they are trying to find employment and tailored career advice can be offered. Good websites for finding work include: Find a job - GOV.UK (, as well as agency sites like Indeed: Job Search | Indeed and Reed: Jobs and Recruitment on, the UK's #1 job site.

Another option for some students is a career in the Armed Forces. The Forces provide excellent training in a wide range of careers, including degree-level qualifications. More information about careers in the Armed Forces can be found at:

RAF Jobs and Recruitment on, the UK's #1 job site

Navy Royal Navy Jobs | Royal Navy (

Army Careers | The British Army (


The term “gap year” used to mean deferring entry to university for a year, but is now commonly used to mean taking some time after A Levels to consider options, gain experience or travel. Gap years can be a very worthwhile option, and can add value to a CV or personal statement, but they do need careful planning in order to be constructive. Many people think that a gap year must involve foreign travel, which can be costly and is not for everyone. Getting some work experience, taking up an internship, learning a new skill, volunteering or travelling in the UK can also be very good options. Students can take up an appointment with our Careers Advisor to help them plan their gap year.

More information on gap years can be found here: Find Information & Ideas to Inspire Your Gap Year Program ( and Gap year advice | National Careers Service

Our Sixth Form programme includes dedicated PSHE sessions and assemblies that cover all of the above options and our aim is to support every student with their individual journey at post 18, whatever that may look like.