Lower School Careers Guidance
Throughout the Third Form, work is done to raise self-awareness and help decision-making in the build-up towards making GCSE option choices. There are also elements of career development in the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) work.
During the Michaelmas and Lent Terms of the Fourth Form, all Stoics are introduced to Pathfinder, a complete Careers Guidance Program comprising a psychometric assessment test of interests and job suggestions which will assist the eventual choice of AS Levels.
In November during the Michaelmas term the Fifth Form Stoics take a series of tests of aptitude and interest. The Cambridge Occupational Analysts (COA) Profile and Preview results are then explained and discussed at a one-to-one interview with COA staff in February. A report based on these results is given to each Stoic together with other information designed to help preliminary decisions about AS and A2 Level courses. Further investigation and a second interview take place with Tutors and subject Heads of Department.
Work experience is an important part of career exploration and Stoics are asked to spend some time on this at the end of the Fifth Form, the object being to relate experience to potential career options.
Upper School Careers Education and Guidance
Stowe's careers Education & Guidance Programme begins when Stoics join the in the Third Form at age 13. It aims to provide increasing contact with the world outside throughout their time at Stowe and help Stoics to reach those decisions which affect their future in as well informed and balanced way as possible. Every encouragement is given to discuss various options with Housemaster or Housemistress, Tutor and the Careers staff.
If joining Stowe in the Sixth Form, Stoics move straight on to Pathfinder HE and Centigrade in the Lent term which gives some very clear guidelines for choosing the appropriate Higher Education pathway. The report Stoics receive will encourage them to use the facilities available, especially in the Careers Centre, for personal exploration into appropriate and well researched choices during the rest of their time at Stowe.
During the two years spent in the Sixth Form, Stoics attend a number of events designed to help their career planning, including a structured visit to the Careers Centre and a series of seminars on diverse career fields. A recorded practice interview for Stoics relevant subject area by specialist interviewers in that area act as definitive confirmation of their ultimate choices.
A Higher Education Conference takes place in the Lent term for the Lower Sixth Stoics and their parents to formally introduce the UCAS process.
Careers Experience Courses
If at Stowe for GCSEs, pupils are expected to undertake one week of work experience in the summer holiday between the Fifth and Sixth Form years. This is invaluable in bringing realism to thinking about the world of work and is increasingly looked upon by employers and university admissions as evidence of maturity and motivation.
During the Sixth Form there are opportunities during the holidays for Stoics to attend courses specifically aimed at informing about particular careers. These are run by professional bodies and commercial concerns especially for independent school pupils. Stoics are encouraged to make effective use of them.
UCAS is the Universities Centralised Admission System for degree courses at universities and colleges. Tutors keep in close touch with their Tutees about their hopes and potential, discuss options in depth, and guide Tutees through the relevant application procedure. All pupils will have a briefing on how to apply through UCAS Apply (internet application). Stoics, with their parents, will be introduced to these at the Higher Education and Gap Conference held each year.
The Tutor and Housemaster/Housemistress will prepare the Stoics' academic and personal reference. In addition to the Stoic's recorded interview, the Tutor can also arrange mock interviews in preparation for the real thing. When A Level results are known, the Tutor and Careers staff will be available to help any pupils who may need it.
Our aim is to help Stoics identify the right courses and the right institutions for them as individuals and then secure acceptance at them.
This page describes how we do this and provides guidance on the process of university choice and on particular points.
The tutor is the Stoic's key advisor. At key moments the tutor will encourage the Stoic to take a longer view. Choice of GCSE subjects is the first of these moments, when the Stoic has to decide which subjects engage him or her the most and which make best use of existing talent. Choice of AS subjects is the next, when Stoics should be matching existing strengths and future ambitions, and laying a foundation for higher education. The focus on university plans begins in earnest in the Lower Sixth. Stoics are introduced to the available options by a programme of visiting speakers that starts in the Michaelmas term of the Lower Sixth. Tutors at this stage are encouraging Stoics to research the options and talk about what suits them best, and to arrive at some provisional decisions in the Summer term of the Lower Sixth. University applications are completed and submitted in the Michaelmas term of the Upper Sixth, and during the Lent term of the Upper Sixth those applying to University should be getting offers which will give them a target to aim at for their summer exams.
The tutor is backed by a specialist team: our UCAS Applications Tutor, Head of Careers, and Head of Oxbridge are all ready to advise on specialist aspects of entrance to UK universities; the Head of Music advises on entry to Conservatoires and Musical Academies; the Heads of Art and Design advise on entry to Art colleges; and the visiting Harvard Fellow advises on entry to North American universities.
For the last couple of years, we have held special sessions for parents in the Michaelmas term, when a speaker closely involved in university admissions has discussed the parental perspective. Download the latest presentation here.