University advice

How To Survive A Results Day Surprise

By | Coaching in Education, Schools subjects advice, University advice

A-level results day is always emotional. For some, excellent grades secure their place at university. For others, unexpected results cause disappointment and a change of plans. However, there is room for negotiation with universities. Natalie Lancer from explains UCAS’s processes of ‘clearing’ and ‘adjustment’ and how a setback can be turned into a step forward.

Generally, students who meet their offers from university, go to their conditional firm choice (first choice university). They can, however, choose to get onto a different course through Clearing.  If they exceed their offer, they can choose to try to get on a course requiring higher grades, using UCAS’s Adjustment service, within five days of their first choice university accepting them. However, this is a bit misleading as a course requiring higher grades may not necessarily be a good fit for the student or make them more employable. For example, a typical offer to study Chemistry at the University of Manchester is ABB, whereas an offer to study Psychology is AAB. If a student meets and exceeds the offer of ABB for Chemistry, it does not mean that they should aim for a course with higher grades. Grades needed do not necessarily reflect the prestige or utility of a course. Indeed, the grades required for different subjects change every year, so you cannot be sure that ‘trading up’ in one year, will still be viewed a trade-up in future years. Also, there may not be spaces on a different course.

The golden rule when considering Adjustment is ‘advice and availability’. Do not change course unless if you have talked it through with a careers professional or teacher. Remember you have already spent a lot of time researching your chosen degree and university. If you do want to change to a different degree, you must speak to the university departments directly to see if they have spaces. There is no published list for Adjustment in the way that there is for Clearing, so you have to do a lot of the leg-work yourself. You need to tell them that you are looking for a space via Adjustment and be able to explain why you would like to change to their course and attend their university. This needs to be well-thought out in advance. Think very carefully before accepting a place verbally, as once this has been done, the university will add you to their cohort through UCAS, and your original first choice will be lost.

Clearing is much more straightforward. UCAS and The Telegraph publish lists of universities with spaces on their programmes, from results day onwards. Again, the universities need to be telephoned directly for you to ask them about the possibility of joining a course. They will ask you lots of questions about your grades, your motivation for study and they will tell you verbally if they will accept you onto the course. You can shop around, look at various potential courses and receive many verbal offers. Once you are sure which one you would like to accept, you have to add the course and university to your UCAS application. It is important that you do not do this unless a verbal offer has been made to you. You are only able to add one course at a time through Clearing so make sure you discuss your choice with a teacher or careers professional.

Be aware that it may be difficult to secure accommodation for courses selected through Clearing and Adjustment and, in some cases, you may decide to take a gap year rather than rush the decision-making process.

Natalie Lancer is the founder of  She can guide you with all aspects of your university application and give you expert guidance on personal statements and interview technique.

For more information, contact Natalie Lancer on 07747 612 513 or at


Natalie’s top tips for A-level Result’s day:

  • Make sure you have access to a quiet area to make telephone calls and use the internet as you will have to spend time talking to the universities if you use Clearing or Adjustment.
  • It is best to be in the country for A-level results days as if you get onto a different course through Clearing or Adjustment you may want to visit the university before committing yourself to spending at least three years there.
  • Before you make your phone calls, make sure you have prepared answers explaining why you want to study their course.
  • Find out if accommodation is available if changing course at this late stage.
  • Talk to a professional adviser such as Natalie Lancer, before making any rash decisions, as university and course choice, can have profound implications on your future.

Degree or Disagree

By | Coaching in Education, University advice

Choosing a course to study at university can seem daunting. A common worry is that a wrong decision could adversely affect a student’s career and, ultimately, life. However, the situation is simple: a ‘good’ degree, regardless of subject, is required for most jobs. There are some obvious exceptions to this, for example, to be a doctor, you do need a degree in Medicine. So what constitutes a ‘good’ degree? A good degree means obtaining a 2:1 or above from a reputable university. In addition, if you decide later on to do a conversion course (for example, in law), the requirement for this is the ubiquitous 2:1 in any subject.

Degrees are classified differently to A-levels. The top ‘grade’ is a 1st, equivalent to an A*; a 2:1 can be thought of as an ‘A’; a 2:2 as a ‘B’ and so on. In order to obtain a 2:1 or above, you have to put in a lot of work over your three or four year course and therefore you must be sufficiently interested in your subject to sustain the effort. So, although the subject itself does not matter, it is important to have researched the course content thoroughly and to have assured yourself that you will enjoy it.

Perhaps a sensible place to start is to analyse your strengths and weaknesses at A-level.  Are there modules within subjects at which you excel? Would you like to further your knowledge in this subject, or are there new subjects which involve similar skills, to explore? Spend some time browsing an A-Z course list on a large university’s website, to make sure you know what is available. Do not focus on what you think you ‘should’ study but, instead, on which course descriptions really grab you.

Once you have drawn up a shortlist, you need to check the entry requirements and make sure that you are eligible to apply, for example, is a science at A-level needed, or a ‘B’ at GCSE Maths? All courses at the top universities are highly competitive and, to give yourself the best possible chance of being accepted, you have to show the admissions tutor that you are serious about your course.

But how can you do this, if you have only just picked one? Well, now is the time to ask the relevant teachers at school for a recommended reading list and to consult university departmental websites for ideas about what additional books you should read. Depending on your chosen course, regularly reading a broadsheet newspaper or relevant magazines, such as The Economist, may be appropriate. Note down any thoughts you have about your reading material as this can later be incorporated into your personal statement. By reading around your chosen subject, you will not only be able to evidence your interest in it, but also confirm to yourself that this is the subject for you.

Work experience can also provide evidence to university admissions tutors that you will be a good student. Completing projects or simply showing an interest in something new to you suggests that you have the skills for which tutors are looking. Part-time jobs and sustained voluntary work also demonstrate tenacity. Take part in relevant clubs and societies at school. Perhaps, to add to your portfolio of evidence, you can research a topic of interest and present it to the group?  If there are no relevant clubs or societies at school, start one! There are many lectures you can attend in the evenings which are put on for the general public. Find out the programme from your local institutions and get involved. Attending subject-specific university open days will also give you much information about what your course entails. You may even be given a sample lecture.

Any university course will involve reading and attending lectures and, if you find the books and lectures boring at this stage, you may well have latched on to the wrong subject. If so, look at the other subjects on your shortlist. As you engage with more activities relating to your chosen subject, your area of interest will crystallise and you will be able to make an informed choice.

Natalie Lancer is the founder of and She can discuss university and career options in one-to-one sessions and give expert guidance on your personal statement and interviews.

For more information, contact Natalie on 07747 612 513 or at

Natalie’s Top tips for choosing a university course:

  • Analyse your strengths and weaknesses at A-level.
  • Find out the range of courses available by consulting an A-Z list.
  • Consult the entry requirements.
  • Engage in a variety of activities related to your subject such as reading, lectures, societies and work experience.
  • If you are still unsure, or require assistance, consult a professional.


University application: this time it’s personal

By | Coaching in Education, University advice

As the school term starts, Year 13 students will be anxious about writing the Personal Statement for their university application. Many schools set an early deadline for completing them in order to send off the university applications, together with references, as soon as possible. But what should go into the elusive Personal Statement?

First of all you need to be absolutely sure what you want to study. This means you need to have chosen five similar courses to study. Hopefully, you will have visited some universities by now and will have a fair idea about this. If you have not visited any then it is not too late to visit in the coming weeks, and many universities have excellent websites which can take you on virtual tours. Your recent AS results will probably have steered you in a particular direction, but if you still have no idea what you want to study, it is imperative to get some professional guidance, either at school or privately. Parents are not always up-to-date with their well-meaning advice, and choices need to be made in an informed and rational manner.

Next, you should write some sentences about why you want to study your chosen course. Is it similar to an A-level you have already taken and enjoyed? Is its novelty appealing? Or does it hold the key to a specific career path that you are planning to pursue? Have you read some books or journals about your subject and found them interesting? University admissions officers want to be sure that you have the appropriate skills for their course and it is important to highlight those which you have already developed at A-level. These may include analysing sources for History, sustaining an argument for Politics, paying attention to detail for Chemistry and gaining an awareness of a different culture for foreign languages. Apart from the actual content of each A-level, try to think about what else you have learnt along the way.

Work experience is valuable for many reasons, including informing or confirming your choice of degree. An enjoyable placement in a law firm may have helped you choose to study law, for example. As well as this, employers often try to give students small projects to do, on which the Personal Statement can draw. You may also have been given opportunities to interact with clients or attend meetings which will have been a new experience for you which could be worthy of comment.

Everything you write should evidence why your chosen course is suitable for you and why you would succeed at it. However, admissions officers also want to know that you would be a pleasure to teach on a more human level. You could write about how you have engaged with your community such as through being a school prefect, fundraising or being on a sports team. Briefly outlining your personal interests and hobbies can also make you seem more three-dimensional.

Finally, you should sum up in a sentence what you hope to get from the course and from your university experience. Do not try to tackle all these points in a set order. The important thing is to start writing. A good introduction can be written a later point, and takes some thought, which is why you should allow yourself plenty of time to draft and redraft your statement. Show your statement to your family and teachers and, if you can, a specialist, but remember that the statement is yours, and you do not to take on board everyone’s suggestions.

Natalie is the founder of She can discuss your university and career options in one-to-one sessions and give you expert guidance on your personal statement and interviews. She also offers subject-specific mentoring.

For more information, contact Natalie Lancer on 07747 612 513 or at

Natalie’s Top tips for writing a winning personal statement:

  • Decide on the courses you wish to apply for first, and gear your statement towards them.
  • Describe why you want to study that course and what you have done to show that the course is suitable for you, such as reading a relevant book.
  • Describe your work experience and how it benefited you.
  • Start by writing the main body of the statement and consider your introduction later.
  • Allow plenty of time to redraft your material and show it to your family, teachers and, if possible, a specialist.


How to be well placed for Uni

By | Coaching in Education, University advice

Many undergraduate courses require students to write a dissertation in their final year. The exact length and specifications varies between departments and universities, but as a rough guide, these are in-depth pieces of work between 8,000 and 10,000 words long. Sometimes it is possible to submit work in an alternative format, such as website or video.  Natalie Lancer from and MyUniApplication explains how to tackle your dissertation.

The dissertation is probably the hardest and most rewarding part of your course. This is your opportunity to showcase your interest, knowledge and skills of analysis, not only to your tutors who will mark the work, but to potential employers, who will be interested in these skills too. Your dissertation is an excellent example of your work and originality. If possible, choose a topic with an eye on both your course requirements and what potential employers may find interesting.

You will be assigned a dissertation tutor and will have individual tutorials to discuss the title and structure. You will also be able to submit chapters for them to read and offer feedback on, which you can improve if necessary. Make sure you are clear from the outset how much time you are allocated and how far in advance they would like work submitted. It is up to you to get the most from your tutor. Your tutor will have had much experience in supervising dissertations and may have lots of tips as well as knowledge of what works and what is achievable within your time and word limit. They will also advise how to apportion your words to each section.

One of the hardest parts of the dissertation is deciding what to write about. Over your undergraduate course you have been exposed to new ideas and frameworks within your discipline, and you may be encouraged to explore these further or to apply them to a topic of your choice. It is a good idea to keep an ‘ideas list’ going over the course of your degree. Every time you come across a concept that makes your want to find out more, if only you had the time, write it on this working document. When you come to thinking about your dissertation, you can refer to this list and decide which of these topics to ‘work up’. ‘Working up’ means coming up with a way to analyse the topic, a structure and a direction. Your tutor will help you with this, but to get started see the box below and write down your responses to the headings.

In your dissertation you should be presenting a lively, logical, creative and well-researched argument. In order to do this you need to have read lots of relevant articles and books. Your tutor may start you off and suggest some reading material, but after that it is up to you to use an academic search engine such as Google Scholar to find relevant articles. Both the finding of relevant articles and the reading of them takes time and cannot be rushed. Use the abstract (summary) at the top of each article to check if it is really relevant and worth reading. Keep a log of everything you read and brief notes about the paper. There are many internet based tools that can help you do this which are worth learning to use as it will save you time in the long run, such as EndNote and Zotero. Your librarians will help you with this and your university will provide free versions to use (some of them are free anyway).

Once you have got your head round what the main academics say about your topic, you can decide what approach you should take to designing your study. This is where your tutor will be invaluable. If you are undertaking empirical research (gathering primary data), you need to get ethical approval from your university. You can start writing the Introduction, Literature Review and Methodology before you collect your data. Once you have analysed your data you can write the remaining chapters: the Analysis, Discussion and Conclusion. Break the writing into chunks and set yourself time specific achievable goals, such as “I will have written the Introduction by next Tuesday”. Plan out the whole dissertation to make sure you have enough time to read, write, analyse and proofread.

Unlike essays you may have written in the past, it is advisable to use heading and subheadings to help your reader navigate around your dissertation. Your university will have strict formatting guidelines, such as which academic referencing style to use, whether the work should be double-spaced, the font size and how it should be bound, if at all. Furthermore, there are academic rules to follow such as indenting quotations if they are more than 20 words long to which you must adhere. There are strict rules on plagiarism and dissertations have been failed if they are in breach of these rules. Basically, if you are quoting or paraphrasing someone else’s ideas then you must put their names in brackets afterwards.  Remember, we are interested in how you are using existing ideas and bringing them together in your unique way to shed light on your particular subject matter. Formatting takes time, so make sure you build this in to your planning.

Your work needs to be carefully proofread. The best person to do this is you. After you write you last draft, put it away for a couple of weeks. Look at it again with fresh eyes and you will clearly see any mistakes. Plan your writing to allow yourself two weeks to spare at the end. Presentation is important, and gives your work a professional feel – remember you are showcasing your work to employees too, so it is worth spending time on this. Find out how to submit your dissertation and make sure you don’t leave it until the final day, just in case the internet crashes, or you lose your computer. Finally, make loads of back ups of your work everyday on different memory sticks so that if your computer fails, you have not lost your work.

Natalie is the founder of MyUniApplication. She can discuss your university and career options in one-to-one sessions and give you expert guidance on your dissertation and job applications. For more information, contact Natalie Lancer on 01923 85 0781 or at

Working up your dissertation – Write down your responses to the following and you will have a structure to your dissertation in no time!

The Title – don’t worry too much about this at the beginning. Just use a working title – you can always change it. The title should make clear what the dissertation is about in a short and pithy statement.

Introduction and Aims – this should explain what your dissertation is all about. In your introduction you should establish the boundaries of the research, e.g. are you focussing only on Wind Farms in the UK or in Scotland? Explain your purpose, aims, your approach and the significance of the research clearly. You may have specific questions that you are answering or you may be exploring a topic. Explain the structure of your dissertation and an overview of the contents of each section.

It is useful to have a literature review chapter. You will get marks for both breadth and depth. You need to demonstrate that you understand what you have read and why it is relevant to your dissertation and argument. Maybe you can pick holes in other people’s work to show how you can adopt a critical academic stance?

You will need a chapter on methodology and methods. Have you used a qualitative (descriptive) or quantitative (numerical) methodology and which exact methods have your used, e.g., interviews, questionnaires? How did you choose and design these? Could you have used another method, in hindsight, would that have been more or less useful?

You will then present an Analysis and Discussion of your findings. How do the findings result to the literature review. What new information or new stance have you brought to light? This is where we really hear your unique voice and can see what you have contributed to academic scholarship in your area.

The conclusion is where you pull it all together. You explain how you have met your original aims, the strengths and limitations of the research and possible avenues for further research around this topic.

The rules applying to university

By | Coaching in Education, University advice

You’ve just started sixth form and are settling in well. Some of you may be taking your first AS examinations in January, others in June. How can you prepare yourself most effectively for the next step – your university application?

First of all, you need to take stock of your situation. Are you coping with your chosen subjects? Are you focussed enough to excel? If not, it’s a good idea to approach your teachers now for extra help, or contact a specialist who can mentor you in your subject. However good your university application is, without the right A-level results, it is worth very little.

The next step is to think about what you may want to do in the future – both as a career and at university. Perhaps one of your A-level subjects has inspired you and you want to continue your study of it at a higher level. Alternatively, you may want to embark on an entirely fresh course, for example, management or a new language. Either way, you will need to prepare yourself by finding out about these subjects, reading introductory books or journals. You could even start teaching yourself a new language or reading books in translation. By doing some research now you can save yourself a lot of problems of indecision next year. If you find your new books boring – then don’t study that subject at university! Similarly, if you are intrigued to find out more about a particular subject – maybe this course is for you. For clear guidance on possible reading material, ask your teachers or you can contact me at

Once you have an idea of what you want to study, research possible universities and courses. Find out when their open days are and visit them. Open days occur throughout the year, but visiting in the summer is a good use of time, as you may have finished your exams and you won’t be missing any lessons. Most degrees can lead to any job, and the important point is that you need a good degree (usually a 2:1). However, some professions require specific degrees, and if this is the case you need to check that you are doing the right A-levels to get on to the course.

No matter what subject you intend to study, it is a good idea to organise some relevant work experience over the next twelve months. This will not only help demonstrate your initiative, but can also help you confirm whether or not that career is for you. If you discover that you did not enjoy the work experience, you need to reconsider your career choice. You could undertake some more work experience and you should also consult a careers professional who can help evaluate your strengths and point you in the right direction.

During the sixth form, you have many opportunities to participate in voluntary activities and leadership courses, as well as activities such as sports or music. Use your time wisely. Doing too much can mean you lose focus on your studies, but getting involved can help you develop and demonstrate some of the vital skills that universities are looking for. Keep a log of what you do so that you can get all the right messages across when it comes to making your application. Write a draft of your personal statement (the part of the university application form where you explain what you want to study and why) as early as you can so that you are ready to hit the ground running in September.

Natalie is the founder of She can discuss your career options in one-to-one sessions and give you expert guidance on your personal statement. She also offers subject-specific mentoring. For more information, contact Natalie Lancer on 07747 612 513 or at

Knuckling down to study is a problem that affects all students from time to time. Putting off work until the next day is a common problem. This usually results in further procrastination, an impossible work load and at worst, underachieving in exams.


I have been helping students to overcome this problem for many years. Techniques include big picture analysis as well as small changes to study routines. You may be working towards your GCSEs, A-levels or degree. The first question to ask yourself is why it is important to get your qualification. Is it to lead to a particular job or to get onto a new course? Are you really committed to making your career dreams a reality? If the answer is yes, then you need to put in the hard work – today. Achieving your goals cannot be jeopardised. Draw yourself a flowchart illustrating where you want to end up, the stages needed to get there, and where you are now.  Then pin this on your wall.


It is very easy to feel directionless and it can become increasingly difficult to motivate yourself to study. If this resonates with you, it is important to speak to others, and to seek their advice about the options available and how you can play to your strengths. Many people end up on courses or in careers that are inappropriate for them, which ultimately make them unhappy. Having invested so much time into getting there, they are unwilling to change. A good way of getting some direction is to undertake some work experience. It is invaluable for analysing what sorts of jobs and work environments you do not like as well as what you do. School or university holidays are ideal for this as you can dedicate some time to finding out about the company or profession. But beware – companies are inundated with requests for work experience.  You will need a good covering letter to save your application from the bin, and you will need to arrange the opportunity several months in advance.


Even if you are motivated to study, the myriad of distractions – facebook, TV, mobile phones to name but a few – are enough to throw even the most diligent student off course. The best way to succeed is to treat your studies like a job, with fixed hours and a fixed work space. Make sure you are at your desk by 9am, give yourself a limited lunch break, and you can clock off at 5pm. Every hour, give yourself a ten minute break and then get back to work. Your desk should have everything on it you need, such as pens, highlighters, files, calculator and a dictionary. Make sure you have good lighting in your room and a window open. TVs need to be unplugged and mobile phones switched off. Do not log onto the internet unless it is absolutely necessary for your work. Friends and family will understand that you need to be incommunicado in order to apply yourself to your work. By concentrating only on your work, you will get it done quicker and it will be of a higher quality.


Goal-setting is very important. Set yourself daily goals and write it down in your diary or on a timetable. Tasks need to be specific such as finishing a piece of coursework or revising for a particular test. You also need to write a monthly plan so that you ensure you cover all necessary work. If you are revising for important examinations, make sure you have a copy of the syllabus (available from your examination board’s website) and copies of past papers and mark schemes. Time should be set aside to attempt these and to mark them yourself. This will not only give you practice answering questions, but also will help familiarise you to the format and structure of the examination, and give you a sense of how much time should be spent on each question or topic area.


Students often spend vast amounts of time writing out revision notes again and again, but time is better spent actively learning the content. Techniques include using mnemonics (where the first letter of a word stands for a point in the notes you are learning) or imagining the facts as parts of a picture that can be recalled. Both of these methods reduce the likelihood of your mind going blank in the exam. Teaching the topic to somebody else, whether it be your study buddy or an old teddy bear, is also an excellent way of making sure you understand the material. By speaking aloud, you are using more than one sense which means that you have more chance of taking in the information.

For more information contact Natalie Lancer on 020 8211 4800 or at Natalie is the founder of


Natalie can:

  • discuss your university and career options in one-to-one sessions
  • construct a step-by-step plan to realise your goals, using a flowchart as a focal point
  • help organise a work placement for you to undertake in the school holidays
  • develop your study skills using techniques such as mnemonics
  • improve your study habits
  • prepare you for job and university interviews
  • enhance your CV, covering letters and UCAS personal statement



Natalie’s top tips for exam success

  • Treat studying like a job, with a specific start and finish time
  • Unplug your TV and turn off your mobile phone in your work space
  • Consider why you are working towards your qualifications
  • Set yourself daily goals broken down into specific tasks
  • Speak to a careers professional about your goals and ambitions
  • Check that you are maximising your study time, using efficient and active methods


Apply yourself to the uni-hunt

By | Coaching in Education, University advice

As you approach the end of year 12, perhaps you have become blasé about being in the sixth form. The wonder of the common room is a thing of the past and you are a veteran at driving to school to arrive seconds before the start of your lesson. But you begin to feel uneasy as the university application season dawns. Your big-gest worry may be what to study. With tuition fees and accommodation costs to pay, as well as a difficult job market, there is even more need to choose a course that will pay dividends in the future. The good news is that employers value the trans-ferable skills you gain while studying for a degree, such as researching a topic, digesting information quickly and writ-ing cogently. These abilities can be obtained by taking any degree and most large companies offering sought-after graduate training schemes do not require a specific degree in order to apply.

The only stipulation is that you get a good degree. This means that you need to play to your strengths. Choose a degree that will sustain your interest for three or four years at university, a subject at which you can excel and, perhaps, one that offers something extra, to differentiate you from the crowd.

Entry to some professions does require a specific degree, so inquire about this.

Many degrees offer a sandwich course, which means the third year out of four can be spent work-ing for a company. This is an excel-lent opportunity to get some work experience under your belt and build relations with a company that may employ you after your studies. Other courses allow you to spend a year abroad in almost any country, studying at a partner insti-tution, which can be a great way of broadening your horizons. Some uni-versities combine the two and allow you to work abroad.

It may be that you have developed a love of one of your A-level subjects and you would like to study this at a higher level and in greater depth. However, some relish the opportunity to study something new, building on cultivated skills. Those who have done well in a subject such as history, politics or reli-gious studies may think about choos-ing anthropology or social policy at university. If you are numerate, you could look into economics and if you want to develop an understanding of business, you might be attracted to management courses. Again some courses specify particular entry requirements. For example, it may be a prerequisite to have studied at least two sciences at A-level to study a pure science at university.

All universities detail typical offers for their courses on their websites, either in terms of A-level grades or points. Check university websites care-fully to see what courses are available and what their requirements are. Do not dismiss courses because you have never heard of them. Take the time to research what the different degrees entail. After all, if you will be studying for at least three years, the content of the course must inspire you.

You can apply for up to five courses, although it is advisable that they are all similar or you will find it hard to write a single application that fits them all. It is also sensible to make sure you choose courses that range in typical offers, for example, from AAA to BBC, so that you give your-self the best chance of being accepted, should your grades slip. Being realistic about your likely grades is important, so that you do not make wasted applications.

This is also the time to read some books or journals on your proposed subject, to check this is the course for you. It is imperative to visit the universities and departments, to make sure that you would enjoy studying there.

Open days can be booked on-line and take place in July and from September onwards. To make a successful application, it can be helpful to get some work experience in a relevant field. This is particularly important for vocational courses such as medicine, where a long-term commitment (several months) to visiting a nursing home, for example, demonstrates tenacity as well as honing your caring skills. However, all students benefit from work experience and you should ask your friends, family and school to help you secure a placement. Other activities such as leading a youth group, fundraising or participation in sports can help demonstrate your capabilities. All these attributes and their relevance to your chosen course can be mentioned in your personal statement, part of the Ucas form.

  • RESEARCH Research university courses in depth on the internet.
  • PLAN If you have a career plan, find out if a particular degree is necessary.
  • BOOK Book your place for university open days as soon as you can.
  • READ Read books and journals relevant to your chosen subject.
  • EXPERIENCE Undertake work experience in your field of interest.
  • DISCUSS Discuss university courses and your aptitudes with a professional.


Natalie Lancer of and can discuss your uni and career options in one-to-one sessions and give expert guidance on personal statement and interviews. She also offers subject-specific mentoring. Call 020 82114800 or email

By | Coaching in Education, University advice

Picture this. The university admissions tutor for your chosen subject has just read 100 Personal Statements, which say things such as “it has always been my dream to study Molecular Biology since I was born” and that “I am desperate to attend your university as it is well-known and I will get a good job”. Both of these get binned. Then they see your Personal Statement – well-written, interesting, portraying genuine enthusiasm. Hmm, maybe we should call them for interview… was set up by Natalie Lancer to help students identify the best university course for them, shine in their applications and prepare them for interviews. As an Assistant Headteacher and Director of Studies in state and independent schools, Natalie has ample experience in helping students make informed decisions about what course and university is best for them. She has also published a guide to university applications – Getting into Oxford and Cambridge (Trotman). As a graduate of the University of Oxford, Middlesex University and King’s College, London, where she obtained a Distinction in a Masters in Education, she is well placed in advising about different types of universities: old and new. She also offers subject-specific mentoring – ideal to get onto particularly competitive courses.

Another service offered is ‘How to help your child succeed’ which aims to guide parents in helping their children get the most out of school and with their work. You can find Natalie via

on course

Are you on course for a top university

By | Coaching in Education, University advice

IF YOU ARE in the sixth form, you will probably be battling with your university application at the moment. What uni would suit you? Could you get into Oxbridge? What subject is best and what work experience or holiday reading might impress your interviewers? And most urgent for those in year 13 — how do you write the perfect personal statement for your Ucas form?

Just ask Natalie Lancer. She has been an assistant head for three years and has advised hundreds of students on their applications. She herself is a graduate of Oxford, King’s College London, Yale and Middlesex University and has taught in both the independent and maintained sector, so she has a wide range of experience. She is also the author of Getting into Oxford and Cambridge (Trotman).

Natalie gives tailor-made advice on your personal statement, with a face-to-face consultation to help complete the first draft and a full email service for subsequent drafts, leading to a statement that is distinctively yours. She also offers subject-specific mentoring, especially helpful for courses such as medicine or law.

Workshops to help parents support learning at any stage are available, as is career-change guidance. For Natalie’s blog, free advice on pre-paring a personal statement and more, visit

For GCSE or A-level teaching in small, focused classes, Wentworth College, in Golders Green, is ideal. It offers a supportive and hard-working environment, with an emphasis on pastoral care and a special focus on helping students who have transferred from large schools where they felt “lost”.

Exam preparation is one of Wentworth’s great strengths and it offers the option of accelerated courses (one year) alongside two-year courses. On the two-year A-level programme, the first year is carefully designed to ease the transition from GCSEs to A-levels. GCSE subjects range from maths, English and science to Jewish studies, drama, photography and film.

Wentworth students will also enjoy a full programme of extra-curricular activities.

Oxbridge options?

By | Coaching in Education, University advice

Guidance on UCAS, whatever your aims


Do you want to go to Oxbridge — or do you not have a clue where you want to go? Are you stuck on your personal statement or would you like to know which books to read to impress your prospective university?

Natalie Lancer can help with all these issues and more. She has been an assistant head for three years at a maintained school and has advised hundreds of students on their appli-cations. She is a graduate of Oxford, King’s College, Yale and Middlesex University and has taught in the private and maintained sector, so she has a wide range of experience. She is also author of Getting Into Oxford and Cambridge (Trotman).

Natalie will give individual, tailored advice on your personal statement. At a face-to-face, one-to-one session in Golders Green, you will come up with the first draft. This is followed by an email service to oversee re-drafting, finally emerging with a statement that is distinctively yours. Natalie can also provide mock interviews and subject mentoring (particularly helpful to give candidates the edge in competitive subjects such as medicine and law).

Workshops for parents are also available, to help them support their children’s studies at all levels and cope with any problems. Also on offer is career-change guidance. For Natalie’s blog, free advice on pre-paring a personal statement and more, visit