Higher education and careers

Higher education

Futures at St Helen’s is rooted in our expertise in advising and guiding young women to achieve their goals. It’s about encouraging you to lift your gaze above A levels in order to inspire, challenge and prepare you for life after school. Higher education, careers and alumnae support blend seamlessly to elevate our students’ aspirations, giving you access to specialist university experts, career guidance consultants and alumnae who are making waves in every field imaginable, and who are keen to connect with you and encourage you to go for it – whatever ‘it’ may be.

The majority of our students go on to higher education from school or after a gap year. We ensure that you find the transition as smooth as possible by providing university-style experiences both in and out of the classroom – by the end of Upper Sixth, you will be well aware of the academic workload, expectations and pace expected at university.

You will have the opportunity to explore the many avenues available, and our Sixth Form and Careers teams, as well as tutors and subject specialists, will support and guide you through application processes for your chosen path. An evening of talks from higher education experts takes place in Lower Sixth, as well as an annual partnership event alternately focusing on medicine and veterinary medicine applications, and Oxbridge entry. Or, if you are thinking about studying abroad, our international university fair and one-to-one guidance will open up horizons and offer advice.

Our support extends into your time at university – our ‘UniversiTea’ scheme helps connect students who are starting university with St Helen’s alumnae already there, offering you a friendly face to meet up with in a new place.

Higher education programme

The higher education team provides a full programme of information, advice and guidance to support each student in their choices and to help them to make an informed decision for their future education and career. The work within the Careers and higher education departments reflects a whole school ethos and mission to inspire and champion excellence for all of the students in the career path they choose. Central to the work is developing awareness of emerging and differing opportunities and career paths, alongside traditional routes, to maximise each student’s individual strengths, talents and potential.

In Year 11:

  • A level Options Open Evening
  • Tutor support
  • One-to-one interviews with a member of the Senior Management Team
  • One-to-one careers interview
  • Choosing Your A levels: the Higher Education Perspective event

In Lower Sixth:

  • Critical Thinking and Theory of Knowledge in Personal Development
  • Introduction to Higher Education evening
  • Parent and student guides to higher education
  • Access to subject specialists for all university degrees
  • Focus on Futures: an introduction to the university application process, including UCAS, choosing a degree course and university, and attending open days.
  • Higher education fair and USA University Applications event held at Abingdon School
  • Gap Year fair held at St Helen and St Katharine
  • Morrisby profiling to help identify career, degree subject and university compatibility

In Upper Sixth:

  • Continued advice and support on making a university application through UCAS
  • University admissions test support
  • Mock interviews
  • Support with choosing firm and insurance universities


Your long-term ambitions are a key area of focus during Sixth Form. You will work with members of the Sixth Form and Careers teams to expand your experience, understanding and knowledge in order to give you the best possible foundation for pursuing those ambitions.

Several careers events take place throughout Sixth Form. The Abingdon Careers Convention brings together a huge array of career representatives from medicine and architecture to the financial industry and aerospace engineering.

The Kate Scheme offers a full range of mentoring and formal advice opportunities to Sixth Form students. Our alumnae offer their skills and advice to help you pursue professional opportunities through encouragement, sharing experiences and instilling confidence. The aim is to inspire and guide you as you make the transition between school, higher education and your career. This first step to a professional network brings lifelong advantage.

We are enormously proud of our alumnae whose remarkable achievements and sphere of influence are evident in every walk of life, from medicine, business and engineering to law, public policy and the arts. We are extremely fortunate that so many stay in regular contact and generously give their time and expertise to current students and each other.

Find out more about careers support throughout students’ time at St Helen’s.