Careers and higher education

As students start to contemplate life beyond school, our experienced careers and higher education team offer students specialist advice, support and a full programme of events introducing them to the very broad range of higher education opportunities and career pathways that lie ahead of them.

The department, led by Miss Arblaster, Director of Higher Education, includes Mrs Tomlin, Head of US Applications, a dedicated team of UK and US Higher Education Coordinators, and is supported by Mrs Strode the Careers and Higher Education Administrator.

Our higher education team

We have an extensive and dedicated higher education team who provide Senior School students with personalised support as they begin to make important decisions about their futures. Senior tutors, departmental academic mentors and higher education coordinators all collaborate with students to help them discover the route that appeals to them and are always on hand to guide them through the application process.

The senior tutor is the heart of the support network and will meet their students daily and get to know them well; tutors will compile the school reference for their tutees.

In the summer term of the VII (Year 12) each student is assigned a subject-specific specialist from the relevant academic department, with whom they can discuss wider reading, differing course and institution details, and particular challenges within their field.

Heads of department run university preparation classes and students applying to university are aided by Higher Education Coordinators (HECs), who each oversee the university applications. They meet their cohort of students regularly throughout the latter part of the VII and into the VIII (Year 13) to discuss everything from personal statements to student finance and to finalise application forms and references before they are sent.

Students in the Senior School are also given access to Unifrog, the ultimate destinations platform, which helps them manage their career and higher education choices.

At St Paul’s there is always much interest in US colleges. We have a dedicated US team who oversee the process with remarkable knowledge and feel for the range of institutions. The team provides 1:1 and group application support on US essays, supplementals and test preparation and writes the school recommendations. Throughout the year we host a number of visits from US admissions representatives keen to talk to the students.

Student studying in the grounds of the school.

University admissions tests and interview support

In the UK, applicants to Oxford, Cambridge and courses such as Law, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science may be required to sit an entrance test prior to being invited to interview. Preparation for these assessments and for interviews forms part of our comprehensive mentoring system from each relevant school department, often involving joint university preparation classes and reciprocal interview practice with other schools.

Higher education events

We have a full programme of higher education activities throughout the VII and VIII (Years 12 and 13). The university admissions process gets underway in the January after starting the Senior School. A range of talks and events invite students to direct their thinking towards their next steps.

We have a prominent Higher Education Conference in May for our VII and their parents, along with students from other neighbouring and partner schools. This features speakers from a wide range of institutions delivering talks and seminars on the university application process, subject specific information and guidance for next steps. We also give a higher education information talk to parents in the summer term of the VII.

In the summer term, the VII have a number of suspended timetable higher education days where they rotate around a variety of sessions, helping them to prepare for their university application, as well as encouraging alternative routes such as gap years and degree apprenticeships.

Students also attend various university panels with alumnae. Subject specialists are there to answer queries concerning higher education and provide guidance to both students and parents. Regular university preparation classes begin at the end of the summer of the VII and continue through the autumn of the VIII to ensure everyone feels as ready as possible for what lies ahead.

students working in the common room




All students at St Paul’s are encouraged to explore a wide range of careers resources and attend events as they progress through school. Careers information and advice is led by a specialist team and supported across the school by our dedicated staff and an exceptionally pro-active alumnae community.

From the LV (Year 9) upwards, students are invited to the bi-termly Careers Forum. Recent fora have focused on careers in writing & journalism, technology & engineering, entrepreneurship and social justice & human rights. LV students are also encouraged to take part in Take Your Daughter to Work Day.

High Mistress Sarah Fletcher speaking with a group of students.

In the V (Year 10) students complete the Morrisby Profile to help them identify and develop their own personal strengths and interests. This is followed by the annual V Careers Conference involving a full morning of interactive workshops for small groups led by alumnae and external professionals from a variety of career sectors. These typically cover a broad range of careers ranging from, for example, finance & management to medicine and healthcare to music and fine art consultancy. In the afternoon students sign up in advance for workplace visits, which aim to cover key career areas such as architecture, arts and heritage, finance, law, technology and business. These visits are specially arranged to give students firsthand experience of different working environments, roles and hear about recent or current projects. They also include specific advice on work placements and career pathways.

During the VI (Year 11) students attend a series of ‘world of work’ PSHE sessions in the autumn term. These are followed by 1:1 A level subject choice meetings to discuss their future options. As students enter the Senior School, more personalised support aims to help each student continue to identify their individual strengths, passions and interests and to navigate the important decision making process required for the next stage of their education and lives beyond school.

Throughout the VII (Year 12) a student working lunch committee organises opportunities for students and parents to meet fortnightly during lunch to discuss work and career paths. Recent themes have included journalism, scientific research, technology, finance, the arts and global development. These informal lunches have proved highly popular with students and parents alike offering the chance to meet and share valuable, practical advice as students contemplate their university courses and the future, real-world application of their academic studies.

Students at a working lunch committee meeting


Our alumnae network is an invaluable resource for helping our Senior School students to gather the information and guidance needed to plan for the next stage of their lives. We have a number of dedicated alumnae panel sessions for the VII and VIII where our students have the opportunity to hear about the experiences of recent school leavers at their particular university and on their particular course. Our online careers-advice community, OP Connect, enables direct contact with over 200 mentors who advise on work experience, courses and careers.

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