University and Careers

Post Qualification Applications (PQA)

Post Qualification Applications

A post Qualification Application (PQA) is made after A Levels, rather than before - usually in the Autumn term following A Level results (but they can be made at any time after taking A levels). (Please note that the dates and details below are for the 2019-20 cycle and will be up-dated for the new cycle in due course.) 

 Post Qualification Applications are usually made because the student:

  • wants to take a GAP Year (for travel, work, volunteering, experience, time-out)
  • doesn’t have a clear idea of what they want to study or if they want to go to university at all
  • doesn’t have a great set of GCSE results and/ or UCAS predicted grades are low
  • didn’t do as well as predicted in their A Levels and missed their CF and CI choice
  • did better than predicted in their A Levels and wants to apply again to different/higher-status universities next year

We continue to be involved in the HE applications of students who have left the School. PQA students will be able to use APPLY, through the school, in the Autumn Term after they leave us.

For those many students who decide to apply after they have taken their examinations (Post Qualification Application or PQA), the school continues to support them through the process and a guide, including the current ‘BUZZWORD’, is provided within the Leavers booklet 2019.pdf to help them make their application. Students are advised to register through the school so that they can continue to receive our help and advice throughout the application process. (It is possible to apply as an independent student, but that means the School is not involved in the application process and can therefore not provide any help and advice.) 

Please note that if a student decides to re-take examinations via a different examination centre, the School will need to be notified of the new examination centre's predicted grade. Predicted grades for re-sits must be communicated to KES tutors via an email from an official examinations centre or accredited private tutor.

VI Form Tutors will still be available - by appointment - to offer help and advice wherever that is requested. Students are expected to keep in touch with their ex-tutor to facilitate this process.

PQA students will need to submit their application before our internal UCAS deadline, so will need to be available to see their personal tutor and be mindful of dates for potential interviews, when planning their GAP Year.  It is important that they allow sufficient time for the application to be processed – 10 working days after ‘submission’.  Any student who is struggling with his/her application is invited to an evening clinic of advice held on the school’s Open Evening.

Please note that the School UCAS system closes down in the penultimate week of the Autumn term and processing of UCAS applications will not be possible after that date. 

Further information about the process is provided in the Summer Term of the Upper Sixth, along with details of the Post Results Clinic.

Old Edwardians (OEs)

Once Sixth Formers have left KES, they are welcome to return for advice, to use the HE & Careers Centre and simply to keep us in touch with their progress. We are happy to write references for any future university applications they make, until such time as they enter an HE Institution, when their current university tutor or apprenticeship supervisor is usually better placed to provide an up-to-date academic reference.  Further details on how to make a Post Qualification Application is included in the Leavers' Booklet which was sent home in the Summer Term. 

Taking a GAP Year

The GAP Year has always been a very popular option with students at KES, with up to 50% of students taking this route to university. Some students apply in the Upper Sixth for deferred entry to university, or, as is increasingly popular, leave their application until post A Level (PQA).

Students wishing to take a “year out” between A Levels and university entrance – a GAP Year – are advised to plan their time carefully, so that the experiences gained can enhance their CV.

There are many GAP Year institutions offering wonderful experiences in everything from volunteering to high adventure and details are available in the HE & Careers Library and through Dr Filtness (DWF), our GAP Year expert. It is important that students check first that a GAP Year is accepted by their chosen courses, and that any financial implications have been thoroughly explored. In our experience Mathematics and some Engineering courses tend to prefer students to proceed straight to university without taking a GAP Year.

Students will be given talks on the GAP Year experience and on planning a GAP Year and are also encouraged to talk to Dr Filtness about their ideas.  Please see additional information on the dedicated GAP Year pages.

Students whose examination performances and predicted UCAS grades do not match their ambitions, are strongly advised to consider taking a GAP Year and make a Post Qualification Application, to allow them more time to improve their academic performance. Most students who take this route are very successful; our records show that PQA students stand a greater chance of success in terms of university acceptance. This is possibly because PQA students have had longer to consider their options and more time to concentrate upon achieving the A Level grades they require.