Careers and Higher Education

Benenden School is unique in that it has three dedicated members of staff in its Careers Department, providing a bespoke Careers programme embedded throughout the School.

This, coupled with our open door policy and central location, allows all girls to be fully supported in their Career and Higher Education planning. We have a specialist in overseas university applications who is also a qualified adult careers advisor and we work closely with a company which advises on scholarships to the United States. Each year, a number of Benenden girls will apply to study overseas, largely in the US, but also in Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland and Europe. The majority of girls applying to UK universities proceed to Russell Group universities.

There are currently around 30 Benenden girls studying at Oxford or Cambridge, another 15 at Medical school and around another 20 at prestigious universities overseas including Harvard, MIT, McGill and HKU.

Whether it is discovering their skills and exploring career pathways in the Lower School, selecting appropriate GCSE and A Level subjects or applying for summer schools, internships and university places, the Careers Department aims to support the girls to make the best possible choices.

A Level leavers

Whilst the vast majority of our pupils proceed to university, whether in the UK or overseas, the Sixth Form programme is a varied mix of talks and workshops from universities, employers and Seniors, highlighting different options and pathways to success.

At university, girls choose courses as varied as Marine Engineering, Magazine Journalism, Urban Planning, History, Social and Political Studies, Mathematics and Accounting. Multi-disciplinary courses such as Athropology, Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences are increasingly popular.

We have recently hosted visits by the following organisations: University of Birmingham, UEA, Le Cordon Bleu, University of Surrey, University of Exeter, University of Durham, University of Southampton, University of Bristol, Deloitte, Amazon and the National Physics Laboratory.

For Six Two students, the academic year begins with the all-important university application process. Most of these are finished and sent to UCAS by the end of October, weeks ahead of the mid-January deadline. For pupils who have university interviews for places at Oxford and Cambridge or for vocational courses such as Medicine, interview training is available from professional trainers and an Oxford admissions tutor.

Many of the teaching staff volunteer to give practice subject interviews in the days prior to a university interview. The Careers Department also organises a set of ‘MMIs’ for Medicine/healthcare applicants. For girls who wish to apply to US and other international universities, there is individual support and guidance.

On the internal Benenden Portal we keep up-to-date pages for the girls to browse on all aspects of Careers and HE including: Oxbridge admission, Med/Vet Med and Dentistry applications, Degree Apprenticeships, other alternatives to university and gap years.

Our biennial Careers Convention brings over 50 universities, employers and gap year organisations to the School to allow all pupils to discuss their plans and attend Careers workshops.

The Careers Department constantly seeks ways to improve and enhance the Careers education on offer to the girls and has also developed the School’s outreach programme, with many pupils from local schools attending, and benefiting from, our varied range of events and courses. Sharing best practice, the Careers Department hosts 'think tanks', delivers training courses and the Careers staff keep up-to-date by regularly attending conferences and seminars.

Dr Marcus Allen
Head of Higher Education, Careers and Professional Guidance