All universities set their own ‘admissions requirements’ (the grades or points you need to get in), and these vary hugely. It is very important to think about the admissions requirements when researching possible courses, in order to apply realistically.
Many universities ask for specific grades (sometimes in specific subjects) but others use the UCAS Tariff and ask for a certain number of UCAS points. From 2017 there is a completely New UCAS Tariff (click on the link for details).
The UCAS website www.ucas.com is a good starting point for researching courses, but does not allow you to filter according to the grades/points you are expecting. The Which website www.university.which.co.uk allows you to define a range of grades/points and then shows universities whose entry requirements fall within that band for the subject you plan to study. IB students will need to ‘translate’ their points into roughly equivalent A level grades in order to use this feature (we have asked Which to put in a filter by IB points as well). To ‘translate’ IB points to A level grades for the Which website it is best to consider 38 points roughly equivalent to A*AA, 36 points roughly equivalent to AAA, 34 points roughly equivalent to AAB etc.
www.ukuniversitysearch.com offers a similar search by UCAS points (the same method of converting IB points works for this one too), and each of the results is a direct link to course information on the individual universities’ own website, taking you straight through to the detail you need.
The Year 12 booklet from the careers day on 23 March contains useful guidance on researching courses. Download a copy here: careers-day-year-12-student-booklet-2016
To find out more about student life you might find it interesting to visit a blog run by Durham University students: http://durhamstudentblog.com/
If you are very uncertain about what you would like to study you might find Centigrade Online useful. This costs £20 and you fill in a detailed questionnaire. It then shows you which general course areas seem best to match your interests but also which seem best to match your skills and aptitudes. You are then given a couple of pages of information for each of these general course areas, breaking them down into individual courses, showing you which universities offer those courses and also analysing the answers you gave in relation to the skills and interests needed for that course. Go to http://www.centigradeonline.co.uk/ to find out more.