What are my Career Options after Catholic Boarding School?

Top examination results are a great start. The latest Department of Education statistics have shown Downside School to rank as the top performing co-educational school in Somerset and Dorset. With this in mind, it is unsurprising to learn that Downside School Leavers are among the most successful in the country.

Our pupils receive offers from Oxbridge, Ivy League universities, top conservatoires and other Russell Group universities, and some pupils take their careers down a medical route after succeeding at Downside. In addition, some of our pupils choose to follow vocational careers such as veterinary science or the military. especially after experiencing life in Downside’s CCF – one of the oldest in the UK, strengthening our military boarding school.

Whatever the next step looks like, by the time they leave us after the Upper Sixth, every Downside pupil is ready and confident to take on the next challenge with enthusiasm.

Downside School Careers – options and advice

At Downside, we understand that choosing subjects, universities and even careers can be a very daunting process. That is why we ensure we take the time to get to know each pupil’s strengths, weaknesses and above all passions. It is this that then guides us, together, to reach a decision that will best suit every pupil.

With experienced staff on hand 24/7, every pupil at Downside School is guided every step of the way, whether that makes the difference in selecting GCSEs, A Level subjects, University courses, other career options or even if this is help in finding a work experience placement.

The Old Gregorian Network – A key Catholic boarding school benefit

One key benefit of a Downside School education is the Old Gregorian Network.

This is a network comprising of Downside alumni, known as Old Gregorians (OGs). As a community, OGs support each other globally, especially young graduates looking to break into a wide variety of careers. This support is a result of the values that Downside, as a Benedictine school, puts great importance on, which stand all individuals in good stead, to value the importance of service to others for life and careers beyond.

OGs take their mentor roles very seriously, often giving up the time to talk to our Sixth Form pupils about exams, careers advice and universities; this gives our pupils a real-world and relatable channel of advice, in addition to what their teacher and parents say. The combination means that when it comes to choosing, Downside School pupils can be confident and of support in a life beyond school.

The OG society also publishes a monthly e-newsletter and has active groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn. These are open to all Downside leavers and networking is encouraged.

“We are immensely proud of our School and the opportunities it has given us; get involved in everything, as your time here, especially the last two years, will fly by.” A recent leaver

Regular OG networking events include the Media Lunch, the Property Lunch, our OG Medical Society and a City Mass – followed by lunch. If you are interested in participating in any of these, or to discover other OG networking events please call Downside on 01761 235194.

Recent Downside Boarding School leavers – career beginnings

For the main part, the majority of Downside School leavers, having stayed on for the Sixth Form, go on to study at one of the UK’s leading universities. Popular options include St Andrew’s University, Exeter University, Durham University, Oxford University and Cambridge. However, to view our most recent school leavers’ locations, please click here.

We are also seeing a popular trend appear among pupils interested in studying abroad; in particular, the USA has attracted a lot of interest recently. It is true that studying in the US can be more expensive. However by obtaining a scholarship – not necessarily in an academic subject – this can help with the costs immensely.

Europe is also becoming more popular among Downside School leavers. As a Benedictine boarding school, we only encourage this want to explore and discover, with and education and knowledge key to our key values as a Catholic boarding school.

It is worth noting for these more adventurous applications, the process is much longer and involves much more work. If you are thinking about an overseas application, it is a good idea to start discussing it with your tutors over the summer before Lower Sixth Form.

For more vocational career options, such as Medicine, Veterinary Sciences and Law, it is a good idea to choose extra-curricular activities to complement these options; moreover to seek out related work experience. If you don’t have any personal or family contacts that could help out, Downside might suggest several OG contacts that could be willing to mentor you to secure work experience or a placement.

As a Catholic boarding school, we focus predominantly on traditional academic subjects. This is not to say that the education that we deliver is not significantly enriched by extra-curricular activities, CCF options and state of the art facilities. Our continual results success, twinned with our natural school support, has ensured a run of Downside pupils securing entry to Oxbridge, medical courses and other leading Universities and Institutions.

Contact Us

If you would like to find out more about Downside Sixth Form options, the UCAS process, career options beyond school, recent leavers or the OG network, then please visit our contact page.