After much hard work and preparation from all our students, it is with great pride that we congratulate two of our Upper Sixth students who have secured offers to further their education at Oxford and Cambridge.
The girls readied themselves with several personal statement drafts, work experience, references, interview preparation, including the interviews themselves. Regrettably, not all of our Oxbridge applicants were successful; it is a highly competitive process but we know that the hard work exhibited by all students will prove rewarding as they pursue their applications to other top tier universities.
Renée spoke of her offer to Oxford:
After changing my subject choices several times, I decided I wanted to study English Literature and Language in Lower Sixth. English has always been my favourite subject in school, and it only made sense to study what I truly enjoyed. I found that entering a few poetry and essay writing competitions in Year 11 and Lower Sixth really boosted my confidence in the subject, and I would suggest entering a competition or workshop outside of school to all girls considering a particular subject at university.
As for the Oxford application process, it would be an understatement to say it was a tough job. After sending off my personal statement before the October deadline, all English applicants had to take an entrance examination in November, as well as send in previous essays. In December, I found out whether or not I had secured an interview. At first, I felt very intimidated by the prospect of discussing literature with at least four university professors. Luckily, I was able to make good use of the amazing English Department we have at Farnborough Hill – thank you, Mrs Madeline Greene Lally, for your life-saving notes on the Dream of the Rood. I left the interviews feeling relieved – the tutors were incredibly friendly and engaging, and seemed to love the subject as much as I do, which put me at ease.
The entrance examination result and offer decision came in January. When I got my offer I was thrilled, and so grateful to my English teachers, especially Mrs Lori Winch-Johnson, and all the staff who helped me in the process of my application.
I would definitely encourage any girls considering English or another subject at Oxford to go for it, and know that the School will give you the utmost support. The prospect of being able to study your favourite subject at Oxford or Cambridge is incredible, and I am so excited to hopefully begin my journey there. I am intrigued by the prospect of journalism or another form of writing in the future – but who really knows. For now, I am focussing on making the grades to secure my place.
Alexandra reflects on her offer to Cambridge:
“I applied to Jesus College, University of Cambridge for Physical Natural Sciences with the intent of studying Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Materials Science in the first year and then specialising more in the second and third years in whichever I enjoy the most. Despite being a little nervous I am looking forward to the challenge and excited to be a part of Jesus College.
The process of applying to Oxbridge really begins (at least for me it did) in Years 10 and 11. I began applying for any work experience or extra lectures in the field and, believe me, there are online lectures on anything you can think of if you look for them (you can check out the Jesus College Cambridge YouTube channel if you are stuck for somewhere to start and for Physics or engineering I would recommend Isaac Physics lecture series). Most importantly, I started reading around the subject. It is useful to keep records of everything you have done or researched relating to the course for when it comes to writing your personal statement: the first step in your application to any university.
The official process began with the entrance examination. I sat a Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA) in November consisting of two papers in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry (there is also a Biology option for Bio NatSci applicants). Around a month later, I was invited to interview. One of my interviews had more of a Physics focus and the other more Chemistry, but both were academic discussions with the supervisors about problems they had presented me. They were more interested in how I approached problems and whether I could be flexible with new information than how much I had learnt beforehand. In fact, I actually learnt new things during my interview.