Two gifted students at The Sixth Form College, Solihull are working towards their dream after being offered places at the University of Oxford this year.
A level students Amelia-Anne Carse and Pete Miller have both been successful in their Oxbridge applications, after going through a challenging application process. Amelia hopes to take up a place at Oriel College to study Engineering, while Pete is aiming for a place on the English Language & Literature course at Mansfield College.
Ex-Heart of England School pupil Amelia (aged 17 from Hampton-in-Arden) explained her motivation for making the application and what she thought of the process: “I had always considered applying to Oxford, so I visited Oriel College and fell in love with it! I really liked the style of teaching and the general nature of the engineering course. I also just wanted to see whether I could do it.
“It was a tough application process. The entrance test was hard and the interviews were very stressful, but I am glad I did them – they were a brilliant experience. My Physics teacher was great; he offered continued support for both the test and the interview, reading personal statements and running problem solving sessions. He really helped to build my confidence in my own ability, which was vital for the interview. I also did a mock interview.”
Former Langley School student Pete (aged 18 from Solihull) explained that he enjoyed the application process: “Going into the process, I felt like going to Oxford was only ever a dream that wouldn’t actually happen to me. I was scared, because I knew I really wanted to go and that the competition was fierce, but I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed it all. It really helped me to know for sure that English was what I wanted to do at university.
“I went to quite a few talks and lectures about making an Oxbridge application which the College Careers advisor organised. I also got a lot of support with my personal statement, which helped in understanding the kind of things that Oxford were looking for in an application. The support from the English department who ran ELAT practice sessions for me and the other candidates were extremely useful in preparing for the entrance exam too.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I knew that the teaching would be amazing. It was always important to me throughout my UCAS application that I chose places where everyone there was going to be as excited about books as I am. Oxford also had a really nice atmosphere when I visited – it felt very scholarly, like everyone there was really committed to learning. Finally, I really liked the idea of the collegiate system, having that sense of community was really important to me with regards to my university experience!”
College Principal Martin Sullivan added: “This is fantastic news and I want to offer both Amelia and Pete the congratulations of everyone at the College. Even undertaking an Oxbridge application is a challenge and Amelia and Pete have had to work hard on their applications and then face entrance exams and interviews. To get through that process and then beat off competition from some of the brightest young minds not just in this country but from around the world is something to be truly proud of. I wish them both well as they work towards the grades they need to secure their places.”
While applying is a very competitive process, both Amelia and Pete agree that trying is very worthwhile. Pete’s advice is: “Apply for what you absolutely love and it will shine through your application. Apply even if you feel like you won’t get in – you never know! Most importantly, when you are applying its ok to be worried about rejection and feel like everyone else has such a better chance than you – just remember that everyone is in the same boat and as long as you put time into wider reading and preparing for your entrance exam then there is no reason why you shouldn’t get in.”
Amelia added: “It is a huge commitment but really helps develop both academic and life skills – regardless of an offer. The entrance test and the interviews are both very difficult but the college will be very supportive.”
Oxbridge are among the first universities to make offers each year. Hundreds of other students are still waiting to hear what university offers they receive. This year, 895 students made UCAS applications. While some students choose higher apprenticeships and other training opportunities, university is still the top destination for our students.