Ambitious, focussed and determined describe hard-working Nottingham College A Level students Talia Bennett and Oliver Doshi-Phillips, who have both secured offers to study at one of the most highly-ranked universities in the UK - the prestigious University of Oxford.
After studying A Levels at the College’s High Pavement Sixth Form centre in Chaucer Street, the young students have now made it through the intense and rigorous university application process, and are ready to start this September.
Oliver, 18, from Lambley, studied at High Pavement last year and is currently on a gap year. After receiving A*, A, A grades in Sociology, Maths and History he has since secured an unconditional offer to read History at Christ Church, University of Oxford. He said: “Even though I knew I had the grades and that my interview went well, it still took me back to finally hear that I’d been accepted and given an unconditional offer. It’s now real and something I can prepare for and look forward to in September.
“I completed my exams last year but the support from the College never stopped. I’ve remained in regular contact with Zoe, my mentor, who helped me with my written application and to prepare for the interview.
“The support I received from College was crucial in my success. I felt that those that helped me had a genuine desire to help me and to see me achieve my goals. This level of support gave me the confidence to pursue my dream, even when I had doubts.”
Talia, 19, from The Meadows, has loved reading and the English Language from a young age, and she is now hoping to secure her dream place at Balliol, University of Oxford to study English Language and Literature.
She said: “As a child I spent most of my time reading and writing, and dreamed of a future where I could be completely absorbed in the study of books. Without realising it I connected to Oxford through the fantasy novel ‘His Dark Materials’ by Philip Pullman. The magic and mystery of the series became real for me and as an avid Harry Potter fan, I unwittingly fell in love with the halls and Balliol College and areas of Oxford itself, which are used in the films.
“I learned early on that getting a place at Oxford wasn’t going to be easy but this just made me even more focussed and determined. The application process is long and intense but getting through it made me realise even more that this is what I truly want.
“I owe so much to the subject tutors who have supported me. Their involvement in my progress gave me the confidence to apply, do my very best in interviews, make the most of all my hard work, and ultimately secure my provisional offer.
“I was absolutely over the moon when I received my acceptance letter and provisional place, and now I’m going to continue working as hard as possible so I can achieve the grades I need in August.”
Zoe Cutter, the College’s UCAS & Oxbridge Coordinator, said: “Our A Level students come from a variety of different backgrounds, and for many they are the first in their family to go to university, so it’s a huge achievement for them if this is the progression route they’ve chosen.
"It’s an intensive and accelerated process, with several added steps which are unique to Oxford and Cambridge, such as an earlier deadline in October for the formal UCAS form, an entrance exam and submission of written work. Only if applicants are successful in these earlier stages, will they then be invited to attend the final interview stage.
“In 2016, the University of Oxford offered 23% of English and History applicants’ places so it goes to show how well Oliver and Talia have done. Their resilience, intellectual flexibility and nerve have all been tested to the limit through this process, and we are delighted that they have been successful in receiving offers and proved their worth against tough competition.''