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News: Cam­bridge uni­ver­si­ty trip inspires A Lev­el students

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Our students outside Peterhouse College, Cambridge, with Alex MacDonald, Faculty Area Manager for High Pavement Sixth Form at Nottingham College (fifth from left)
Our students outside Peterhouse College, Cambridge, with Alex MacDonald, Faculty Area Manager for High Pavement Sixth Form at Nottingham College (fifth from left)

A group of 11 A Level students from Nottingham College’s High Pavement Sixth Form have visited the University of Cambridge on Wednesday 6 February, as part of the university’s HE+ widening participation scheme.

The Sut­ton Trust social mobil­i­ty char­i­ty recent­ly pub­lished research which found that inde­pen­dent school pupils are sev­en times more like­ly to gain a place at Oxford or Cam­bridge com­pared to those in non-selec­tive state schools’. 

How­ev­er, this scheme run by Cam­bridge aims to raise aspi­ra­tions, and to sup­port stu­dents from state schools and col­leges to pre­pare suc­cess­ful appli­ca­tions to top uni­ver­si­ties such as Cambridge.

Sixth Form stu­dents from a wide vari­ety of back­grounds are encour­aged to join the scheme, includ­ing those who are the first in their fam­i­ly to go to uni­ver­si­ty, live in post­code areas with tra­di­tion­al­ly low lev­els of pro­gres­sion into high­er edu­ca­tion, or from low­er income households. 

The stu­dents are tak­ing part in a six-month-long project, includ­ing mas­ter­class­es in their sub­jects, infor­ma­tion and guid­ance ses­sions, and oth­er sup­port, to help boost their chances of success. 

An old historic building with grass outside
Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge

Dur­ing the vis­it, the group sam­pled sub­ject mas­ter­class­es with Cam­bridge pro­fes­sors, attend­ed a talk on how to make a com­pet­i­tive Oxbridge appli­ca­tion, and got the chance to present their own aca­d­e­m­ic research projects to oth­er A Lev­el stu­dents from local schools and colleges. 

Zoe Cutter is a Lecturer at High Pavement Sixth Form, and the College’s UCAS coordinator for A Level students.

One of the best parts of my job is inspir­ing stu­dents from non-tra­di­tion­al back­grounds to believe they are capa­ble of attend­ing spe­cial­ist uni­ver­si­ties like Cam­bridge, and sup­port­ing them through the often chal­leng­ing appli­ca­tion process. 

Peter­house is the old­est col­lege at Cam­bridge, and the chance to vis­it here is the high­light of the pro­gramme for many of our stu­dents. It helps to dis­pel a lot of myths, such as think­ing you have to be rich to study at Oxbridge, and it helps make the appli­ca­tion process more transparent. 

Our stu­dents come from such a diverse range of back­grounds, and 2018 saw some great suc­cess sto­ries, includ­ing a stu­dent pro­gress­ing to Oxbridge, and many going on to a range of high-rank­ing uni­ver­si­ties. Schemes like this will help our stu­dents pre­pare to build on this success. 

 — Zoe Cut­ter
2638 Portrait
Shadi Alhalabi

High Pavement student Shadi Alhalabi is is the first person in his family to apply for university. He's interested in a career in pharmacy.

He is study­ing A Lev­els in Psy­chol­o­gy, Chem­istry, Biol­o­gy and Sociology. 

Sha­di said: The HE+ pro­gramme is prepar­ing me aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly to go to university. 

It was bril­liant to be giv­en the chance to explore my abil­i­ty to do research in my sub­ject area and to feed it back to oth­er students.”

Three students smiling
Mia Roberts, pictured centre, with fellow A Level students

Sixteen-year-old Mia Roberts is studying Psychology, Physical Education and Biology, and ​and is interested in a career in midwifery or nursing.​

She said: I’m also the first per­son in my fam­i­ly to be going to uni­ver­si­ty, so I think it’s impor­tant that schools and col­leges help stu­dents who are inter­est­ed in Oxbridge. 

It’s a com­pet­i­tive appli­ca­tion process, and for those who don’t know any­one that’s been to uni­ver­si­ty, it’s harder.

I’d rec­om­mend A Lev­els at Not­ting­ham Col­lege because there are lots of oppor­tu­ni­ties for you, not just to study, but also to join pro­grammes like HE+.”

Person smiling
Herho Bryan Cestona

Herho Bryan Cestona is studying Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Further Maths. He plans to study Chemical Engineering at university.

Nine­teen-year-old Her­ho said: It was a good expe­ri­ence get­ting the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vis­it such a pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ty – I couldn’t believe how beau­ti­ful and amaz­ing Peter­house is! 

The HE+ pro­gramme has giv­en me more con­fi­dence about the appli­ca­tion process and it has enlight­ened me on what choic­es I need to take to be successful.”

Published on:
  • 14th February 2019 (11:21 AM)
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