Oxbridge Success

The Sixth Form College, Solihull is celebrating university progression as students discover their A Level results today, with a number of students confirming places at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

Pictured: Lauren Peters, Matthew Parker, Georgina Mynott, James Jarema, Jenny Haigh

Among the College’s successful students is Lauren Peters and Kyran Esparza, who have both secured places at Oxford University to study Physics. For Lauren (aged 17, from Solihull), her place is at Lady Margaret Hall. The ex-Lode Heath School student got five A* grades in Chemistry, Mathematics, Further Maths and Physics at A level, as well as in her Extended Project. In Physics, her achievement cannot be topped, as she attained full marks in all her exams.

Lauren commented, “When I checked my results I was in shock! I’m very chuffed of course. I’m extremely excited about going to Oxford. When I visited I loved the city and the colleges and it had a very friendly atmosphere. I’m looking forward to mixing with like-minded people and being taught by high flyers in my chosen field of study.”

Kyran Esparza (aged 17, from Hall Green) achieved A* grades in A level Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics and A grades in AS French and AS Philosophy. His place is at Worcester College to read Physics.

"I wasn't really sure I'd like it at Oxford when I went for my interview," he said. "I was told that interviews were done in the same style as tutorials. After five minutes of my interview I really enjoyed it and I had never learnt so much so quickly, so I knew I would enjoy Oxford then.

"I've enjoyed my time at College too, because it's a nice place to learn. Compared to Spain, where I was in school before, there is a lot less talking that goes on in class, so it's a more pleasant learning environment."

Away from Oxford, A degree in Archeology & Anthropology at Pembroke College, Cambridge is in store for Jenny Haigh (aged 19, from Solihull). Jenny has achieved A* grades in her A levels of English Literature and Geography, as well as A grades in Philosophy and French.

“I’m so excited about going to Cambridge,” said Jenny. “It is nerve-wracking waiting for your results, but I’m so happy I got what I needed. I applied to Cambridge because I wanted to challenge myself and I actually found the application process rather fun. The help I got from staff at College made it much less stressful. The support was great and it was so helpful to know I could knock on the Principal’s door if I needed to.”

James Jarema and Matthew Parker are both heading to Cambridge to study Engineering. For James Jarema (aged 18, from Knowle), he is going to Homerton College after achieving A* grades in A level Mathematics and Physics and A grades in Further Maths and Chemistry.

The former Arden School student said, “I really did not know what to expect, because I just didn’t have a feeling for how the exams had gone. I’m very happy with my results, but it hasn’t really sunk in yet that I’m going to Cambridge!

“I didn’t really think about even applying for Cambridge originally, but a friend jokingly suggested that I do so and I thought ‘Why not!’. I didn’t pin all my hopes of getting this place, but now that I have I’m happy with it. They have already sent me a big pile of work to do, so that’s a little daunting, but I’m excited too.”

Meanwhile Matthew Parker (aged 18, from Hillfield) is taking up a place at Christ College after achieving an A* in A level Mathematics and A grades in Chemistry, Further Maths and Physics.

The ex-Tudor Grange School student commented, “I wanted to go to Cambridge, so I’m pleased I got what I needed to do that. I had to sit an exam as part of the application process and that was hard. I also had two interviews, one of which was horrible and the other was good.”

Another student to have secured a place at Cambridge is Fiona Woolston (aged 18, from Marston Green).  Fiona came to the College from Grace Academy and achieved A* grades in A level Politics and Sociology, as well as an A in English Literature and AS English Language and a B in AS Media Studies. She is progressing to Trinity Hall to read Politics, Psychology and Sociology.

The Sixth Form College, Solihull has a good record of placing students on competitive course at Oxford and Cambridge. College Principal Paul Ashdown explained that the competition has got tougher and tougher.

“We start preparing students for Oxbridge applications about halfway through their first year with us,” he said. “It is critical that they do extra work over the summer to set themselves apart from the crowd. Gone are the days when getting straight As at A Level was enough on its own. Oxbridge applicants need to show that they are already working beyond the demands of A Level, and that they are genuinely dedicated to their chosen subject.

“Even getting an Oxbridge offer is incredibly difficult, and we congratulate all those students who achieved that. The success of then securing these places is even more impressive. I am delighted for James, Matthew, Fiona, Jenny, Lauren and Kyran and I am proud that the College has played its part in helping them get their places. I have every faith that they will go on to do very well.”

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