Challenging Summer School

The annual Stretch and Challenge Summer School at The Sixth Form College, Solihull now in its 11th year, ran last week with visiting speakers and specialist sessions designed to support our students who are applying for the most competitive university courses and Oxbridge.

More than 130 first year students took part in the summer school, with sessions in 18 different subject areas taking place, including Mathematics, English, Science subjects and even a mini History trip. Students tackled advanced subject matter in these sessions to prepare them for applications to highly competitive university courses. Many of these high flyers are considering making applications to Oxford and Cambridge or for competitive courses in Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry.

A senior tutor from Mansfield College at the University of Oxford, Lucinda Rumsey, came into College on Thursday to talk to students about making an application to Oxford. We were also delighted to have from the University of Birmingham Dr Kimberley Roper (Medicinal Chemistry from the School of Pharmacy) and Dr Nigel Watson (School of Physics and Astronomy) as well as Dr. Christy Hunter from De Montfort University. There were also talks on selecting the right course and the right university and test sessions ran for History, English, Medicine and Law, all courses that require additional entry tests to be sat for students to gain places.

Staff were also on hand to run a practical session on preparing for the UCAS applications students will need to make. Many students applying for competitive courses will face a much earlier deadline for their applications than other students.

Zoe Bereza, who organised the Summer School, commented:

“Once again we are able to offer a programme of events to help bolster confidence when embarking on such important decisions. The two days can really help allay fears and light a fire in their belly about their future aspirations.’’

The Year 12 students were overwhelmingly positive about the impact the summer school has had, remarking:

“The subject related courses were very informative and useful. The subject experts that came to impart their knowledge and personal experiences was the main reason that they were so interesting. They also helped put into perspective life after university.

“I found it very reassuring to have a talk about Oxbridge, from Lucinda and also Riya, an ex- student now studying at Oxford. I used to believe that only certain people were able to get into those universities. The Oxford talk gives me the confidence to apply.

“The UCAS session was also very helpful, more specifically the document which outlined what a personal statement should include. Making a start helped me to realise what targets I need to be setting for myself in order to further improve my personal statement.”

Every year, the College helps students apply to both Oxford and Cambridge universities. This year, nine students have Oxbridge offers and it is hoped that some of those who took part in the Summer School will follow in their footsteps and apply for the following year.

22 June 2017