25 January 2019
Over 90 A level and Y11 students from 6 local colleges joined Sixth Form students from Bolton School at the inaugural Oxbridge Conference hosted at the school. The all-day event, co-organised by Bolton School and Rivington and Blackrod High School and Sixth Form, saw speakers from Oxford and Cambridge universities, along with recent graduates, share their wisdom on successfully applying to and enjoying life at Oxbridge.
Richard Petty, Schools Careers Programme Manager from the University of Oxford spoke about the timeline of applying to university generally and to Oxford specifically. He opened by explaining why it is currently an excellent time to be going to university; he spoke of how the payment of fees means that universities have to be more responsive to students’ needs and that courses are now better value for money than ever before. He spoke of the advantages of the university experience beyond the purely academic and he told how there is a good number of places available at excellent universities.
Cambridge University representative Dr Matt Bullimore, Widening Participation Officer Churchill College, offered advice on choosing the right subject to study and matching your aptitudes and interests; the importance of a good academic track record; the requirement to read and think, critically and analytically outside the course; as well as the need to revise and embed your learning before university assessments and interviews.
The attendees sat in subject specific clusters and benefited throughout the day from expert advice from Oxbridge graduates who helped facilitate the activities. Offering a student’s perspective were former Bolton School pupils Isabella Sabini, Emily Varley and Olivia Hosker and they were joined by fellow Oxbridge graduate Adrian Matthew. The graduates shared their knowledge and helped facilitate the activities which included work on personal statements, the interview process and aptitude tests.
Participants on the day came from Thornleigh, Turton, Bolton Muslim Girls’ School, Canon Slade, UTC Bolton, Rivington & Blackrod and Bolton School Girls’ and Boys’ Division and their feedback was very positive, including “the day had some amazing information” and “the activities were very useful in terms of analysing personal statements …… the interview task made me more positive about the process.”