‘The Oxbridge Programme has been very informative and given me a greater insight into the application process. It has also given me opportunities to participate in enrichment activities that will strengthen my application.’ Anastasia, Year 12.
The Oxbridge Programme
A successful Oxbridge programme has been developed for able students with aspirations to apply to Oxford or Cambridge. The programme begins early in Year 12 and continues until the application process is completed in Year 13 This bespoke programme provides individual advice, guidance and support for potential Oxbridge applicants. The programme includes assessment test practice, interview skills and specialist UCAS mentoring. Weekly debating sessions are run by the Gifted and Talented Lead Teacher to support the interview process. Year 12 students also have the opportunity to attend, Lumina, a week-long application preparation course, at the Harrow School.
Oxbridge Group Meetings
Starting early in Year 12, potential Oxbridge applicants meet on a regular basis to prepare a strong application. From the Spring Term in Year 12, students attend a weekly debating session to improve confidence and the ability to relate current affairs to their subject areas.
Aaron (Year 13 Cambridge offer holder) said ‘The debating sessions really helped by giving experience of what the interviews will really be like. My friends from other schools said they didn’t get this kind of support.’
Assessment Test Preparation
Students are assigned a specialist in their subject area who prepares them for the assessment tests. Students attempt past papers which are then marked by the subject specialist and finally sit a mock examination in the Autumn Term.
Jennet (Year 13 Oxford applicant) said ‘I was provided with in depth feedback on my work in preparation for the assessment tests. Having the mock test under exam conditions was really helpful especially with timing.’
Personal Statement Writing
There are a number of workshops for students to attend to enhance their personal statement writing skills. Students also receive advice from our link college officers from Oxford and Cambridge on how to prepare strong applications.
Haowei (Year 13 Oxford applicant) said ‘My UCAS mentor was really helpful giving advice on what I should include in my personal statement and he was always available and happy to help.’
‘I was always able to ask for help when I needed it. My UCAS mentor was willing to give a lot of her time and really helped to make my statement as good as possible.’ Ersan (Year 13 Oxbridge applicant).
Visits to Link Colleges
All students making an application to Oxford or Cambridge have the opportunity to attend an application preparation day conducted by our link colleges, Gonville & Caius at Cambridge and Christ Church at Oxford. These application preparation days are designed to provide advice and support around the application process and in particular interviews and assessment tests. They also provide the chance to meet current undergraduates.
Oxford Horizons & Lumina
Potential Oxbridge applicants in Year 12 are given the opportunity to attend a series of academic workshops, study skills, and information, advice and guidance sessions in local schools conducted by Christ Church College, Oxford entitled Oxford Horizons. The academic workshops are given by Oxford graduates and junior research fellows and give students a taste of the teaching and research that take place at the University of Oxford. Ashmole is pleased to be hosting two these sessions during this academic year.
‘Lumina was the first time I had the chance to engage with Oxbridge academics and experience the Oxbridge style of teaching and also interviews. The programme was challenging but made me realise that the one to one teaching style was something I really enjoyed. It also set me up well for my actual Cambridge interview.’ Beyyinah, (Year 13, Cambridge offer holder)
In addition, Year 12 potential applicants are offered the chance to attend Lumina, an Oxbridge application preparation course that takes place annually at Harrow School. The programme includes talks from Oxbridge admissions tutors, masterclass tutorials, interview practice amongst other activities. The programme is designed to familiarise and assist students with the application process.
Oxford and Cambridge require students to attend an admissions interview. Students are offered at least three mock interviews including some conducted by alumni and external academics.
Specialist UCAS Mentoring
Each Oxbridge applicant is assigned a specialist mentor who is experienced in supporting students through the Oxbridge application process. They offer guidance and support on writing an outstanding personal statement and will also act as their UCAS referee.
All Oxbridge Group members are encouraged to select an area of research beyond their A Level studies and to produce an extended essay based upon a question of their own choosing. They are supported through this process by a project mentor.
At Ashmole we maintain strong links with our Oxbridge alumni who support the school by visiting to talk to potential applicants and conducting mock interviews.