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College proves perfect pathway to Oxbridge

14 students offered places at two of the world’s most prestigious universities, Oxford, and Cambridge.

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Published Thursday 8 February 2024

Architecture, Biochemistry and Medieval Languages are just three of the subjects to be studied by 14 Truro and Penwith College students who have been offered places at two of the world’s most prestigious universities, Oxford, and Cambridge.

The fourteen boundary-breaking students represent a quarter of all the College’s Oxbridge applicants gaining a place to study at either prestigious university, far exceeding the national average of 1 in 6 applicants.

Smiling successful applicants proudly show the subjects they will study at Oxford and Cambridge.

And for one former IB Diploma student from Falmouth, Gabe Higgins, the achievement is extra special as studying Architecture at Cambridge University is one of the hardest subjects for students to get into, with only one in nine applicants ever receiving an offer.

“It felt amazing,” beamed Gabe, who praised the application support he received from his tutors. “It’s such a long process, so I was very relieved when I got a place.”

The group of successful students come from across Cornwall and are looking to study a number of diverse subjects at Oxbridge including English, Modern and Medieval Languages, Mathematics and Statistics, Music, Theology, History, Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and Earth Sciences.

The college offers exceptional support for students who wish to apply to Oxbridge through its leading Enrichment Programme, the College’s extracurricular option offered to all full-time students to complement full-time study.

Academic achievers can join the Oxbridge support group alongside their Enrichment choice to benefit from familiarisation visits to the universities, mock interviews and talks from the College’s Oxbridge alumni, the latter taking place during the college’s excellent Academic Academy. There is also a Medics Academy for those wishing to specialise in medicine and the Accelerate programme to support STEM students.

Full of smiles with her offer to study Biochemistry at Oxford, A Level Biology student Tabby McKiernan from St Agnes said: “I was very pleased, but also pretty shocked. The Oxbridge support was really useful as my mock interview was with someone who has gone through the exact process.”

To be accepted at Cambridge was music to the ears of musician Claudelle Williams from Newquay. “I went to the Sutton Trust Summer School there and I loved it,” she said.

Currently studying A Level French, Music and English Literature at Truro College, and with an offer to study Music at Cambridge University, Claudelle knows exactly who she wants to thank for their support.

“I did a mock interview with my music teacher, which was really good as I could get the gist of what kind of things they were going to ask in the interview,” she said.

At Penwith College in Penzance, longtime friends Grace Brougham-Pickard and Martha Watson are looking to enjoy their Oxbridge experience together. The two former Cape Cornwall school pupils have secured a place at Oxford University to study History and Mathematics respectively.

Grace and Martha were paired with mentors as part of the Oxbridge support group at Penwith College, which provides one-to-one support and help with personal statements and interviews.

“The application process would have been a lot more challenging had it not been for all the amazing Truro and Penwith College staff who aided me in my application,” said Grace, “so I am eternally grateful for their help and would recommend to anyone hoping to apply to either Oxford or Cambridge that they should register their interest, as the College is always there to support you.”

Angie Liversedge, Oxbridge Lead at Truro and Penwith College, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the success of our students in securing places across all subject disciplines.

“Nationally, the competition for places at Oxford and Cambridge is fierce, with a success rate of just 1 in 6 applicants securing an offer. It is therefore remarkable that, despite this intense competition, a quarter of all our Oxbridge applicants received offers. This superb achievement requires the students applying to have commitment and tenacity; not only do they have to focus on their academic work but also undertake significant extra activity as part of the admissions process.

“We congratulate all those who made an application this year. Our thanks also go to all those involved in helping the students. Support for Oxbridge applicants within the college is extensive, with specialist support tutors, pre-application residential visits, visits from admission tutors and practice interviews from our governors, staff and external experts.”

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