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Cambridge Fellows’ conference demystifies applying and being a student at the University of Cambridge

Local Manchester sixth form students recently attended a conference organised by Murray Edwards College of the University of Cambridge and hosted by Xaverian College. The conference was open to students with aspirations to study at Cambridge and intended to demystify the application process and enthuse prospective students to be part of the prestigious university.

Xaverian student, Kristina, who is studying A Levels in Fine Art, Mathematics and Physics and is also a member of the College’s Oxbridge Programme, commented: “Prior to the conference, I had very little idea as to how the admissions process works at Cambridge, and I decided to attend to gain a better understanding of what was expected when applying to such a competitive university as this.

“One of the Murray Edwards College fellows who led the presentation also went through specific requirements for a variety of courses and, in doing so, made the process much easier to understand. I also got the chance to speak with the university’s student ambassadors who had first-hand experience of the process as well as insider knowledge, which really helped me finalise my decision to apply. The conference was definitely very informative, and I am glad that I was given the opportunity to attend.”

Student Ambassadors from the university hosted a Q&A session at the conclusion of the conference where they took questions from the audience about studying at Cambridge and all aspects of student life.

Lydia, who is currently attending Hazel Grove Sixth Form in Stockport and studying A Levels in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Further Mathematics, said: “I heard about this conference from my teacher at school and immediately snapped up the opportunity to take part. I’m not sure which university I want to apply to next year, so I came to get more of an insight into what it’s like to be a student at the different colleges at Cambridge and how to apply.

“The first session talked about the application process for Cambridge and took us on a walkthrough of the deadlines, what we needed know, and how to enhance our applications so they stand out, which was really useful as it’s very competitive to get a place, especially on the Medicine programme, which is what I want to study. They also talked specifically about the Medicine Degree and how the course is structured, what is involved in each year of the course and what it can lead to as a career.

“I wasn’t sure about applying to Cambridge but it is definitely more on my radar. I also hadn’t thought about going to an all-girls college but attending the conference has really opened my eyes to the opportunities available and I’m looking forward to applying next year.”

Damian Williams, Pastoral Head at Didsbury High School Sixth Form, commented, “I brought my students here today because they are interested in applying to Cambridge and we felt that the conference would give them a better understanding of the application process and what to expect in terms of the student experience. It’s also given my students more clarity on their career choices and choosing a career path that is right for them.

“Our students have found the conference to be thought-provoking and informative. They found it helpful to listen to student ambassadors from the university who have been through the same process and who spoke openly and honestly about their academic and social experiences of what life is really like from their perspective.”

Jenny Ayres, Oxbridge Co-ordinator and Politics Teacher at Xaverian College, leads on the Xaverian College Oxbridge Programme, which supports students who aspire to Oxbridge to learn more about these universities and gain support with applying and the admissions process. Jenny commented: “Events such as these are crucial for students who wish to learn more about the universities and submitting a successful application. Competition for places at Oxford and Cambridge is intense and activities such as these are essential to ensure students understand about the institutions more fully and are able to submit an exceptional application.”

Senior Tutor at the University, Andrew Rudd, commented: “It was a pleasure to visit Xaverian College. Everyone from Murray Edwards was struck by the dedication and sheer academic talent of the students we met. I say to those who attended: aim high in your university applications. You have bright futures ahead.”

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