PUBLISHED 01 February 2023
After a rigorous and challenging application process, two of our students will be embarking on the next stage of their education at two of the most respected universities in the UK. Mia W has secured a place at the University of Oxford to read Theology and Religion at Oriel College; and Miranda A has received an offer to study Modern and Medieval Languages at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.
Mia completed her Sixth Form studies last year, achieving A*A*A in her A-levels. Though she already had a firm offer to study at King’s College London for this year, she decided to take a gap year and apply for a place at Oxford, “I understand that Oxbridge is not the be all and end all of academic success and an offer from KCL is hardly something to snub your nose at” she explains. “Moreover, I had already been rejected by Oxford once, so why bother? I’m not usually someone who takes these types of decisions, a huge risk with a slim chance of a reward. However, because I am a practical person with a lot of academic ambition (not to mention a healthy dose of stubbornness) I decided to take a gap year”.
Since Sixth Form, Mia has enhanced her fluency in languages through studying online courses, as well as working full-time. The time away from her studies also informed her decision to reapply for a new course, Religion and Theology, “I am happy to say my gap year has resulted in one of the best outcomes for me, personally and academically”.
“All our alumni have access to the same level of careers support as if they were still with us in Sixth Form,” explains Kevin Maund, Head of AKS Sixth Form. “Mia’s reapplication to Oxford was completed in close partnership with our University applications team, and we fully supported her decision to take a gap year. We are delighted for both girls”.
“The support of Mr Maund and Mr Donovan have been invaluable to my success and confidence in my re-application and I would like to thank them for that. Mr Donovan in particular has been a wonderful interlocutor. AKS has been incredibly helpful during this entire process, whether it has come in the form of random questions via email or being a last-minute marker for written work. I would like to give them a big thank you".
Miranda also acknowledges that securing an Oxbridge offer has been a long-held dream, “I first wondered if I could apply to Cambridge when I was in Year 10 and started to think about what I would do after GCSEs. It became a reality for me when I chose my A-levels and started thinking about what I would need to do to complete an Cambridge application. I had to jump through a few hoops in order to complete all the steps, and in December, I was asked to attend online interviews with academics from the department and sit an admissions exam”.
Currently studying A-levels in English Literature, German and Music, Miranda also wanted to acknowledge the dedicated support she has received so far in her academic journey. “I would like to thank Mr Collings, Mr O'Loughlin and Mr Maund for their help with my school reference and personal statement. I am especially grateful to my wonderful German teacher Mrs Burnett, who, as well as advising me on my personal statement, gave me so much of her time to help me prepare for the exam and interviews, which was invaluable”.
Both have advice for students who are also thinking of applying for the Everest of competitive applications, “Applying to Oxbridge can seem very daunting,” explains Miranda “but whilst it is a challenging process, your Oxbridge-tailored personal statement will attract the attention of other prestigious universities, such as St Andrews and Durham”.
For Mia, the experience has shown her that grit and self-belief is just as crucial as the academic grades, “It has taught me to trust my instincts above all and to have faith in myself”.