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College works to raise students’ aspirations

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A WARRINGTON college is working with two of the world’s leading universities to raise the aspirations of young people.
Priestley College is hosting several events over the next couple of months with academics from Oxford and Cambridge and some of the college’s former students who are now studying at Russell Group universities.
It is hoped these events will inspire young people who might otherwise not have planned to attend university.
Mark Salmon, a senior tutor at the college, said: “There are still fewer young people from the North West applying for places at the UK’s top universities than there are from other parts of the country.
“We are determined to ensure that our students will see every university place as achievable and to raise their aspirations by working closely with the Russell Group, particularly Oxbridge.”
In January, Priestley hosted a masterclass that was attended by more than 100 young people from the region.
Theme of the masterclass – which was designed to take students way beyond the A-Level syllabus – was “Consequences” and several tutors from Priestley conducted the lectures.
Oxbridge have also asked Priestley to host an event aimed at giving Year 12s the skills they need to secure places at Britain’s best universities.
Academics and members of their two universities’ admissions and liaison teams will advise students on what they need to do to stand out from the crowd and submit a competitive application. Tutors will also receive advice on writing references.
Students who have applied to Priestley – and who have predicted grades that suggest they could study at one of the UK’s top universities – have also been invited to ‘An Evening With Oxbridge’ later this month.
They will hear from academics Dr Catherine Sumnall (Cambridge) and Dr Peter Claus (Oxford) about the admissions process and how their tutorial teaching systems can benefit those who are academically motivated and engaged.
“Events like the one being held at Priestley are important to help provide the extra information and inspiration that some young people need to achieve their full potential,” said Dr Claus.
Many of the students who attend An Evening With Oxbridge will go on to join Priestley’s Graduate programme like former Lymm High School pupil Greg Horne.
Now in his second year at Christ Church, Oxford,he said: “The Graduate programme was fantastic because it connected me with intellectually challenging people and made Oxford seem like a real possibility. The activities such as debates boosted my confidence and prepared me for the rigorous interview process.”

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