The way in to Oxford and Cambridge is a challenging one, and the kind of pupil who would revel in that challenge is exactly the kind of undergraduate for which Oxford and Cambridge are looking. Added to the difficult choice of course is the more difficult choice of college, and the substantial element of competition brings out high-flying hopefuls from all over the world. The extra reading, extra thought, extra talent that is required on students’ behalf, is matched by the extra help offered by our enthusiastic and academically demanding staff.
Participation in our enrichment activities and Gifted and Talented programme allows even the youngest pupil to develop the kind of intellectual curiosity that is a prerequisite. For older pupils in Year 11, a trip to Cambridge University in the Autumn Term encourages them to clarify their ambitions. In the Spring Term, we host a seminar led by an admissions adviser from our link college, Trinity College Oxford, detailing the application process in a helpful step-by-step manner. Trinity College also offer our students overnight accommodation for Oxford University open days in the Summer Term. Applicants are encouraged to attend subject-specific masterclasses and summer schools. For Cambridge University, our link college is Kings, which also offers a range of facilities and opportunities for Teesside High School pupils.
The crucial thing for potential applicants for Oxford and Cambridge is that their respective colleges can recognise their potential, so rigorous mock interviews are arranged with visiting academics. Our knowledgeable advisers have up-to-date information on all aspects of the applications process, and teachers are happy to give additional coaching for subjects like Maths and languages where further tests have to be undertaken. The pay-off is that to an Oxbridge applicant, who has pushed themselves and been encouraged to think well beyond the bounds of the Sixth Form syllabus, A Levels can actually seem something of a relief!