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Aiming High at Godalming College

In 2015 63 students at Godalming College took part in the Aim High programme, which introduces high achieving students to the entry requirements of Oxford and Cambridge universities or specialist courses such as Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine or other prestigious courses. These specialist universities or courses have very competitive tests and interviews and commonly only a small number of those applying will successfully get an offer of a place.

Each year students are prepared for this tough process by extending their knowledge beyond that of A levels, through qualifications such as the Extended Project Qualification, debating, conferences and challenge opportunities such as the Science and Maths Olympiads. Each year many able students take part in Chemistry, Biology and Maths Olympiads and in recent years students have competed internationally, in a small team representing Great Britain. Teams of students also take part in debating competitions again with recent successes in the very competitive Oxford Union Debate.
2015 has been a very successful year for students who have been included in the Aim High programme with a specific interest in the medical world. Seventeen students received offers in 2015, three students took their places for Veterinary Medicine: Gracie Rudman at Surrey, Sophie Evans at Nottingham and Emily Collings-Wingate at Surrey: nine students took their place to study Medicine including Oscar Hardy at Southampton, Liam Cole at Brighton and Sussex, Alexander Thomas at Oxford, Holly Edwards at Cardiff, Kristina Grundy at Manchester, James Sandell at Newcastle, Bethany Clarke at Exeter, Oliver Brown at Aberdeen, Fatima Hamid Rashid at Imperial and budding Dentist Bianca Coveva went to Newcastle. Two potential Vets changed their minds, one deciding to take a gap year and the other to study Biology at Sheffield instead, two potential doctors changed their minds, Faye Hammond decided that Chemical Engineering in Sheffield was for her and Scott Sussex who had offers from Birmingham, UCL and Cambridge to do medicine decided that his sponsored place at Harvard was too good an opportunity to miss.

This group of able science students was tutored by Head of Chemistry, Fiona Kennard who prepared them well. The aim of this preparation is for students to gain confidence and be exposed to different kinds of thinking in their field of study. It also includes training on the very daunting multiple mini interview where university applicants are subjected to a carousel of interviews throughout the day all with a different focus on their abilities or studies. A mock interview practice day will be held on the 12th November at Godalming College when Prof M Platt from UEA and Local GP Dr E Humphrys will be joining senior college staff to put next year’s hopefuls through their paces.

Fiona Kennard says of last year students “We are tremendously proud of our students, they have all worked extremely hard and thoroughly deserve their places for Veterinary Medicine or Medicine”.

In 2015, 67.4% of Godalming College students applied to go to university. 539 were successfully offered a place, over 35% of these were placed at Russell Group Universities. Other destinations include Art Foundation courses, Drama school, Conservatoire and sponsored degrees, successful students include Emma Dymott who chose Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and Maddy Pickering who went to the Royal College of Music.

The Aim High programme also prepared students for application to Oxford, Cambridge or other Russel Group Universities, this group is led by Oxbridge Coordinator and Sociologist Dave King, who has a great deal of experience of providing Information, Advice and Guidance to very able students. In 2015 eight students successfully went up to Oxford or Cambridge and one student to Havard University in the USA. Oxford students include, Edward O’Neill reading Biological Sciences at St John’s College, India Phillips reading French and Spanish at St Catherine’s, Isobel Hettrick reading Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Somerville College, Alexander Thomas reading Medicine at Queen’s College and William Flourie reading Mathematics at Worcester College. Successful Cambridge entrants include Rebecca Martin reading Human, Social and Political Sciences at Trinity College, Natasha Robinson reading Human, Social and Political Sciences at Robinson College and Robyn Bellinger reading Modern and Medieval Languages at Newnham College. Scott Sussex declined his place at Cambridge to study medicine and instead took his place at Harvard to take a liberal arts degree. These nine students between them achieved 24 A*s and 12 As in their exams.
Dave King, Oxbridge Coordinator says ‘The Aim High programme exists to offer immediate and useful support for students who are applying for competitive universities in their second year with us, primarily for Oxford and Cambridge but also for other elite institutions. It also offers considerable help and support for medical and related degrees. But its primary aim in the first year is to offer support for the aspirations of any student aiming to progress to a demanding university course.

Students who are hoping for an offer of a place on one of these demanding courses in 2016 have already completed their applications, as the early deadline for these courses is 15th October.