Upper Sixth student James Casemore describes in his own words how hard work and dedication have secured a place at Yale.
"From secondary school I was set on attending an elite university – at the time my scope was limited to the traditional route of Oxford and Cambridge with the intention to study law. However, as I became more heavily involved with the rowing scene I began to appreciate the opportunities available for high level athletes at universities in the USA. After being scouted by a GB Rowing coach at an event, I worked with him to initially establish contact with the lightweight rowing coach at Princeton University and from that point I began to undergo my journey towards studying in the USA. Having chosen to study English, History, Philosophy and Maths (all as 2 year courses) during my time at college I had put myself in a good position for the SAT entrance exam required for American University admission which involved English language, literature and mathematics all as multiple choice questions. The Universities marked my academic achievement upon a High School Transcript comprised of my GCSE results, predicted A Level results and the aforementioned SAT in which I scored in the 99th percentile which meant I had the realistic chance of attending any University in the USA but I was naturally drawn to the Ivy League.
From that point I attempted to branch out from Princeton and explore opportunities at other American Universities such as Yale and Harvard. My preference was certainly Yale on account of their amazing rowing results and reputation in the business world. Furthermore, it is smaller than Harvard with a much greater focus on undergraduate study. With a set of good rowing results achieved over summer 2019 such as competing in Henley Royal Regatta and two silver medals at the British Championships I was able to get a foot in the door with the Lightweight Rowing coach at Yale who promptly Skyped me and arranged flights for me to explore Yale on an ‘official visit’. This is unlike anything we have in the UK; it is a 48 hour period for potential athletic recruits to stay with their future teammates, attended classes as a student and watch training sessions of the team they want to be involved in all funded entirely by the university. As such I was flown over on an all-expenses paid trip to New Haven, Connecticut to visit the university along with 5 others (4 Americans and 1 Canadian). During the visit I sat down with the coach to express my desire to join Yale and he very much shared the sentiment that I should be at Yale in the class of 2024. Once the official visits finished (they host potential recruits every weekend for 5 weeks) the coaches were very keen to get my formal application in and finances arranged. The main issue was my inability to secure a student loan: as I was English the US government wouldn’t support me and as I was studying in America the UK government won’t offer a student loan and so I had a great deal of support from the financial aid department at Yale who were concerned, along with the coaches, that I’d pursue my application at Cambridge on the grounds of finances. As such we came to an arrangement in which they have now made study at Yale cheaper than it would be at Cambridge. I have now been officially welcomed into the Yale class of 2024. Through my connections as an athletic recruit I found this out before normal students who would find out from the university on the 16th December whereas I found out the admissions decision in November through the coaches. My offer mainly stemmed from my rowing success however my predicted grades and other academic achievements certainly helped. As there are no minimum grade requirements at US Colleges they are keen to bring the best athletes internationally to study with them as the emphasis on varsity sport is so high. I am currently unsure what I will study as I have until the end of the second year to decide what I wish to study as is the case in the American University system – you apply for a place at the college, not a course – however I think I’ll choose a major focus in an area such as economics as it my intention to work on Wall Street post graduating.
I am currently involved in the GB Junior Rowing trials system with the goal of representing GB as a junior this summer. Balancing daily training and 4 A-Levels is certainly challenging but it is important for me to remember that there is no such thing as a lack of time, it’s all a matter of priorities and my priorities clearly lie within rowing and college work so I have rarely struggled with time management."