Downing College welcomes students to 15th Annual South West Open Day

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Fifty students from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset have been enjoying a taste of Cambridge life thanks to Downing College’s 15th Annual South West Open Day.

I had a lot of misconceptions, that I’d have a scary interview in a place full of scary people – but everyone is really very nice. Those stereotypes just aren’t true.

Olivia Crook, Open Day participant from Wadebridge

This year the programme included the opportunity to meet with some of Downing’s Directors of Studies.

At Cambridge, Directors of Studies are responsible for advising students on their studies and overseeing their academic development.  Being able to meet with them gave students an insight into the specifics of the course they were interested in at Cambridge and the chance to have their course questions answered in detail by the experts.

Adam Dudart-Aberdeen came from Truro to find out more about studying English at Cambridge.

“I wanted to get a proper grip on what Cambridge is like, and to find out more about the course,” he said. He was relieved to find that Cambridge was not dominated by the “posh.”

“I’ve found nice normal people here,” Adam said. “It was also a real help to chat to the Director of Studies for English – I’ve found out how the course works, and how much choice you’ve got over its content.”

As well as meeting the academics, current Downing undergraduates were on hand to answer questions about student life, including Downing’s famous free doughnuts and the benefits of its central location.

Physics student William Benfold said “I’m from a state school in Saffron Walden. I volunteered to help show that Cambridge students aren’t terrifying - real people do go to Cambridge!

“I picked Downing because it’s central, it’s close to my lectures and you can play football and Frisbee on the paddock. It’s got a good social side.”

Dorset student Charlotte Cordery plans to study medicine. She was keen to know whether she would fit in at a university like Cambridge.

“I expected Cambridge to be a bit posh and unfriendly, but it was fine,” she said. “I feel like I could fit in, which is what I wanted to find out.

Olivia Crook, from Wadebridge in Cornwall, was looking for help in deciding where to apply to study Geography.

“I didn’t consider Cambridge until I heard about the Open Day,” Olivia confessed. “But being here has changed my mind! The course is really good and the library is amazing.

“I had a lot of misconceptions, that I’d have a scary interview in a place full of scary people – but everyone is really very nice.  Those stereotypes just aren’t true.”

Reece McAllister hopes to study engineering. “I live in Redruth, Cornwall.  Without this Open Day I wouldn’t get the chance to visit Cambridge.

“Cambridge is top of my list. Coming here has helped to dispel a few myths and opened my eyes to life around the university. There is actually a social life!”

Sam Turner, Schools Liaison Officer for Downing College and organiser of the Open Day, said: “This year marked the 15th South West Open Day which Downing has hosted, continuing our longstanding relationships with schools and colleges across Cornwall, Devon and Dorset through the University's Area Links Scheme.

“Much of our work throughout the year takes place in the South West, so it was fantastic to be able to welcome students to Cambridge this time.

“The feedback from this year’s event has been really positive – the students particularly appreciated the chance to speak with the Directors of Studies and ask specific questions about the courses they were interested in.”


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