Teachers and HE advisers from across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough stepped into the role of Admissions Tutor last week, reviewing real, anonymised, Cambridge application forms. Faced with three high-achieving students, they were asked: what would you decide?
The advice from Caroline and Laura was clear, informative and incisive. It is very clear what is being looked for by Cambridge.
Kate Griggs, Head of 6th Form at Arthur Mellows Village College, Peterborough
Although the session used real application forms, all information which could have identified the school or the candidate had been removed to protect privacy.
The session was part of a Teachers’ Roadshow organised by Pembroke and St Catharine’s Colleges and hosted by The King’s School, Peterborough.
“Suddenly this is so much more impressive,” commented one of the teachers, reaching the school reference for a candidate who had achieved over 95% in their AS modules – at an inner city school with a very high proportion of pupils with SEN, and from a family with no tradition of higher education.
“We have found that one of the most effective ways of demonstrating what we are looking for in an application is to show teachers the same evidence that we see,” explains Dr Caroline Burt, Admissions Tutor for Pembroke College.
“We find this particularly brings home the importance of the school reference,” Caroline added. “This is the school’s chance to place the achievements of each applicant in context, and it’s information we will come back to if an applicant under-performs at interview compared to their exam results.”
The Teachers’ Roadshow has been developed to give local teachers the most up-to-date information on what Cambridge can offer their students, the Cambridge admissions process, course choice and career prospects. Advice is also given on how to support able students in studying outside the confines of the formal syllabus. Roadshows also allow plenty of time for conversation and questions.
Kate Griggs, Head of 6th Form at Arthur Mellows Village College, Peterborough, said “It’s so important to be able to give correct guidance on the application process.
“The advice from Caroline and Laura was clear, informative and incisive. It is very clear what is being looked for by Cambridge.
“I can take this information back and use it for all our university applicants – we aim for the top.”
The Roadshow was co-ordinated by Laura McGarty, Schools Liaison Officer for Pembroke and St Catharine’s Colleges, and Merrina Wilson, UCAS Co-Ordinator at The Kings School.
“I’m passionate about making sure our students have all the information they need to make their applications,” said Merrina. “But I’m also working to raise aspirations across Peterborough as well.”
“Teachers and advisers are such important allies for us in ensuring that prospective students receive all the support and encouragement they might need to make informed decisions and strong applications,” added Laura.
“Events like this give us the opportunity to equip participants with information and resources which they can take back to their colleagues and students, but we also want to get the message across that all teachers and advisers are welcome to contact us at any time for advice about supporting applicants to Cambridge – no enquiry is too big or too small.”
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