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Invicta Goes To Oxford

On Friday 8th July a group of Invicta students were invited to visit Oxford University as part of New College's Step-Up Programme. Their website describes the programme thus: "New College's Step-Up Programme is designed to inspire and support state-school students throughout Year 11, 12 and 13.

It attempts to ensure that students recognise Oxford as a realistic and achievable option for them in the future, and are fully equipped and supported to make a competitive application."

Invicta is the first online school to have been invited and we were thrilled to be able to offer our students such an exciting opportunity. The day was organised by Invicta and Mr Nathan Stazicker (Hertford College's Outreach Communication Officer) as an attempt to 'demystify' Oxford and the application process.

Work started on the train before the students even arrived. They were all given a TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment) to try, these are one of the assessments that applicants to the university are required to take. On arrival at Hertford College the students were introduced to a whole new 'university' vocabulary learning the definitions of words such as internship, UCAS, extra-curricular and even super-curricular activities. There followed an introductory talk explaining Oxford's entry requirements, how to apply and what they are looking for (academic ability and potential; independent learners who go above and beyond the curriculum and interest and enthusiasm for your subject - in case you were wondering!). Students and parents were given the opportunity to ask questions to really familiarise themselves with the process.

Lunch was a scene out of Hogwarts in the impressive dining hall followed by a tour of the college, library, chapel and grounds.

In the afternoon there was an academic taster session where the students really learnt what it feels like to study at Oxford.

It was a wonderfully inspiring day but the most important thing was that it showed the students that Oxford, and indeed any university, is as achievable for them as for anyone else. For many the perception is that Oxford is as unattainable as Hogwarts! Of course, it takes hard work and real commitment but the lesson learnt on our visit was that, for those who want to go to university, it's definitely worth the effort. University provides a wealth of opportunities both in your studies and outside the lecture hall. It's a time to expand your horizons, to push yourself, to make new friends and to grow as a person. So, if you think it might be for you, our best advice is to work hard and get busy with those super-curriculars! They are what will set you apart from the pack.


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