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Campus tours and taster courses are crucial tools for Sixth Form students contemplating which university to attend. For Year 12 student Anika, attending a Cambridge University residential event provided her with an opportunity to sample university life, meet staff and students and gain an insight into the Oxbridge admissions process.

“At the start of July I had the fantastic opportunity to visit Magdalene, pronounced ‘Mordelyn’ College, at Cambridge University to get a taste of what studying there would be like. 

We were able to attend lectures and seminars on subjects of our interest which were mainly sciences or humanities based. The lecturers we were interacting with were extremely enthusiastic about their subject. In the first lecture I attended about Neuroscience and how to define ‘consciousness’, I was able to ‘safely’ electrocute the lecturer who had attached the electrode to her ulnar nerve to see how her hand would twitch due to the conductive nature of our nervous tissue. As I increased the frequency of the current her hand would twitch faster, it was fascinating to see the ‘real’ science and its practical effects right in front of me and to be in control of the experiment. We were also able to see the brain waves and activity of a fellow student by attaching electrodes to his head and how his brain wave activity would change depending on the activities we got him to do, like counting backwards from 100.

As well as gaining a first-hand insight into what university life would be like, including staying in halls and attending seminars, we also had an opportunity to view the university’s different colleges whilst taking a tour Cambridge. We also had a chance to go Punting, which was a very enjoyable experience.

On our second day, we received some very important information regarding the university’s admissions process and were able to speak to an admissions tutor of the college, Dr. Emily So. One of the aspects of the residential I found most interesting was the discussion about the interview process for Oxbridge. The speakers dispelled some of the common myths of these interviews and informed us about what they are looking for in candidates which is ‘teach-ability’ and the ability to ‘think out loud’.

We were also able to visit Peterhouse College, the oldest Cambridge college. Speaking to current Cambridge undergraduates we heard about the social side of the university, such as how the societies and student unions work.

I found the trip extremely useful as I learnt more about the admissions process for competitive universities, student finance and got a taste of what university learning is like.

I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and hope that Blue Coat students will continue to take part in this wonderful programme.”


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