Nine of our 'lucky 13'
a record number of Oxbridge interviews for Woodhouse College, thirteen students
secured offers this week to Oxford and Cambridge.
Principal John Rubinstein said "We are delighted this year to have 13
offers, and that these involve students from across
We have a lot of ambitious high-flyers at Woodhouse, and they
don’t always come from comfortable, privileged backgrounds, so it is a great
joy for us to help them achieve the best they can.
We are grateful to our governors and
our alumni for their support in helping prepare students for the rigours of the
Oxbridge interview; we are lucky to be part of an extended Woodhouse family
that rallies round to help.
Having ex-students, now at top universities
including Oxford and Cambridge, come back to encourage our students and give
mock interviews is a fantastic resource.
We are also grateful to Pentland
Brands for their support with our Oxbridge hopefuls.
Now the journey starts again, and we
are targeting even more success next year; we are working towards 20 Oxbridge
offers in 12 months' time."
We spoke to some of Oxbridge offerees this week to find out what their offer means to them.
17 from Friern
Barnet has an A*AA offer to study English at
Corpus Christi, Cambridge.
"I am absolutely overjoyed about
getting an offer. I love English so much, and the thought of being able to
study it at Cambridge taught by some of the best experts in the world is
awe-inspiring. My uncle and grandfather both went to Queens College Oxford so I
am awaiting disownment for treachery!
I'm also really happy about getting an
offer because my mum always spoke about how she couldn't wait for me to go to
uni, and that she really hoped I get into Oxbridge. She died a few years ago,
so I'm happy that I did what she would have wanted me to and would have been
proud. The rest of my family are also really happy, my grandpa started crying
and was telling a picture of my mum on the wall the good news - so it's been
quite emotional getting this offer. Now to get the grades!
The application process was incredibly
stressful and there were times when I thought about just withdrawing. There
were so many stages (personal statement, the SAQ, selecting essays to send it,
preparing for interview etc.) However, I felt really supported by the college.
I knew that I could ask for help and they really did a lot for me - lots of
mock interviews asking really challenging and obscure questions. By the time
the real thing came around I felt very prepared."
Sutton, 17 from Tottenham received an A*AA
offer to study Classics at Cambridge.
"I'm pleasantly surprised about my
offer but I feel I deserve to be there, and they see that too, which I'm glad
about. Although, I panicked when I accidentally deleted the e-mail offering me
an interview and I was late for the language session for my second interview -
I may just be a miracle case.
My family moved from the Netherlands
to England when I was five years old. Dutch is my first language, but since my
father is English I have always spoken English. We moved to England for the
education opportunities, and I'm delighted to be able to have the choice to go
to university here, never mind the best university in the world!
My family were extremely shocked and
happy when I got the offer, noting that only about 3 out of 75 students are
admitted to my chosen college in my subject. My sister suggested that there
weren't many classics applicants this year; but at my interview I was told
there was an unusually high number so I'm extremely grateful to be awarded this
As a typically reserved person I had
to develop an outspoken, extraverted persona for interviews. A few people
had concerns over the way I project my answers but my interest in my subject
saved me. I received a lot of support from the college in the application
process, so it all went smoothly. The advice I was given by my classics teacher
was invaluable, and she was willing to help me wherever she could."
Alex Carter-Jones, 18 from
Crouch End received an A*A*A offer to
Engineering at St Peters college Oxford
"I am the first in my family to go to
university and we are all very pleased with the result.
Over the course of my time at
Woodhouse I have developed and changed as I person more than I ever thought was
possible. I had to overcome some of my own personal mistakes and my lifestyle
has benefited and grown as a result of this.
I have not only learnt a lot of
Maths and Physics but also how to better myself as a well rounded, dedicated
individual and am proud of my achievements so far. I hope that I can continue
to do this and enjoy my time at university. I’m not sure what I want to do
after uni but hopefully something that will make a positive impact on society.
I think the application went pretty
smoothly and I feel I was very well prepared for every aspect of the process.
The college, and specifically their links with the prospect programme,
benefited me greatly."
Aine McMenamin, 18 from Finsbury
Park received an A*AA offer to study
Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge.
"Most people in my family have gone to
university, but I’m the first to get an offer from Oxbridge - they are really
proud of me and excited for my future. Obviously getting an offer is just half
of the story, I still have to get really good grades.
I’m really excited to do my degree,
because studying the ancient world is a great way to understand why the modern
world behaves in the way it does - in fact, discussing this with my
interviewers has been my favourite part of applying to Cambridge. I thought the
interview would be daunting and difficult, but it was actually really fun
talking to other people that are passionate about classics.
The college has been so supportive and
nurturing. My Classics teacher offered Latin lessons at lunchtime so that we
could see what studying Classics at university would be like, and mock
interviews really helped my confidence."
Lara Robertsdottir Andrews, 17 from Enfield received an A*AA offer to study
Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge.
"I'm not sure what I'll do after my degree, possibly a conversion course into law, or teaching. The application process was quite stressful, with this being the first year of entrance exams, but the college offered me lots of help with the process, as well as my subject teachers and a charity that the school works with."
from Tottenham, received an AAA offer to study Law at Oxford
"I feel ecstatic! I love the university, not just for its reputation, but for its atmosphere, its teaching style and, mainly, its Law course. My parents are thrilled for me (I am the first person in my family to go to university) and they have supported me through every step.
The application process was rigorous. So many hurdles: early UCAS deadlines, condensing all you have to say into a personal statement, applying for and tackling admissions tests - through to the interview itself.
The college-arranged sessions, mock interviews and talks were beyond helpful. As well as the support they gave us, the college was integral in keeping us aware of our potential and I think maintaining a positive mentality was key to my success.
After the initial shock, I now feel motivated to meet my offer, and to channel everything into my A level studies. I hope to secure a training contract, and become a solicitor at a commercial law firm after my degree."
Jordan Scammell, 18 from New Southgate has an unconditional offer to study History
at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
"Getting an offer has been surreal. I applied last year to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and was rejected. I’d decided I would go to Bath University, but was so desperate to go to Cambridge that in a last minute decision (just a few days before I was due to start at uni) I withdrew my place at Bath to try again.
I risked a lot as I had absolutely no plans for a gap year and everyone had advised me to just go to Bath and enjoy my experience. I had repeatedly tense conversations where people were asking why I was risking a lot on a very slim chance, but it paid off!
After a rejection I didn't feel confident that I'd get it a second time round so getting an offer has been a real shock. My family are hugely proud that I persevered, neither of my parents have been to uni, I'm the first in my family!
After uni I'd like to look into a career in politics, particularly in international affairs. But I really hope to continue studying first, perhaps a postgrad in law. During my gap year I have been elected as the Labour Party Secretary of the constituency of Chipping Barnet, am teaching myself Russian (attempting to, at least), doing a bit of travelling and working in a cafe.
The application process was of course very intense, but Woodhouse provides a lot of support and encouragement which really boosted my confidence when I went for my interview. I would advise anyone that is set on a uni to persevere and not regret the 'what if' because if you want it badly enough, it might just go in your favour!"
Amy Brese, 18 from Enfield has an unconditional offer to study Philosophy at Cambridge.
"It feels so surreal yet exciting! It's such a good feeling to know that the hard work has paid off. My family have been my number one support system. They were so happy about the news that I am convinced that the whole of Ghana (the home to my extended family) knew seconds after I did!
The support I've been given at woodhouse has been absolutely incredible! Staff really invest in their students and are so committed to helping us get the best out of ourselves.
I am currently working for the Civil Service in Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in my gap year. I joined at a really exciting and important time since Universal Credit is being launched into both live and full service, so a lot is changing. I entered with a very simplistic view of what DWP do, and each day, I learn that in the real world implementing policies is never that simple! It's been a real learning curve but I am really enjoying it!"
Catherine Passmore, 19 from Enfield has an unconditional offer to study English at Oxford.
"I feel amazed and very lucky! Also very surprised. It means a lot, especially as I took a year out just to apply, I’m a gap year applicant. I haven't given my future career any serious thought yet, but I suppose I could copy my parents and go into journalism - my mum also did English at Oxford!
I found the application process easy thanks to the help Woodhouse College offered. It's been great to feel so supported. I would recommend Woodhouse to anyone — it's an amazing place to do A levels!"