A Level students from West Nottinghamshire College have completed a specialist university programme to highlight their brilliance and confidence to apply to select universities.
Evan Betts, Alice Braben, Luke Dench-Smith, Natasha Jones, Emily Poyser and Charlie Young have all been involved in The Brilliant Club – an award-winning university access charity that works with schools and universities across the UK.
It helps to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities, by getting the PhD community to share its academic expertise with schools and colleges.
The six have been taking part in a six-week scholars programme at the University of Sheffield with PhD tutor Ali Flint, who was specially placed in one of the doctoral and post-doctoral research roles to deliver this university-style set of tutorials, based on her research.
Ali set the group weekly reading and writing assignments throughout the six weeks which ended with an extended assignment. The tutorials and assignments were based around ‘What can letter writing tell us about life in the Nineteenth Century?’
The students were then graded on their research and findings in traditional university-style. Five of the group achieved a 2:1 which shows a good standard of performance at undergraduate level, while another achieved a 2:2, which revealed they’re performing to an excellent standard at A Level.
On Thursday (24 May) the group took part in a formal graduation ceremony to celebrate the end of their six-week study programme. They joined students from other colleges and schools in the East Midlands, who had all taken part in the programme, which was followed by a tour of the university and a reflective session designed by The Brilliant Club.
Natasha Jones said: “It was hard work, there’s no doubt about it. An essay of 2,500 words isn’t something I’m used to, especially with a topic that was so new to me.
“The programme was interesting and it broadened my knowledge of different aspects of previous eras and how we could compare it to what it’s like today.
“It changed the way I thought about my future. I’ve always loved history, not only taking it at A Level but to also writing this essay made me realise I had to take it further, and now I want to study archaeology and history at university.”
Academic studies curriculum manager, Matt Ridgill, said: “This project was a great success and it allowed our first year A Level students the opportunity to participate in university-standard assignments.
“We’re very proud how well they engaged in this innovative initiative and I hope that the success they’ve had on the programme will raise their aspirations and motivate them to gain places at the best universities in the country.”