Before the Easter holidays we welcomed back Lauren Burton. Lauren is currently studying her first year of Geography at St Anne’s College, Oxford and she returned to speak to our current students about applying to Oxbridge and life at Oxford University.
She strongly advised attending Open Days – in particular subject-based Open Days – and using them to get a good feel for the university. In relation to Oxford and Cambridge she recommended not focusing too much on the different colleges but to make sure that the course you are applying for really suits you. Lauren had originally applied to study at St Catherine’s College but, through pooling, was invited to interview at St Anne’s. For her Geography course she had to attend two interviews – one focusing on human geography and one on physical geography. Lauren explained that, for her, it was exciting just to be able to talk to experts in the field during the interviews!
Lauren and her A Level geography teacher Mrs Iwanczyk explained a little about how Oxford had treated Lauren’s results. Whilst just missing out on her offer grades due to a lower mark in one particular exam, her overall score for the subject still put her in the A* field she had been aiming for. Mrs Iwanczyk and Mrs Ball (the College’s Gifted and Talented Coordinator) emphasised the point that universities can still offer places to those who miss their offers but who are passionate about their subject.
During the first year at Oxford students are assigned a second year as their ‘mum’ or ‘dad’. During the summer before starting Lauren was contacted by her ‘mum’ which she found very welcoming. With regards to teaching Lauren has to complete an essay each week and receives ten contact hours through a combination of lectures, practicals and tutorials. “Tutorials are part of a key learning process for me. You get questioned so much but it helps me to see things in a different way and learn differently. You really get to shape your own learning.”