1. Wider Reading
Simply following the specification in Years 12 and 13 and doing the minimum your teacher requires really won’t cut it if you have ambitions to apply for the top universities. Your Excellence Academy tutor, and your subject teachers, will encourage you to read widely around your subjects. Reading widely will mean you will have more relevant information to talk about in your personal statement; you will be able to talk more widely about your subject during an interview; and you will also be better prepared for the pace of reading expected at university.
2. Communication Skills
What often sets the top universities apart is that your application may well involve an interview with an admissions tutor, and to be offered a place you will need to perform strongly during that interview. It is helpful to think of these interviews as being like an exam, but out loud. So, part of the Excellence Academy programme will involve activities that will develop your verbal communication skills, your thinking skills, and your interview skills, as well as your confidence in speaking publicly.
3. Extra-curricular Activities
The factor that often sets candidates apart is their genuine enthusiasm and commitment for their subject. The Excellence Academy tutorial programme will help you develop examples that can demonstrate this enthusiasm and commitment. For example, you will be encouraged to complete some work experience in a related field, as well as undertake an extended project (Extended Project Qualification) or a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) linked to your chosen course, and apply for a Summer School or Masterclass/Study Day.
4. University Visits
Making a decision on which university to attend is not an easy one and as part of the tutorial programme you will be encouraged to do plenty of research before you decide on which university will suit you best. The most effective way to do this is in person at one of the university’s open days and as part of the Excellence Academy programme you will be encouraged to attend as many as you can.
5. Aptitude Tests
A number of top universities, such as Oxford, as well as for those applying for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, ask students to take a pre-entry test. Your Excellence Academy tutor will discuss these with you, and clearly outline what the nature of the test is and what will be tested. Specialist support and tutoring will be made available to allow you to show your potential.
6. Oxbridge Programme
If you decide to apply to Oxford or Cambridge, you will have access to an individual guidance programme to prepare you for the more demanding interview and selection process distinctive of these two prestigious universities. Also, as part of the Oxbridge programme, you will be invited to attend a number of trips, including the Cambridge University Residential in February, the North East Oxbridge Conference in March and the Oxford University Open Day in July.
7. Medic, Dentist and Vet Group
Similarly, if you wish to apply for a highly competitive course such as medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, you will be given specific, individual advice, guidance and information,