The Excellence Academy is a dedicated tutorial system for Gifted and Able students – those students with an average GCSE score of 6.8 or above. This tutorial system is led by specialist tutors and is designed specifically to develop, engage and support this group of learners in their applications to the Russel Group of Universities (a group of 24 leading universities in the UK), as well as to Oxbridge.
Entry to these elite universities can be highly competitive and students need the correct advice and support when it comes to preparing their applications to them. Obviously, exam results are vitally important, but they are only one of several factors the top universities will take into account when they consider student applications.
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 elite 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.
What often sets elite 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.
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 MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) linked to your chosen course.
Lastly, a number of elite 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.
The Excellence Academy programme for the Gifted and Able students will include:
- Motivational speaker programme
- Discussions on current affairs
- University visits
- Support for UCAS application and personal statement writing
- Workshops on how to be a high achieving student
- Interview preparation and training
- Work experience
- Extended Project Qualification
- Talks from previous Gifted and Able students
- MOOC support