Alumnae inspire with their passion for university life!

Sixth Form, Alumnae

I’m sure it left the whole year group inspired and with a buzz of anticipation of life after RHS.”
Eliza, Year 13

Our annual Tips for Oxbridge and Tips for University Forums are now a well-established regular feature in the Year 13 calendar with alumnae greatly enjoying returning to school to share their experiences with those following behind them, as much as the girls at the top of the school enjoy hearing from them.

Last week, our Aspire group again had the opportunity to benefit from the advice and experience of a group of RHS Oxbridge alumnae at the Tips for Oxbridge forum. Designed for those of our Sixth Form applying specifically to Oxford or Cambridge University, the session gives them the chance to speak directly to members of our alumnae who have experience not only of life at Oxbridge but more specifically the application process itself, which differs from that of other universities.

We were delighted to be joined in person by Natasha Reid (RHS 2017, Cambridge - Medicine) and virtually by Steffie Kemp (née James) (RHS 2014, Oxford – English Language and Literature) and Daniela Alvarez Garcia (RHS 2015, Oxford - Philosophy Politics and Economics). Medicine is currently a popular subject and so we were delighted, and very grateful, to also be joined by Irene Mathias, Oxford High alumna and Oxford undergraduate medic who was able to add her own valuable insights to the discussions.

Natasha, Steffie, Dani and Irene all gave their personal insights into the application process, describing their interviews as being akin to a mini tutorial and explaining how these vary from subject to subject. The girls spoke with tremendous enthusiasm but were also very honest in acknowledging that Oxbridge is not for everyone, explaining how they themselves balance their workload alongside the many other opportunities on offer whilst thriving from the challenge! Our students also heard about life at Oxbridge in general, the college system, the huge array of clubs, societies and activities on offer and were reassured that alongside the hard work it is a huge amount of fun!

As an aspiring Oxbridge medic, I found the Tips for Oxbridge session extremely helpful in the midst of my UCAS application. The relaxed setting of the Rebecca Barrell Room encouraged a casual discussion about the application process and extraordinary interview experience with the alumnae. Being able to ask questions of those currently studying Medicine at both Oxford and Cambridge offered a unique insight into the realities of studying at such prestigious institutions. Listening to the students talking specifically about the traditional teaching style offered by Oxbridge, gaining a deep understanding of the science behind Medicine before applying the knowledge later in the clinical years, has re-affirmed by ambition to apply to Oxford later this term.”
Eliza, Year 13

The following afternoon, all of Year 13 had the opportunity to benefit from a real insight into what expect at university when we were joined by alumnae, both in person and online, from a wide range of universities and courses for the Tips for University Forum.

Nicola Cameron (RHS 2018, Nottingham - Architecture), Minnie Karanjavala (RHS 2018, Oxford - Engineering), Bliss Firth (RHS 2019, Institut Francais de la Mode Paris - Fashion Design), Bessie Chung (RHS 2019, University of Fine Arts London - Fine Art) , Maame Asumadu Addo (RHS 2019, Toronto - Global Heath with Immunology and Psychology) and again Natasha Reid (RHS 2017, Cambridge – Medicine) all spoke with passion about their subjects and universities giving practical advice on how to best organise one’s time whilst also settling into a new environment and meeting others. Pack a doorstop and upload a copy of your schedule onto your mobile device were both key takeaways!

With representatives from such a wide range of courses and universities, including two studying abroad, our students were able to learn about the importance of being self-motivated with regards to independent study and the benefits of fully utilising the help on offer from tutors and lecturers. Comparisons were drawn between the structure of sixth form studies and university tutorials, lectures and seminars, as well as living in halls on a university campus versus living in a shared house. Following further discussions about everything from choosing a course and university and the importance of attending open days, to making friends and joining clubs and societies few stones were left unturned leaving our Year 13s ready to return to preparing their UCAS applications with renewed enthusiasm!

I really enjoyed the Tips for Oxbridge and Tips for Uni sessions because they gave me specific advice about applications, interviews and university life from actual students. It was also great because there was a large mix of subject choices and universities, so it was helpful for everyone!”
Daisy, Year 13

It was fantastic to hear how happy and settled our alumnae are at their chosen universities and how much they are enjoying not only their studies but also the other activities and opportunities on offer, despite the challenges of the last couple of years.

We look forward to welcoming back the current Year 13s in a couple of years’ time to pass on their own wisdom to the years below!