Harrogate Grammar School recently hosted its fifth Oxbridge Conference, with schools coming from across the region to take part in this highly beneficial event. The schools that attended included Gosforth Academy, Malton School, Ilkley Grammar School, Rossett School, Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Pudsey Grangefield School, Roundhay School and Whitley Bay High School.
The application process for Oxbridge consists of an online submission followed by standardised tests and lastly a rigorous interview that both the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford are renowned for. Most students will have had little interview experience so a one-to-one intense subject-based consultation with an academic can be quite a daunting experience. The aim of the conference is to prepare students specifically for the formal interviews as well as giving them the opportunity to meet other young people hoping to go through the same application process.
Students take part in a practice interview with a subject specialist drawn from teachers from across the Red Kite Alliance schools and other schools that attended. The students have not met the teacher/interviewer prior to the conference so it helps replicate the Oxbridge interview.
Associate Headteacher, Neil Renton, commented:
Seeing 90 students come together from across the region to gain valuable interview experience was incredibly rewarding and will hopefully give students a competitive advantage.
Achele Agada, a year 13 student, said:
The Oxbridge conference was extremely useful in preparing me for interview at Oxford. Initially we were put in groups with strangers, where we held student-led, open discussions about various philosophical questions, such as; ‘Does a progression towards a perfect, automated world go against human nature?’, and were encouraged to debate all sides of the argument.
My favourite part of the conference was the panel interview, designed to imitate an actual Oxford medical interview, where I was challenged by academic conversations that made me consider my views. I had to develop my ideas when put on the spot.
The conference helped to build my confidence for interviews in the future, and the feedback from the interviewers helped highlight areas for me to improve on.