Local learners among Oxbridge recruits

Three talented Coleg y Cymoedd A-Level learners have been successful in securing offers from two of Britain’s most prestigious universities.

Carys Lewis has received an offer to read Chemistry at the University of Oxford (Exeter College), Jacob Jones for Physics at the University of Oxford (Jesus College), and Luc Jones for Computer Science at the University of Cambridge (Wolfson College).

Both Carys and Jacob, from Pontypridd, are part of the Seren Programme at Coleg y Cymoedd which supports learners with applications to competitive universities such as Oxbridge, Russell Group universities and medical schools.

Commenting on an Oxbridge-style interview practice organised by Coleg y Cymoedd and Seren, Carys said: “the interview is the most daunting part of the Oxbridge admissions process, so the coaching I received from a subject expert in the types of questions I could expect to be asked and how to approach them really helped me feel properly prepared.”

The Seren Programme and Cymoedd A-Level staff have introduced learners to widening-access schemes that prioritise high-achieving learners from state schools, encouraging them to apply for top universities.

In July 2022, Jacob was one of three Cymoedd learners who were successful in obtaining a place on a week-long fully-funded Summer School at the University of Oxford. The ‘UNIQ’ programme gave Jacob a valuable insight into life at Oxford University and led to him making his application last September.

Similarly, Luc was able to join the University of Cambridge’s pioneering programme, ‘STEM SMART’, which launched in September 2021. STEM SMART allowed Luc the opportunity of weekly online supervisions with leading Cambridge academic experts in their field and assigned him a student mentor. Speaking of the opportunity, Luc said: “STEM SMART has been very helpful for me. The tutorials have given me a more in-depth understanding of key topics, and have revisited areas that I had gaps in.”

Receiving conditional offers to begin their studies in September, the students have proved themselves to rank at the very top of the 2023 cohort. Just 17% of Oxbridge applicants are offered a place following a notoriously rigorous application process.

The offers represent an even greater success as their chosen courses fall into the UK’s high-value STEM category (subjects including Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Quality candidates for STEM subjects are most in demand for the positive impact they have on society and the economy.

Congratulating the learners, Director of A-Levels, Ian Rees, said: “We are delighted by the success of Carys, Jacob and Luc. It’s a testament to their dedication to their studies and the excellent teaching support provided by our staff.

Our A-Level staff – in particular, Holly Richards, our MAT co-ordinator – have done a fantastic job supporting these learners through the extremely challenging Oxbridge application, aptitude test and interview process.

Myself and Dean Howells, Head of School for A-Levels, are extremely proud of all our learners who are pursuing their study and career goals. This significant achievement goes to show that learners who choose to study with Coleg y Cymoedd really do go further.”

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