Determined college learner bags place at Cambridge after resitting exams and switching courses to get to his dream
An inspiring college learner who was determined to get into one of the UK’s top universities is celebrating getting his place at Cambridge after spending the last four years resitting exams and changing courses to get to where he is today.
22-year-old Coleg y Cymoedd learner Luc Jones, from Quakers Yard, has worked hard over the last few years resitting GCSEs due to prolonged ill health and spending extra time in college to enable him to switch from a BTEC to maths and science A levels so that he could get into his dream university.
That decision has now paid off as, with three A*s in maths, further maths and physics under his belt, Luc is now looking forward to starting a degree in computer science at the University of Cambridge this September.
Whilst studying a BTEC in sport at Coleg y Cymoedd, Luc realised that his passions lay in all things problem solving. The college allowed him to revisit his options, prompting him to re-sit his English and maths GCSEs, as well as take up a physics GCSE from scratch, to be able to study maths and physics A levels. With a renewed academic drive, Luc was adamant he wanted to go to one of the top universities in the UK. Putting his head down to get the best grades he could, Luc also applied to extra-curricular opportunities to boost his personal statement.
Last summer, he was accepted on to the University of Cambridge’s STEM Smart (Subject Mastery and Attainment Raising Tuition) summer school, a free four-day residential programme that dives into STEM subjects like maths, engineering, physical and biological sciences in more detail to help develop learners’ confidence to apply for these subjects at university.
The experience left Luc with his heart set on going to Cambridge. He said: “During the summer school, I just fell in love with Cambridge, both with the city the university. I knew from that moment that I wanted to study my degree there. Maths and sciences aren’t generally the most popular subjects in school, so it was great to be surrounded by people who had the same passions as me. I can’t wait to be around likeminded people for the next three years.
“I am so glad that I went ahead with switching my qualifications 2 years ago. While I had a great first year in college and I loved the sport BTEC, as the year went on, I realised it wasn’t the right path for me. I was a bit hesitant about changing courses at that stage, but my college and tutors were really accommodating and made my transition to A levels as an older learner really seamless – it was the best decision I made.”
Listening to a talk run by Google’s DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis about the global future of AI sparked Luc’s interest in computer science and inspired him to apply for the subject at university, including at Cambridge.
As the top-ranking university in the UK to study computer science, which is also the Russell Group university’s most competitive undergraduate course, Luc felt that studying there was meant to be after his summer school experience.
Luc added: “I had a tough decision choosing whether to study maths, physics or computer science at university because they’re all problem-solving subjects, which I love, but I think the future is very much going to be led by computer science and AI. I want the challenge and excitement of being a part of that. Computer science is also such a broad field with endless options for what you can specialise in, which I find really exciting.
“I’m not quite sure what I’ll specialise in at the moment, but I don’t think I need to know that yet – that’s the point of university. I’ve just been accepted into one of the best universities in the world, so I think I’m definitely on the right path. It’s an amazing feeling!”
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Heol y Coleg
Rhondda Cynon Taff