Enlightening University Information Evening

On 13th September, St Mary’s was delighted to welcome a panel of six Admissions and Student Recruitment Officers from Cardiff University, University of East Anglia, King’s College London, Lancaster University, Oxford Brookes University and the University of Reading, to talk about their universities as well as a whole host of other related topics.

We were also delighted to welcome back five Calne Old Girls, all currently studying at university – Emily Clarke (Chemical Engineering, Loughborough), Sophie Nye (History, Oxford), Leo Pearce (Psychology, Durham), Sophie Soar (English Literature, Manchester), and Zoe Spicer (Zoology, Bristol) to share their experiences of life at university so far.

The evening began with a meet and greet where the girls chatted informally to our guests and ‘broke the ice’ in preparation for the main event. The evening was formally opened by our Director of Higher Education and Professional Guidance, Mr Philip Jones, who welcomed the guests as well as the audience (made up of Sixth Form girls and attendees from Abbeyfield School) and spoke entertainingly about the importance of gaining a Degree and the added value of attending university.

There then followed a session in which each of our university guests spoke for ten minutes to introduce their institutions and to give girls a flavour of them in terms of their facilities, locations, opportunities and faculties. What became apparent at the end of this was that although most universities are able to offer many things that are very similar, they also have very different provisions on offer too – research into courses and institutions is therefore vital!

Next there was a question and answer session with the universities on topics such as ‘to defer or not to defer’, ‘the importance of getting your Insurance Offer right’ and ‘how useful is a Personal Statement in selecting students? There was also some very useful advice regarding the growing importance of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which our guests felt could make the difference between applications; developed independent learning and research skills and provided an opportunity for potential students to demonstrate their passion for their chosen subjects. The discussion of these topics was lively and very informative, giving our girls a very valuable insight into the thinking of university admissions departments.

After this there was a very welcome break on what was a stiflingly hot evening and this was then followed by an incredibly enjoyable and interesting Q&A with the Old Girls, hosted by Miss Aherne, Head of Sixth Form. The Old Girls gave some hugely interesting, valid and sagacious responses to a whole range of questions on student life, the admissions process, Gap Years, Personal Statements and the range of opportunities available, as well as the importance and value of undertaking work experience at university. The girls were left with a wealth of information arising from this and everyone was deeply impressed by the Old Girls – a real credit to their Alma Mater!!

Finally, Mr Jones thanked the guests and the girls for a memorable (if hot!!) evening and well deserved gifts were distributed to all of our speakers.

Philip Jones, Director of Higher Education and Professional Guidance