Victoria’s daughter Sophie with Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley at the Cambridge Society Lecture. An inspirational businesswoman and philanthropist Dame Shirley arrived in Britain as an unaccompanied Kindertransport refugee and vowed she would make her life “one worth saving”. She talked at the lecture about autism and the charities she supports in memory of her son Giles. We felt pretty choked afterwards! A very memorable occasion and a great opportunity for Sophie to broaden her horizons and prepare for the future
Personal Statements – the earlier the better!
We are often asked, ‘when should I start writing my personal statement?’. The answer is definitely NOT in the autumn term of the year of your application – as many students astonishingly still do! We met a teacher last week, at a school well known for its success in sending candidates to Oxbridge, who encouraged his students to start a folder online in Year 9 where they placed anything at all related to their academic and personal interests. It doesn’t matter if you have decided on a definite subject area at this stage. At Prep4 we agree – we tell students it’s never too early to start.
We recommend students to think like an admissions tutor. When they look at your personal statement where do they find the evidence that makes your application sound passionate, properly supported and unique. Applicants for medical and vetinerary degrees may fare better in this respect because they know they must have a track record of work experiences, (not just a day of shadowing a doctor friend of Daddy’s). But when applying for high level courses in other subjects young people may lack appropriate experience to convince the admissions tutors. By all means begin your personal statement strongly stressing your lifelong interest in Ancient History, but……..admissions tutors want to hear about your experience. You tell us you are interested, now we want you to prove it – “Show us the evidence.” It could be a field trip, a holiday, attending a lecture or something you’ve seen in the local paper. If you’ve arranged ancient history seminars in school, or volunteered with the local history society, let them know. We recommend to students applying for highest level course a “Summer Smart” programme.
• Summer – make use of it!
• Move outside the syllabus
• Appropriate experience
• Read – develop yourself as a person
• Think about the world and your place in it