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Walthamstow School for Girls

Year 11 Trip to the University of Cambridge

Ex student hosts at Gonville & Caius College

A group of Year 11 students had the opportunity to spend the day at Gonville & Caius College.  It was particularly inspirational as ex- WSFG student, Sarah Cooper-Lessad is currently in her final year there and showed us around.

Here is some feedback from the students who attended:

In the midst of exam preparation and control assessments, I was beginning to feel the extremes of stress and anxiety known all too well for a year 11 student.  Despite the constant stream of college interviews and exams, I started to lose sight of what I was working so hard for: Although I knew I wanted to go to university, the options of where and what to study seemed endless and terribly daunting.  However, this trip to Cambridge allowed me to find a solid aim and anchor.  Which is why I think this was an absolutely brilliant opportunity. 
One of the most crucial things I had learnt on this trip was that Oxbridge isn't as exclusive as I had originally believed it would be.  As an oriental girl attending an all-girls state school, I am far from the stereotypical privileged privately-educated white candidate for these top universities.  Attending Cambridge was nothing more than a dream.  Although, as we carried on with the day I began to realise that studying at one of the best university in the world, was in fact within my reach.
As a past WSFG student was studying at Cambridge during the visit, I was able to see myself in her place.  To have someone come through this very school and end up in a globally-recognised university was simple inspiring!  Despite not achieving a full string of A*, she was able to work extremely hard during A-Levels and achieve the results to earn a place at Cambridge: An almost impossible task that she had made possible.
After being given basic background information of the University and a great tour that had been led by current student ambassadors, my mind was now set on joining them in the very college that Stephen Hawking had taught in.  As a year 11 student studying at WSFG, I can now confidently say that I, Lilian Ngo, will try my absolute best to attend Gonville and Caius College in the University of Cambridge and become part of the academic community of the world.
Lilian 11S

The whole university was such an inspiring place to be.  I personally thought that the students would be quite snobby and intellectual.  However all that we met were friendly, welcoming, charismatic and humble.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the students there come from such diverse backgrounds and ethnicities.
To be honest, before I visited Cambridge University, I had never thought it was possible that I would be able to attend such a reputable place.  However, after meeting an ex-student from WSFG who is actually there, I started to believe in myself more.  To study at Cambridge is now one of my main ambitions.
Zahra 11G

Before the trip I had always thought that Cambridge would not be accessible to me and that it was for certain types of people.  My views were proved wrong as there were people there from many different backgrounds, comprehensive and private schools.  It has motivated me to work harder and to aim higher in my studies.  I found it very inspiring to hear from different students about the great experience that they are having there.  I am definitely going to apply to study economics.
Khadija 11H

I enjoyed learning about student life, experiencing a lecture, seeing student accommodation and meeting students.  Knowing that Stephen Hawking is there was really inspiring.  I was amazed by the calibre of the professors.  I am definitely interested to apply in the future.
Atinuke 11F

I learnt not only about the structure and history of Cambridge but also about the type of person it takes to achieve a place there.  Personality, self-esteem and confidence are just as important as intellect.  The thing I found the most inspiring is that an ex-student from WSFG showed us round.  My eyes were opened to the stereotypes surrounding Oxbridge and I am now definitely going to apply.
Kate 11C

I learnt a lot about the history of the university and the traditions that go on.  We also learnt about the interview process and about what the university looks for in a student.  It is good to know that they consider contextual data as well as actual grades.
It was very inspiring to talk to students and hear about all of the great things that they are doing with their time at Cambridge.
Before this trip, I hadn’t considered Oxbridge as viable option for me.  It seemed like an unattainable prospect that I wasn’t good enough for.  I now know that it is now a very realistic option and something that I am aiming for.
Emine 11S

I learnt that there are 29 different colleges at Cambridge, lots of information about student life and met an ex-WSFG student who is there now.  The day gave me a greater insight into life as a student at Cambridge and I will be applying.
Sara 11F

I learnt about the way the university works, which was really interesting.  I also learnt about the importance of independent revision and developing those skills from now.  I will be applying in the future.
Ameeera 11H

I am definitely considering to apply for Cambridge after this visit.  Prior to the trip, I had assumed that Cambridge may not be able to cater for students like me but now I know that it most certainly is.  The whole experience was more than welcoming and a huge inspiration.
Hamnah 11S

I learnt that even though you may not have many lectures, you still have to study a lot in your free time.  It was really inspiring to find that if you don’t go to a private school and if you don’t get the best GCSE grades, you can still get in.  I will be applying.
Dinusha 11F

The trip to Cambridge University was a truly amazing opportunity and made me believe that it is possible for me to study there in the future.  I met many new and interesting people, learnt about the course that I wish to study and about university life.  I absolutely loved the experience and hope that this will be continued in future years.  It was an amazing opportunity.
Ola 11G

For further enriching educational opportunities, please see the daily bulletin and Greensheet.  Meanwhile, to enhance your chances of standing out from the crowd at college/university interviews, believe in yourself, work hard and start watching TED talks.

Ms Robinson
Challenge Coordinator