We’re thrilled that Hattie, Laura, Grace, and Lily, from Year 13, have recently been offered places at Oxford and Cambridge University.

Alongside this, we’re proud to say that a number of our Sixth Form students have received exciting and prestigious offers from a number of brilliant Universities. You can read about some of those here.

We recently caught up with our four Oxbridge students to hear more about the application process, finding out about their offers and their hopes for the future.

Read Part 1 of our interview below, with Part 2 to follow in due course. 

Congratulations! Can you share your initial reaction when you found out you had been made an offer of a place?

Hattie: Obviously excitement and a sense of incredulity came first! It still hasn’t sunk in that I’ve been offered a place and I doubt it will until I actually stand in the city!

Photo: Hattie is looking to study History at Oxford.

Laura: I was really happy! The course is fantastic so I was really happy to have been made an offer.

Lily: I was super shocked (and very happy). It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet… especially after such a long and complicated process to get here. I still can’t believe that I have been offered a place!

Grace: I couldn’t quite believe it when I found out. I still can’t! I was so excited!

What inspired you to apply?

Hattie: I first understood the concept of ‘Oxbridge’ when I was in Year 3 and my form tutor was very proud of her son who was going to study at Cambridge. I remember looking it up and just thinking that it would be the most amazing opportunity to study at such a beautiful old university. Obviously at this stage I didn’t quite understand what it meant, but the goal inspired me to develop my passion.

Since I joined RMS, I have been pushed beyond my comfort zone, allowing me to develop my skills and interest even further!

- Hattie, Year 13

I was particularly inspired by the idea that I would be studying History alongside people who love it just as much as me! Additionally, it was too good to pass up the opportunity to achieve a goal that I’d had for almost 11 years!

Laura: I really liked the Cambridge Maths course, as they allow you to take the physics module alongside taking some really fascinating maths modules, so you can keep your options open.

Lily: Potentially applying to Cambridge had been at the back of my mind ever since I began thinking about life after school. 

My teachers were always very supportive, and had encouraged me to consider Oxbridge as a possibility

- Lily, Year 13

As I began studying for my A Levels, I decided that it would be amazing to be able to learn and benefit from those working at the top of their field, and experience university life in such a historically and academically significant environment.

Grace: I was really excited to study my subject at a higher level, so I wanted to go somewhere that had world-leading experts in my subject.

Could you tell us about the application process? Any memorable or challenging moments?

Hattie: The application process was certainly challenging. The sheer amount of work required in advance and the amount of information that the university requests – personal statement, written work, history exam, grades, interview (and that’s only the sections I particularly remember!). The most memorable was certainly my History interview where I had a passionate discussion with the professor about the use of saints as propaganda under the Tudors AND Weimar-era policies towards the queer community! The most challenging was certainly my history exam (HAT) as the source was on skills and characteristics desired in 10th century Irish leaders based on a source from Irish mythology – certainly interesting but challenging to analyse!

Laura: The hardest part of the process is yet to come! Alongside my A levels, I need to sit the STEP examinations, which are two 3 hour papers sat just after A Levels.

Photo: Laura is looking to study Maths and Physics at Cambridge.

Lily: I felt that my interview was the most challenging part of the whole application process, as it turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. I really felt like my academic ability was being tested, but I am proud of myself for completing it successfully, and can reliably say that the experience has taught me a lot about my personal strengths and areas for improvement.

Grace: I found the application process quite rigorous, even though my subject doesn’t require any entrance exams! Creating a personal statement was quite challenging, since I needed to keep a highly analytical and academic lens on my activities throughout – something I had not done previously. I went through nearly eight drafts before I was happy to send it in! I found the interviews to be the most memorable aspect of the process, because I had been building them up to be something way more terrifying than it actually was.

They (the Interviewers) weren’t there to give me trick questions or to throw me off; it was simply an academic discussion about topics that I loved, so I actually quite enjoyed them (the interviews)

- Grace, Year 13

What are you most looking forward to about studying at University?

Hattie: Although the beautiful libraries may be a very close second, I look forward to being able to spend as much time as possible completely absorbed in my subject and getting to learn from world experts – particularly developing my interest in my areas of specialty!

Laura: I’m looking forward to learning new things and ideas.

Lily: Being able to study Classics at university is exciting enough, even without adding in the Cambridge part! I am really looking forward to starting the course, and developing my historic/linguistic abilities, as well as the environment (the town is beautiful).

Grace: I am most looking forward to being around experts in my field, especially since classical archaeology and ancient history are not typical school subjects. It would be one of the first times I would be able to have academic discussions and teachings from people who specialise in that specific field, which is very exciting!

How do you think your time at RMS for Girls has prepared you for this next academic adventure?

Hattie: RMS has simply been invaluable in preparing me for this academic adventure – the ability and support to pursue my passions and the general encouragement to push myself beyond my academic limits and comfort zone. The support from Miss Duce was incredibly helpful with my Oxford application specifically, but every teacher I’ve had since I’ve joined the school in year 7 has encouraged my love of academics and supported me to achieve my goals! 

RMS has always given me a lot of opportunities to push myself to try my best and do more than what is just necessary, such as when teachers gave up their time after school to teach us for GCSEs in Classical Greek and Astronomy

- Laura, Year 13

Lily: I think that RMS has given me a good grounding in order to begin higher education – during sixth form I have really enjoyed taking part in academic enrichment and super curricular activities like essay competitions that were encouraged by the school. I think the opportunity to take an EPQ has also been very beneficial, as it simulates more university-style independent learning.

Grace: It has helped me to persevere with my application, as there were many times in the application process where I seriously considered not going through with it and applying somewhere else. If I hadn’t had the support around me that RMS provided, I might not have realised that I could achieve something like this.

Congratulations to Hattie, Laura, Grace, and Lily. Their hard work and dedication have earned them an incredible opportunity to continue to shape their future beyond RMS. We wish them all the best as they embark on this next chapter at the end of this year.