HMC member school St Aloysius’ College was proud to make the news this week when Jack Wands, a pupil at St Andrew’s Secondary, Carntyne, received a conditional offer from Oxford University after his Head Master reached out to the College to assist in preparations for his entrance exams and interviews.
Recognising how demanding the application process for Oxford and Cambridge can be, St Aloysius’ College has developed a step by step programme offering tailored guidance to Aloysians for each stage of the application process.
Mr O’Duffin, Assistant Head Master at the College, has been running the Oxford and Cambridge programme since around 2008 and has helped 16 Aloysians gain places to study subjects such as Medicine, Law, Engineering, Maths and English in the past 5 years.
The annual programme begins in early February when S5 pupils who have shown interest in Oxford and Cambridge attend the Oxbridge admissions conference in Edinburgh.
The pupils receive further guidance later in the year when Old Aloysians who have gone on to study at Oxford and Cambridge are invited back to the College to offer invaluable advice to pupils based on their own experiences.
When the interested Aloysians return for S6 in August, they are invited to weekly meetings where they receive guidance in writing academically focused personal statements and experience mock interviews and entrance exams, tailored to their chosen subject.
"The aim of this programme" Mr O’Duffin says, "is to build confidence and help pupils choose the right subject, College and University so they can go on to a place where they will be happy, thrive and fulfil their full potential".
It was during the interview preparation stage when Mr O’Duffin and Head Master, Mr Browne, met with Jack Wands who came to the College for guidance with his upcoming interview and entrance exam for Oxford.
Jack was walked through the assessment process and reassured about some of its more unique challenges before being put through his paces with a mock interview designed to test his knowledge in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
Reflecting on the morning he spent tutoring Jack, Mr O’Duffin said,
“He was an extremely able young man who answered the questions in a very articulate and thoughtful way. He is clearly a very talented pupil and had evidently gained an in-depth understanding of all 3 PPE subjects. I was delighted to hear he had been offered a place.”
St Aloysius’ College pupil Aine Macdonald of S6 has also just been offered a place to study Law at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and Mr O’Duffin is thrilled to see another Aloysian choose Oxford as the next step in their educational journey, saying,
”I am always very pleased when one of our own pupils gets in. I always start the process by saying to them that they don’t need to go to Oxford or Cambridge to be a happy and fulfilled person and that they will flourish wherever they go.
“It is important in a Jesuit school to discern what is right for each individual pupil whilst doing all we can to encourage and guide those who show the potential to flourish at Oxford and Cambridge as a student, but more importantly, as a person.”