A local A-level student with dreams of becoming an Oxford scholar has gained a unique insight into studying at the prestigious university.
Student Ben Bassett from Stenalees, who has recently completed his first year studying A-levels at Cornwall College St Austell, took part in the Oxford Summer School programme over a week at the end of July. The residential programme, run in partnership with the Sutton Trust, offers high achieving year 12 students from across the country a taste of studying at one of the top universities in the world.
17 year old Ben, who has aspirations of studying History at Oxford after his A-levels, was thrilled to get the chance to see the city for himself. He said: “My summer is going brilliantly so far and the Summer School was amazing. It gave me such an awesome insight into life at the university. It was a rewarding experience and has given me a huge amount of motivation and determination to get to Oxford now.”
As well as staying in Brasenose College, Ben and his fellow students visited various college buildings across Oxford. Every day, lectures were given by noted academics at a different college site and on subjects including the American, French, Russian and Glorious Revolutions as well as the English Civil War. Another highlight of the week was visiting the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe which is affectionately known as ‘The Bod’ to the university students.
The most challenging part of the week for Ben was an essay question set by the academics that was his first opportunity to tackle an undergraduate level task. He said: “At the start of the week we were set the essay question ‘Does opposition to reform lead to radicalisation?’. It was so fun to write and was far different from what I was used to in A-Level History! We were given a lot of advice and tips on how to write the most thought provoking essays- skills which will be incredibly useful for my A-Levels. At the end of the week, we were given back our marked essays and we had a tutorial discussing them. A tutorial is a style of learning exclusive to Oxford in which an academic interrogates the arguments in your essay and you have to defend the arguments in your essay and discuss your thought processes.”
Ben, who progressed from Poltair School to Cornwall College St Austell, has also just completed an internship at Linklaters law firm in London and will be attending another summer school at the University of Durham later in the month. Ben said: “Cornwall College was the perfect choice for me. When I first came to the College on an open day, I could see myself studying here right away. The campus is small enough that you can get to know everyone but also big enough that I have made loads of new friends. I’m not the most confident person and with the smaller class sizes, I feel really comfortable in the environment and I can be myself. Travel was also a factor for me. We have an excellent campus right here on the doorstep and I wasn’t going to travel miles to go to any other college when St Austell was perfect.”
For more information on the range of courses available across The Cornwall College Group, please visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or call 0330 123 2523.