A taste of Oxford

30th August 2018

News, Student news, Alumni news

Getting a week-long ‘taster’ of Oxford student life, forty students took part in Wadham’s 2018 Classics and Biology summer schools.

Aged between 17 and 18, the Year 12 school students report on their experiences.

Chun from Sheffield heard about the Biology programme from his Mum and then investigated via the website. “It’s a good opportunity to see if I like the subject and to learn about things that we don’t study in sixth-form Biology,” he said.

On this, his first visit to Oxford, he was happy to find everything within walking distance. “And Wadham is not a tourist attraction, like some Colleges, but feels more like a home”, he added. The depth and detail of the lectures is what he has found most appealing on his course, building and expanding on what he is learning at A-level. “I really enjoyed the trip to Wytham woods, learning about how animals adapt to their environment. His week long programme culminates in a group presentation. “We are looking at evolutionary traits that humans develop over time, focusing on why some people are left handed.”

“Whether or not I get in to Oxford, the summer school is a really good opportunity to spend a week at one of the best universities in the world” he concludes.

Ibrahim from South East London joined the Classics summer school after hearing about it from a teacher. Currently studying for A-levels in Chemistry, Biology and Classics he felt the strong course content was sparking a lot of new interests. “My essay that I’m working on is about the social status of women in Ancient Greece and Rome – I’m really enjoying it." Ibrahim admits to having a stereotypical idea of what a typical Oxford student is like: “But the student ambassadors are really nice and, well, normal!” he laughs.

Whether or not I get in to Oxford, the summer school is a really good opportunity to spend a week at one of the best universities in the world

Chun, Biology Summer School participant

Angela from London was happy that the summer school has helped her decide what to study at university – Biology, rather than her other A-level choices, Psychology or Philosophy. “I’m really enjoying learning about genes and evolution and the molecular make up of cells and found the microscopy session in the labs very interesting. The work is similar to school but a lot more vigorous,” she said.

The student ambassadors play a vital role in the summer school, said Cormac from Rotheram. “We can relate to them a lot – they are so supportive and willing to help.” Anything surprising that he has learned about Oxford? “I hadn’t realised how many colleges there are and the way they work together – integrated but separate.”

The Classics programme involved Greek Language classes, a guided tour and handling session at the Ashmolean Museum and lectures by Stephen Heyworth - Women in Latin Poetry; Emma Searle - Agrippina the Elder; Marie Drauschke - Greek Priestesses; Peter Thonemann - Gender, Sexuality, and the Male Body in Classical Greece; and Alice Parkin – Amazons.

The Biologists visited the Plant Sciences department for a microscopy session and Wytham Woods for practical work and enjoyed lectures from Cedric Tan and Mark Fricker and a seminar series, ‘What makes humans different?’ by Catherine Seed.

All participants attended workshops on personal statements and preparing for interview and admissions tests, as well as student ambassador tours, a formal dinner in hall, opportunities to explore Oxford and student ambassador led social activities.

“I hadn’t realised how many colleges there are and the way they work together – integrated but separate.”

Cormac, Biology Summer School participant