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Success Stories

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of needs, so there’s no such thing as a typical ý Cambridge student – all our students are unique. We cannot, therefore, capture the experience of all students. However, we hope that these success stories give a flavour of the range of students joining the college, their experiences and what they went on to achieve.

We always welcome feedback from parents. It is particularly gratifying when parents write to us to express their thanks and congratulate us on what we have achieved in working with their children. Again, we don’t have the opportunity to capture all parents’ comments here but we hope that we can give you an insight into the parental experience of the college.

Class of 2023

"Entry into the English education system (which is very different from that in my home country) was a very unexpected turn in my life and I believe ý was a great place for that. The college provided a gentle transition to the new environment, both in terms of academia and the country, and guided me carefully through the stressful period of one-year A level, as well as helped me to make good use of this time. With the Cambridge University Botanic Garden within a five-minute walk from the site, college green yard and cosy classes, ý and its surroundings are a pleasant place to study. Teachers and tutors are understanding and always willing to help, be it an urgent UCAS-associated matter or a cancelled flight, and every trouble is solved. However, it is not like you come to them with a problem and they solve it for you. The Personal Tutor could advise or direct the student but leaves it to them to act and definitely trusts them and their ability which facilitates the development of self-sufficiency and teaches responsibility. And it was nice to just chat with my PT about all kinds of stuff in our weekly meetings. All of my teachers were dedicated and professional, but special thanks to my Chemistry teacher. His teaching style happened to suit me well and I enjoyed the classes a lot, both educational material and out-of-curriculum discussions during practicals while we were waiting for phases to separate. I also have to note that the Chemistry course is well-organized which makes information easy to digest. Thanks also go to my schoolmates who turned out to be diverse yet all versatile people who I was very glad to meet and get a chance to spend time with. All in all, I am grateful to ý for making the past year considerably better than it could have been."

Anna

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A*A Progressed to: Cambridge University to read Natural Sciences

"The decision to continue my academic journey at ý in Cambridge was life-changing. I immediately felt at home after being welcomed with wide arms by the college community, and the individualised attention I received from tutors was crucial to my one-year A level programme. ý's dedication to fostering an environment of excellence, diversity, and support has not only helped me excel academically, but has also provided me with lifelong friendships and skills that extend beyond textbooks. As I move forward, I carry the valuable mark ý has left on me."

Nur

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A* Progressed to: Imperial College to read Mechanical Engineering

"Studying in the UK was a spontaneous decision, yet it turned out to be the best experience that paved the way for my dream university. I did the NCUK International Foundation Year in Business pathway at ý, which gave me a solid understanding of the subject before starting university. Speaking about ý, I am absolutely thrilled with the college's environment and community. The small class sizes and close-knit college allowed me to connect with others, make friends, and grow as an individual without feeling overwhelmed or distracted. I must give credit to the incredible system of personal tutors who provided unwavering support and guidance throughout my college journey, whether it was academic or extracurricular concerns. It made me feel secure and confident as I embarked on this new chapter of living alone in a foreign country thousands of miles away from home. As a result, I seamlessly integrated into the new community and country, allowing me to focus more on my lessons. Additionally, the city of Cambridge itself served as a constant source of motivation. The sight of numerous students, prestigious colleges, and academically driven individuals inspired me to work hard and achieve my goals. My time at ý and the opportunities it afforded me have been truly enjoyable!"

Bohdan

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A*A* (NCUK Foundation Programme) Progressed to: University of Manchester to read Information Technology Management for Business

"I entered ý in September with only a rough understanding of what A levels are and how to prepare for them. The rather challenging and dense curriculum of the one-year A level program was handled successfully thanks to the ongoing support of all tutors I interacted with. A cosy, but still academic (in the good sense of this word) atmosphere of the classrooms encouraged me to ask any questions regarding material studied and the teachers’ responses were usually extremely informative and helpful. Besides, it was a delightful experience to communicate with my classmates - it allowed me to both quickly learn new things and enjoy my free time. In my view, the ý community is a great place for anyone who desires to see evidence of their progress, to witness academic excellence and receive strong support from school."

Anton

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A Progressed to: University of Warwick to read PPE

"ý gave me a brilliant learning experience. The teaching was very focused and tailored. I really appreciate my teachers who are always willing to answer my countless questions and provide me with extra academic support. I would also want to say thanks to my tutor Anne who offered me a lot of life support and often reminded me to keep maintaining my work-life balance. Retaking A level was not easy [Alex achieved A*ABB at his previous school], but having some nice classmates and teachers here has really made this process much smoother. One more academic piece of advice to the reader: it is important to ask questions on where you don’t understand or perhaps have misunderstood, however, it is more important that you make notes of it and revise frequently. I believe you will see the benefits over time."

Alex

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*AA Progressed to: King's College, University of London to read Mathematics with Statistics

"I started at ý online in September but joined on-site in late October. Initially, I was uncertain about the subjects I chose, but I eventually found the subjects suited me. I was a bit anxious about keeping up with my studies, but with support and guidance from my tutor, Graham, I managed to catch up on all my subjects. ý teachers were dedicated and passionate about teaching. They are always enthusiastic about answering every question from students and explaining concepts clearly. Overall, it was a great experience."

Jeena

Grades achieved at ý: AAA Progressed to: LSE to read Management

"My first attempt at A levels was disappointing, and a D grade in Chemistry meant I missed my grades for University. Despite advice from my school not to re-sit, I decided to give it another go. I had heard of ý and enrolled at the Cambridge campus. The teaching, with focus on exam technique, was excellent, and I was even able to study remotely in Cape Town for a term, while I attended a cricket academy. Good grades in my mocks gave me huge confidence, and I achieved an A grade in the re-sit l, and was able to take up a place at Cardiff University, my original first choice University. I would strongly recommend ý to anyone in my position."

Alex

Grades achieved at ý: D to an A Progressed to: Cardiff University to read Accounting and Finance with Professional Placement Year

"My two years at ý was my first time studying abroad. The school gave me the most amazing experience as it was really supportive in helping me to understand the British educational system as well as to expand my knowledge about British culture. The atmosphere at ý Cambridge motivates you to work harder, while Personal Tutors are always happy to help in case anyone has any academic or pastoral questions. I found meetings with my Personal Tutor productive and helpful as we were discussing my academic progress, UCAS application and were preparing for the upcoming A level examinations. Another academic advantage at ý are Timed Assignments which are carried out under timed exam conditions. These appeared to be an incredibly helpful tool as they helped to test my knowledge in previously studied topics, allowed me to track my progress and spot the areas for further improvement, and became a good practice for mastering my exam technique. ý is a college with a great cultural diversity, a community the school is really proud of. We celebrated this at a special event, the annual Cultural Week, organised by the Student Council. The Student Council organises plenty of events throughout the year such as Movie Nights and 5 Days of Christmas. These events bring a good opportunity to communicate with other students and find new friends, whose studying fields may completely differ from your own. To conclude, ý is a brilliant college with a strong academic provision. Students have an opportunity to study a wide range of subjects in any combination. The school’s supportive and friendly environment motivated me to study harder to achieve my dreams and encouraged me to express myself as a person. My opinion, thoughts and ideas were warmly welcomed by my teachers in my lessons."

Lily

Grades achieved at ý: ABB Progressed to: University of Hertfordshire to read Film Studies and Media Studies

Previous years

"My decision to retake an A level was initially quite daunting, having not ever considered taking a ‘Gap Year’ before. I left Year 13 having missed out on my top choice of university, leaving me feeling incredibly demoralised and deflated especially after the chaos of home schooling and COVID. I came to ý not knowing what to expect. When I first visited, I felt instantly that my situation was understood, however the kind of understanding that doesn’t have an ounce of pity about it. When I decided to attend, this allowed me to quickly make use of the support given to me by staff, especially my Personal Tutor and the Oxbridge Preparation Programme to really lay out what I wanted to achieve with my time there. I met people in similar situations to me and people from completely different walks of life. All of these factors lend themselves very well to an incredibly competitive but rewarding educational experience. I was constantly pushed in my classes and the UCAS application process working in small groups with incredibly bright and hard-working classmates. But at no point did feel like comparisons were being drawn but instead that our experiences were completely personal and we were working together for everyone to hit the targets we had set for ourselves. Taking me to now! Writing this on results day, with a place at my dream University with friends doing exactly the same! ý is a challenging and competitive educational environment and represents to me a ‘second chance’. A place where I was able to go and reset and switch my mentality, presenting the chance to achieve things that seemed implausible in the place I was in when I first joined. I felt throughout the year I was always given the transparency and consideration I was given on day one and I am forever thankful to ý for facilitating a complete turnaround in my academic journey."

Alfie

Grades achieved at ý: B to an A* Progressed to: University of Cambridge to read Biological and Behavioural Sciences

"My favourite part of studying at ý has been an academic environment that is so supportive and intimate. My Biology teacher always entertained our many questions about things that weren't necessarily on our syllabus and since we were such a small class we got the chance to ask those hypothetical questions. I feel that I have gained so much knowledge on the subject from an expert in the field and being able to explore different trains of thought made the content much more enjoyable. The regular support from my Personal Tutor was also outstanding; I have found in other schools that it would be easy to slip through the cracks and no one would notice if you weren't meeting your goals, but something like that could never happen here. The entire college community has always got your back! "

Jessica

Grades achieved at ý: A* Progressed to: University of Bristol to read Biological Sciences

"ý focuses on and cares about every single student, and the students do feel that. It is also a perfect environment to achieve your grades. My Personal Tutor was one of the main reasons that I was able to get into my university of choice. We had a meeting every week and he always made sure that I was feeling okay primarily and then everything else came right after. He kept on top of everything and made sure that I got it all done, especially for my Personal Statement. There was always positive encouragement coming from him too. The weekly tests make for a great learning system – that is what I personally think. The system clearly indicates what level you are working at and ensures that you are doing repetition on all topics in your subject. My teachers were great at getting me to the next level to achieve top grades in subjects I was stronger at. I was never a huge fan of Chemistry, having previously achieved a D, but with the support of my fantastic teacher I got an A*. He made my lessons very enjoyable and worked very hard for us to complete a one-year course in time. I am very thankful for the teaching that got me into my top choice university."

Theo

Grades achieved at ý: BD to A*A Progressed to: University of Manchester to read Mechanical Engineering

"My two years at ý Cambridge not only allowed me to delve into areas of my passion, such as business, and gain invaluable knowledge thanks to teachers and a well-designed and structured curriculum, but also I met a huge number of new people with whom I continue to be friends after graduation. ý is a school that brings together people with different backgrounds, goals, interests and passions, who are ready to work hard to achieve their goals which all builds a motivational and supportive environment around you. Thanks to the friendly atmosphere at the lessons, everyone had the opportunity to express their thoughts and point of view, which made it possible for us to have though-provoking and interesting discussions and consider the questions raised from different angles and points of views. I am sure that this time will forever remain one of the most unforgettable periods of my life! Not only I received knowledge that will be hugely useful in the future when studying at university and in my later life, but I also developed and changed as a person. I will remain forever thankful for the friendly and supportive atmosphere at the college and the amazing people I met during these exciting years."

Veronika

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A Progressed to: Veronika is taking a gap year in France

"I came to ý in August of 2021 with the request of taking the one-year sociology A level course whilst studying at another college in Cambridge and taking an Art diploma course. Not only was I very late to get in touch with ý, but it was also a very difficult request in terms of timetabling. From the moment I met the staff that summer, to the moment I left, I formed real bonds with the teachers. My sociology teacher really made me love the subject. I felt very passionately about sociology not long after starting and towards exam season, my teacher and I would do memory mindmaps on the white boards together as he knew I was a visual learning and tailored his teaching to meet my needs. Not only were the teachers so amazing, but the receptionists were also real supporters of mine and I genuinely loved coming into school and chatting with them most days. The canteen is run by a couple who make a conscious effort to get to know the students, ask how they were doing and be there as an extra supporter. ý is not like many schools, it completely tailors the timetable to fit the student's requirements and I really thank them for all the effort gone into making my timetable. ý is also a smaller school, which means you get to meet your tutors weekly one to one but you can also visit them or contact them at any moment and know they will be there to help. My Personal Tutor always helped me to see the positive and assured me it would all work out. He also helped me re-do my revision plans 10,000 times just so that I felt I was on top of my work. When I started at ý, I had never studied any Sociology before and set my target to just get a pass at A level. I never thought I would actually come out with an A*, so when ý say they get the grades, they honestly do. My last thing to say, is that even the teachers that you do not have a subject with are there to help make your experience of school better. The art teacher was incredible at helping me with my applications to uni, portfolio requirement and mock interviews, despite not even teaching me. I am forever grateful for that. The head of ý, is not like many head teachers, he really believes in understanding from the pupils perspective and I felt I could always reach out to him and tell him openly and honestly about thing that may of been on my mind. I do feel sad to leave ý even though I was only there for a year. I will never forget it because it helped me get to my dream university."

Paige

Grades achieved at ý: A* Progressed to: UAL to read Textile Design

"My two years at ý have been part of the most fulfilling and interesting experience I‘ve had in my education. Despite the education being quite different from what I used to have in Macau, I still adapted to it quickly with the help of my teachers and friends. The small class sizes and community has really helped me to know people from other classes and easily get along with others. My Personal Tutor was very supportive throughout these two years of study, especially when it came to my university application. Despite the competitive nature of the course I was applying to, I was able to make my way through and successfully received offers from some of my choices. Weekly timed assignments helped me to keep track of my progress and allowed me to revise and improve my weakness in certain topics. Even though I could not take the A level exam due to COVID-19 this year, these timed assignments have showed my improvement along and my ability to meet the course requirements. I am thankful for all my teachers and Personal Tutor who assisted and encouraged me to work towards my goal."

Ruby

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A*A* Progressed to: Strathclyde University to read Forensic & Analytical Chemistry (MChem)

" Studying at ý was an incredible experience. Coming from a local Philippine school, I found it extremely daunting to live independently from my family and to adjust to a new school system all in one year. Studying History at A level specifically did not only include completely different content from what I had studied previously but also unfamiliar exam styles. At first, it seemed as if I would be unable to reach my targets. However, the individual support I received from ý made the transition easier and more enjoyable. My Personal Tutor was helpful and guided me throughout my studies and the application process for university. My teachers were approachable and took interest in my progress and in making sure I do well. The small class sizes meant that I was able to give my opinion and ask questions, which also allowed for a great learning environment and a close-knit community. Regular Timed Assignments meant that by the time internal assessments came around, I was already well-versed in the exam technique and confident in my knowledge. I am grateful for the opportunities ý has offered me and can definitely say that ý is a place that equips its students with the skills and mindset to accomplish their academic goals."

Stefanie

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A* Progressed to: UCL to read Economics

"Two years of A levels in ý Cambridge was a unique academic journey filled with unforgettable memories. As ý offers small class tuition, I received comfortable, high-quality lessons. Teachers could individually explain any topics and help to answer any of my questions. I was fortunate to live in and absorb the academic atmosphere of historic Cambridge, which inspired me to study and put more effort into my education. With the help of friendly, supportive and professional staff in ý, I enhanced my academic skills and got offers from the most prestigious universities. I want to thank my Personal Tutor, an incredible person who helped me throughout my journey with adaptation, mentality, motivation, the personal statement, and UCAS application. Despite the COVID disruptions in the last years, I always received support and encouragement from the ý staff, even in online circumstances. Being the Head of Student Council 2020-2021, I was pleased to lead a distinctive international community with different student backgrounds. Our team's diversity, creativity, and dedication made this academic year full of social events, mental health assistance, and cultural affairs. After the great years in college, I became a student with excellent knowledge, soft skills and awareness of this world. Now, I am incredibly excited to start a new chapter of my life at university!"

Ulan

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A Progressed to: Warwick University to read Accounting and Finance

"I first came to Cambridge with no friends and acquaintances, but the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of ý immediately made me feel at home. Over the two years of my studies, I received tremendous support and care from both my teachers and my classmates. At ý, I was not only able to study my favourite subject (Economics) in a systemic manner, but to also develop my critical thinking through everyday classwork and supervised weekly assessments. The Covid situation did not stop us from continuing our studies. ý provided students with excellent support and help so that we could achieve our goals. I want to express my sincere gratitude to my Personal Tutor who guided me to my dream university. ý has been a wonderful journey. I have made huge academic progress and lifelong friendships."

Cathy

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A*A* Progressed to: UCL to read Economics

"I was initially attracted to ý by the range of subjects on offer and the flexibility to study them in any combination. I thoroughly appreciated this level of flexibility as it allowed me to choose a combination of subjects that may not have been possible elsewhere. The small class sizes were another unique draw and something I knew was hugely beneficial to my learning having been to a small school previously. Indeed this proved to be the case at ý as well, providing an excellent foundation for a strong professional relationship between students and teachers as well as close friendships with peers. My teachers demonstrated a rich depth of knowledge and a passion for their respected subjects that was infectious and infused me with confidence. They inspired me to develop a greater love and appreciation for each of my subjects, teaching not just to pass an exam but to develop my wider understanding too. Their approachable, friendly and open nature allowed for a fantastic studying environment that encouraged questioning and analysis to stretch my knowledge and excel. All staff members treated the students as adults, encouraging independence and initiative, which when combined with the overall structure of the college made for the perfect stepping stone between school and university. Equally, the Personal Tutor system provided a fantastic support network that ensured you were on track both academically and pastorally through weekly one-to-one meetings. My Personal Tutor was a friendly face who was always happy to help me even if it was outside of our dedicated meeting time. The weekly Timed Assignments, whilst perhaps intimidating at first, provided another excellent way of ensuring I was constantly practising and improving throughout my time at ý. Outside of lessons, there were plenty of other opportunities provided, such as Student Council which allowed me to develop other life skills that are invaluable for the future, for example communication and planning. My thanks go out to my exceptional teachers and Personal Tutor for helping me develop over the last two years."

James

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*A* Progressed to: University of York to study English Literature

"I’ve greatly enjoyed my two years at ý and feel I got a lot out of my time there. When lessons were online because of Covid, I felt it was very efficient and we were able to get a lot done due to the dedication of the teachers. My time in person at ý was amazing as the classes were small enough to feel you can ask any questions and get the most out of the teaching without it feeling too empty. Having a Personal Tutor was something I really enjoyed as well as they are very dedicated to getting you where you want to be and are very supportive of whatever that may be. The Personal Tutor element was especially useful during UCAS applications as it can be a very confusing process, but I felt that all my questions were answered and the whole process was made a lot easier, from the personal statement writing to choosing which universities are best suited to you. My favourite element of my time at ý was the weekly Timed Assignments. I felt these were incredibly effective at improving my exam technique and making me more comfortable sitting exams so the end of year exams felt much less stressful as I had more confidence in my abilities. My whole time at ý, both online and in person, has been very enjoyable and I will miss it when I go to university."

Alice

Grades achieved at ý: A*A*AA Progressed to: Newcastle University to read Biomedical Sciences

"I first came to ý after having already changed school a couple of times, attempting to find a better place for me. ý proved to be exactly this. It wasn't just that my teachers were great, that the small class sizes afforded me an amazing level of flexibility, and that the weekly tests hardened my exam technique so I had nothing to fear when exams came around. But what really made ý a great school was the level of individual attention that I received throughout the school, it was unlike any other place I had studied.

While some aspects of sixth form still proved challenging for me, I was glad to be heading to UCL after leaving. There, while I enjoyed the education thoroughly, I thought I might be able to profit from some real-world experience. So I spent about a year teaching English in Saint Petersburg before I thought that I might like to reapply to university and, once again, try and find a place in which I would fit perfectly. When it came to filling in UCAS forms and obtaining references, my former tutor at ý was supremely helpful. And, after sufficient stressing and prepping, I was fortunate enough to be offered a place at Oxford where I hope to, as I have done before with ý, find the ideal place for me. ý is not the typical sixth form experience but it is without question one I can recommend."

Max

Grades achieved at ý: AAA Progressed to: Oxford University

"My two years at ý have been part of the most fulfilling experience I’ve had in my education. Despite being far away from home and studies completely different from what I was used to, the small class sizes and communal feeling of the school really made the transition easy and enjoyable. I always felt like my voice was heard and appreciated in every class. My teachers knew me well, both as a student and a person, and this really helped them to guide me through my A Levels in a way that worked best with my personality. My Personal Tutor was an essential support system over the two years especially when it came time to apply to university.

Despite its daunting nature, I was able to get the most out of the application process with five acceptances from all my choices and I don’t know if that would’ve been the case otherwise. Regular timed assignments helped me track my progress and kept me accountable and reminded me of the end goal - to do my best in my final exams. With the COVID-19 situation, I was unable to sit these exams, but these timed assignments helped show my improvement and my ability to meet the course requirements. Overall, I believe that the system set up at ý provides students with everything they need to achieve whatever goals they have for their educational journey."

Blessing

Grades achieved at ý: A*AA Progressed to: University of York to read Law

"For me, ý was life changing because it was due to the immense support of the teachers and of my personal tutor that I have been able to become the person that I am today. When I first came to ý, I had no GCSEs and had been removed from a Level 1 course (hair and beauty) at my previous college. I had little belief in myself and felt that after failing my GCSEs and giving in I would never be given a second chance to put things right. ý proved me wrong and showed me that as long as you are surrounded by people who believe in you and want you to do well, and other students who want to succeed as well, you will go far. As soon as I arrived at ý, I felt as though my teachers were making it their personal duty to make sure that I succeeded, and that they were always set on keeping me on track in every aspect of my academic career. At first, I was not especially confident within the classroom but from the very beginning my English teacher sussed out that I had a passion for English and encouraged me to pursue and showcase it. This, paired with the support of those around me, boosted my confidence and caused me to think about my future post-GCSE. I am extremely grateful for ý and would not be in the position I am in today if it was not for the staff and all their support. It has been a unique experience and has left me with a more positive attitude towards education as I have been shown what it is like to achieve. "

Ella

Grades achieved at ý: 9, 7, 5 Progressed to: Sixth Form

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