Athena Tuition Celebrating Oxbridge Access Success
Athena’s new state-school Oxbridge mentoring programme got off to a flying start with 40% of participants gaining an offer to study at one of the prestigious institutions. This represents an increase of almost 100% compared to the national average offer rate for the universities (20.6%).
Athena offered up to 8 hours of one-to-one sessions to a group of state-educated students, free of charge. Each student was paired with a specialist Oxbridge mentor, who worked to prepare them for their December interviews; the final hurdle before potentially receiving a coveted offer. This involved expanding knowledge of topics mentioned in the personal statement, solidifying understanding of syllabus content, as well as getting students used to handling the more open-ended and stretching questions that can come up. For some students, the art of discussing their subject of interest needs to be developed, as someone may have a tendency to answer questions thoroughly on paper, but struggle to do the same when in discussion. Sessions were delivered online.
Amelia – Computer Science, Cambridge
Students fed back positively of their experiences. Amelia, an offer-holder for Computer Sciences at Cambridge, rated our scheme 9/10, saying that ‘[they] don’t really do computer science interview preparation at [her] school’. She explained that our tutor ‘helped [her] tackle problems in a method that was more organised and less scattered’ and further benefitted her to the extent that ‘when [she] actually did the interview, [she] found that the skills that [she] developed to keep chipping away at a problem gave [her] more confidence.’
Monique – Law, Cambridge
Monique, who gained an offer to read Law at Cambridge, also rated the scheme 9/10. She wrote: ‘I would say this scheme has helped me immensely to secure a better result in the Cambridge interview… I think it was great how James [our tutor] structured the sessions, so this meant that we were able to cover a lot of areas, quite thoroughly, in a relatively short amount of time. [He] encouraged me to think and try and develop an answer for myself.’
Nelson, one of Athena’s directors, said ‘It was the first year we decided to run this Oxbridge Access Scheme. We have seen both universities* pursuing this end for some time and are delighted with the success our program generated. We will be looking to expand this endeavour in future years, and we wish all participants the best of luck as they go on to start at their new universities.’