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Bolton students experience Cambridge life

Bolton students outside the Divinity School
Bolton students outside the Divinity School

A group of over 60 gifted and talented students from six Bolton schools got to experience life at Cambridge University on a recent two-day visit to St John’s College.

Students from schools including Rivington and Blackrod High School, Turton, Thornleigh College, Ladybridge, St Josephs and Westhoughton High School, got a glimpse behind the scenes of a large and bustling Cambridge College to learn all about student life at the University.

The group were able to experience something of Cambridge life with tours of the city and talks by world-leading academics, as well as punting trips on the River Cam. They also stayed overnight in student accommodation at St John’s and had the chance to quiz current undergraduate students about their work and social lives in Cambridge.

Josie Cleary of Thornleigh Sixth Form said: “Cambridge is famous for being a very high-achieving university and I thought that it would be really intimidating. Everyone I’ve met on my visit to St John’s has actually been incredibly friendly and helpful. The students I spoke to seem to really enjoy their time at Cambridge, and it has definitely made me want to apply here myself.”

The students also learned about the ‘supervision’ system of one-to-one teaching with world class academics, which is unique to Cambridge, as well as the financial and personal support that the University can offer to students from all backgrounds.

Ben Holmes, a student at Westhoughton High School, said: “I’ve always wanted to go somewhere like Cambridge, but it seemed like there would be a lot of pressure on students there. Learning about the support that the University offers, whether in terms of bursaries and financial help or being able to talk to your tutor about anything on your mind, has made Cambridge seem much less stressful and has really encouraged me to go for it and apply.”

Having the chance to speak to current undergraduates and to see behind the scenes of College life was the highlight of the visit for many of the Bolton students. Chloe Roberts, from Rivington and Blackrod High School, said:

“I thought Cambridge would have a very intense atmosphere and students would spend all their time working, but everyone was surprisingly relaxed and laid-back. It looks like students here have a good balance between work and social life and there are lots of clubs, sports and activities to get involved in.”

“Cambridge is one of those places everyone aspires to go to, but I didn’t think it was for me before I came to visit. Now I think I’d fit in and have a really good time as a student here."