Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme

Ashbourne successfully prepares students applying for Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme

The Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme (AOP) is designed to give our students the best possible chance of gaining a place at Oxford or Cambridge University. The year-long Programme is run by Will Stockland, Head of Faculty for Culture and Society.

The Programme comprises twelve monthly set tasks that help Oxbridge applicants to be as prepared and competitive as possible in their applications – these range from making sensible degree choices that clearly correspond to long-term professional ambitions to engagement with super-curricular activities that enhance intellectual abilities and A-level curricular learning.

I know that without the personal attention and support from Ashbourne I would not be going to read English Literature at Cambridge next year.

Lewis, English Literature at Cambridge

Preparing for Oxbridge

The Programme also provides an opportunity for Oxbridge applicants to work closely with their subject tutors in order to develop academic ability and intellectual skills, particularly in relation to preparation for the pre-interview assessments tests, which are designed to stretch and challenge curricular learning and are an essential component of the application process.

The primary aim of the Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme is to help students to make as holistically complete an application as possible, in which the many and diverse aspects of the Oxbridge application process are considered carefully and optimised to the greatest extent.

The best part of the programme was the mock interviews. Quite frankly you cannot expect what will be thrown at you once you enter the interview room with these prestigious universities. What matters is the mental preparation, the thought process to approach these questions and the boost in confidence through the mock interviews.

— Quang Huy, Natural Science at Cambridge
Programme schedule

The year-long schedule proceeds according to the following basic schedule covering the key areas of the application process:

Spring Term

  • university and degree choice
  • college choice
  • additional university choices
  • choice of independent research project

Summer Term

  • resources for pre-interview assessment test
  • supplementary application requirements
  • introduction to UCAS application
  • introduction to UCAS Personal Statement
  • resources for super-curricular development

Summer Vacation

  • completion of Personal Statement
  • completion of independent research project
  • completion of UCAS application
  • pre-interview assessment preparation
  • super-curricular development
  • work experience

Autumn Term

  • submission of application
  • submission of supplementary application material
  • pre-interview assessment test support
  • interview practice

Support is also provided after the autumn term, in January when applicants receive the outcome of their application.

About Oxford and Cambridge

Oxford and Cambridge universities are distinct and different from other British universities in a number of ways, and this is the reason that Ashbourne College runs a specific Oxbridge Programme.

Academic Ranking

Oxford and Cambridge consistently rank in the top ten universities worldwide for nearly all of their degree subjects, and in the top five for almost half of those. Whilst some other British universities rank very highly in specific subjects worldwide, such as UCL in Architecture, Imperial College for Engineering and LSE for Economics, none comes as close to the level of academic ranking across all their degree subjects. In terms of overall academic quality of undergraduate education, therefore, Oxford and Cambridge offer the highest level in the UK and one of the highest levels in the world.

Tutorial System of Undergraduate Education

The second important aspect of Oxford and Cambridge that is distinct from other British universities is the tutorial system of undergraduate education: every student has a tutor (or tutors) at their college with whom they have weekly tutorials on a one-to-one, two-to-one, or three-to-one basis – while most undergraduates at other British universities can expect small-group seminar teaching, particularly in their final year, and very occasionally even smaller-scale tutorials, no other universities predicate their undergraduate-education system on the tutorial model. Tutorial education is the pinnacle of education because it intensively develops academic and intellectual ability through expert dialogic pedagogy. Oxford and Cambridge, therefore, offer students the highest level of pedagogy available to undergraduates in the UK.

Outstanding results

All participants in the Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme complete a 5000-word Extended Project Qualification in order to gain independent research skills and to deepen their knowledge in a specific subject area that is relevant to their degree choice and personal interests.

Ashbourne’s A level courses, taken in conjunction with the Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme, offer outstanding opportunities for ambitious and hardworking students who will benefit from the individual support and choice we offer to help our students reach the highest grades.

Ashbourne is definitely a place where intellectually motivated students will thrive

Christina, History of Art at Cambridge

Our students consistently achieve outstanding results, 54% A*A (2022-2023), performance improvement is excellent, placing the college in the top 5% of UK schools and colleges for value added, and almost 60% of our graduates go on to study at Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

The Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme has been running since 2015. Over a five-year period the average success rate has been 34% i.e. approximately one in three applicants that have participated in the programme have been successful in their applications. We were delighted that in recent cycles of applications the success rate has been 50%.

Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme structure

The Ashbourne Oxbridge Programme is a 12-month programme that runs from January to January each year to support students that are currently enrolled in their applications to Cambridge or Oxford universities. There is a meeting every month in which specific aspects of the application process are considered along with relevant task-sets for completion by the next meeting.

How to apply

Ashbourne offers an adult-approach to learning which is less formal than most schools yet is demanding and disciplined. We believe this helps nurture confident, self-reliant and independent thinking students prepared for the next stages of their lives. We attract students from all over the world making the college a vibrant, diverse and exciting place to learn.

Please get in touch to apply for a place on Ashbourne’s Oxbridge Programme. Email, [email protected], call +44 020 7937 3858 or complete the enquiry form below.

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