Joy Adeogun is a scholarship student and Student President at Ashbourne studying A level English, Drama and Maths. She was awarded a full drama scholarship at the College. Here she gives tips on taking the auditions, talks about the scholarship programme and describes what it's like studying at Ashbourne.
How did you find out about Ashbourne’s scholarship programme?
I was online searching for 'Drama Scholarships A-Level' and I believe Ashbourne was one of the first entries to come up and so I clicked on the website and began reading the process as well as some of the testimonials which sounded really positive and encouraging.
How did you find the audition process?
It was quite intense as I had to go through the English, Maths and Drama tests and audition. I was made to feel super comfortable and at ease before all of the tests. The audition was great. Naturally I felt incredibly nervous before entering but I was made to feel at ease. I was unsure about which piece to perform and I mentioned that I had two pieces and in the end they let me perform both!
What advice would you give to this year's applicants to ace the audition like you did?
I would say, choose a piece that you feel comfortable about performing and that will summon your best acting ability. Ashbourne is a really liberal place and so you shouldn't try and pick a piece that you think Ashbourne would like to see. At the same time, I would go for a scripted play or a published play so you can read into the backstory of the character and use that to inform your performance. As long as you feel comfortable about the piece you have chosen, as well as assured in your talent for acting, I'm sure the audition will be great!
Scholarship students are also a role model for other students. Did this put any pressure on you during your study?
I wouldn't say it put a lot of pressure on me, but as a motivated person I felt like I wanted to do the school proud and give back, having accepted me to study here. Regardless, if you are a scholarship student you know that you are expected to perform to a high standard, but the school still gives you the same amount of support and care as they do for other students so you feel exactly the same. Ashbourne constantly gives you the room to develop and expand in your interaction with the student body and as this was something I felt quite passionate about I was elected as the Student President. That is perhaps when I did feel pressure as it is slightly more public as well as the expectation of performing tasks alongside achieving high grades. Still, you have to remember you are chosen and the school just wants to push you. It is not something out of your reach as you were chosen because you can do it; you deserve it and why not?
Apart from the financial support, what do you consider the most significant impact that securing this scholarship had on your study?
I would say the standard of teaching is quite significant. Having come from the state school sector where you have some teachers who are not engaged and enthusiastic about certain subjects or teachers who are frequently being covered by external teachers, Ashbourne offers a level of constituency and high standard of teaching that sets anyone up to perform well, regardless of whether you are a scholar. It's also little things such as having no cap on printing and being able to stay at school to 8pm (this is optional), which allows you to print off as many past papers as you need to practise or run around trying to find your teachers to ask for extra help, which really makes the difference during the mayhem of A levels exams and completing your UCAS. Furthermore, I would say there is an overwhelming atmosphere of positivity and encouragement throughout Ashbourne; being constantly surrounded by teachers and students who are accepting of your identity helps to create a safe learning environment. There is even an emphasis on mental health and wellbeing, something that my previous school was only 'okay' at. Ashbourne seems to really understand and want to ensure they do everything they can to help or deal with any issues.
What do you consider as the most significant reward as well as challenge of studying a combination of subjects that are very different in nature - Drama, English Literature and Maths?
Ashbourne is a very accommodating place. I love the fact that I was able to study any combination of subjects, and my interests are quite broad. I think that just goes to show that Ashbourne really does try to put the student first and allows them to be the driver of their future.
Ashbourne has allowed me to focus on improving and developing my intellectual ability as well nurturing and maintaining my interest in the arts. My drama teacher is exceptional. He always helps me out with any external auditions I may have and also helps me to record my self-tapes for auditions. I also love the fact that Ashbourne rents out a professional theatre space for our Drama Devising Exams and performance exams. It really shows the respect Ashbourne has for the Arts, while enhancing your performance and teaching you skills such as where to stand under lighting if you do wish to consider a professional acting career.
In my English studies we have gone above and beyond the curriculum. I love the flexibility of my classes and the fact that we develop our critical thinking, linguistic and reasoning skills which, although related to English, is not a necessity of the course, but Ashbourne allows the time to help you develop as a person.
Studying Maths alongside English has been a fun challenge. Apart from the tensions between each department trying to outdo each other I would say that both inspire me as much as the other. If there isn’t a Critical Thinking Seminar for English on then there is a UK Maths Competition.
Find out more about Ashbourne's Scholarship Programme