I had the good fortune to attend the Sixth Form Induction dinner at St John’s College earlier this week. As an occasion for our students, it was truly up lifting. Certainly it was an experience of Cambridge which was unfamiliar to most of our students. It was to the credit of them all that they rose brilliantly to the challenge and clearly valued and enjoyed their candlelit evening.
For members of the U6th of course this occasion was a timely reminder of decisions to be made about university destinations. At a time when fee hikes have effectively monetarised Higher Education, students and their parents are considering whether the university experience is value for money. And as the recession continues to stifle graduate employment, there is real concern that the investment in a degree will reward the student with a future in the world of work.
This is a weighty decision for our sixth formers. A trend I have observed over recent years is that the ambition of our students is not confined to universities in this country which of course further complicates this pivotal choice. University destinations this year see our students pursuing their studies in leading UK HE as well as universities in the US and Hong Kong. ( http://sixthform.stephenperse.com/university-destinations ).
And it is important not to under estimate the level of support and guidance students require to facilitate this progression in life’s journey. We are extremely fortunate to be able to offer a first class guidance programme at the Stephen Perse Sixth Form College where the focus of the guidance team and teaching staff is on tailoring guidance to the needs of individual students. This process is hugely bolstered by the nuanced understanding of how universities and indeed departments within universities operate, with a clear awareness of the opportunities open to our IB and A Level students. The purpose of the College is clear – inspire, support and guide. The rewards for our students are life changing.
As UCAS deadlines loom, personal statements are polished and references crafted, I wish this year’s cohort every success.