Making the Transition from School to University
At Cherwell College we like to think of ourselves as a bridge between school and university where students gain confidence and learn vital self-management skills
It was more by luck than judgement that in reality I found myself in the right place at the right time, tagging along with the crowd. I’m fairly certain that had I been left to my own devices, my nightmare would have become reality. School had prepared me wonderfully well in terms of academic requirements but I was ill-equipped for the autonomy university would require of me. And that was some 35 years ago!
Nowadays, there are far more demands on undergraduate students to manage their own learning. Timetables are generally distributed electronically. Seminars often have to be pre-booked online. Written assignments are mostly submitted electronically making it impossible to sneak a late essay onto a pile in the tutor’s pigeonhole. Today’s students simply have to be on the ball to succeed.
This is where it can be helpful to have a halfway house between school and university. A-level students need academic support and close attention to exam specifications but they also need to learn independence, balancing study with their social life and taking responsibility for their own learning. At Cherwell College, students enjoy a relatively liberal environment, working in partnership with tutors and progressing at their own pace. They tell us they enjoy being treated with respect and having some autonomy. At the same time, there is a safety net of weekly tests, monthly exams, supervised study and subject clinics to ensure that where a student might be drifting off track, this is quickly addressed.
From September, our students will feel even more like undergraduate students in their brand new en-suite single study apartments, centrally located near Oxford’s railway station. Whilst they learn to manage their day-to-day living in relative independence, the college continues to provide meals, laundry facilities and sensitive supervision. We anticipate this arrangement being very popular. A-level students and even some who are studying for GCSE seek independence and flexibility with the security of knowing there is back-up when required. At Cherwell College we like to think of ourselves as a bridge between school and university where students gain confidence and learn vital self-management skills. Had I experienced such an approach, perhaps I’d now be sleeping more soundly!
- Stella Wiseman