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Year 10 Open Day, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University WCS Independent School Somerset

Year 10 Pupils Attend Oxford Open Day

Ten of our Year 10 pupils made the journey to Oxford on Monday for an Open Day hosted by Lady Margaret Hall, accompanied by Mr. Murdoch and Mr. O’Sullivan.

After a brief coach tour around the city during which Mr. O’Sullivan talked a bit too much about all the places featured in Philip Pullman’s books, they arrived at the college and met their 3rd Year English undergraduate guide, Casey. She walked them around all the main areas of the college – the Porters’ Lodge, various quads, chapel, library, gardens – and perhaps most importantly the JCR (Junior Common Room), where social events happen, and the Dining Hall. On the walls of the corridors were photos of notable alumnae of the college such as Malala Yousafzai, Jennifer Pike and Nigella Lawson. Casey gave numerous insights into the working week of an undergraduate, explaining the differences between studying different subjects, how work is divided between colleges and faculties, and the importance of time management skills.

Following the tour, the pupils attended a Q+A Session with Dr. Anne Mullen, LMH’s Senior Tutor and Tutor for Admissions. She spoke with great persuasiveness about how important it is at interview for prospective undergraduates to show their love of the subject they are applying for; “If your subject is what gets you out of bed in the morning, this may be the place for you”. When asked what question she finds especially useful at interview, she admitted that the simple, classic “Why do you want to study this subject, and why here?” is often the most helpful in allowing them to understand which candidates are really motivated to work hard and make the most of the opportunities that an Oxford education will bring. She also spoke eloquently about the need to be able to articulate responses and explore your own response to ideas, in any subject, but warned that “confidence doesn’t have a volume button” – what they’re really looking for is not someone who will simply say the first thing that comes into their head, but someone who shows “the quiet inner confidence of really loving your subject”.

After finishing their time at LMH with a hearty lunch in the Dining Hall the pupils took a walk across a windy University Parks to the University and Pitt Rivers Museums. Here they had a short time to explore dinosaur bones, stuffed bears and an astonishing range of musical instruments from across the globe; they also had a chance to see how the Pitt Rivers Museum is taking a bold and innovative approach to decolonizing their own extensive collection, presenting it in a way which is responsive to recent developments in cultural theory and representation.

After a final wander through the streets of Oxford, where more than once they got caught up in groups of undergraduates on their way to labs or faculties, and almost joined Hertford College by accident, and having stopped to consider the grizzly site of the burning of Archbishop Cranmer, they climbed back on the minibus for the trip back to Wells. The pupils enjoyed a busy and informative day which gave them a valuable chance to think ahead to Sixth Form, and perhaps planted seeds in their minds of a competitive University application in years to come.