Early Applicants

Early Applicants Programme

Oxbridge, Medicine, Vets, Dentistry

Every year, around 30 of our Year 13 students apply to study on the most competitive courses in the UK - Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry and courses at Oxford and Cambridge universities. We call them our Early Applicants, because the deadline for their applications is much earlier than for other Year 13 students.

Any student can choose to become an Early Applicant – we operate a self-selection policy. However, there is input from tutors and staff as well as identification based on GCSE data to help form the cohort, based on those most likely to make a competitive application.

Staff Contact
The whole programme is overseen by the Deputy Head of 6th Form, Mrs Kennedy (Email: akennedy@swchs.net).

Year 12 Programme

  • Students elect to join the Early Applicants group in the January of Year 12, nine months ahead of any application.
  • Each Wednesday, during Electives in the January-Easter period, Early Applicants undertake activities to prepare them for a competitive application. This includes:
  • Researching courses and colleges
  • Extension reading
  • Meeting with successful early applicants from previous years
  • Meeting with representatives of Oxbridge and the Veterinary/ Medical schools
  • Preparing for Admission Tests
  • Oxbridge Applicants also attend the Oxbridge Conference, an event hosted by the two universities, providing overviews of the application process and courses, with a chance to meet current students.
  • We advertise subject Masterclasses and organise a number of specialist lectures to help students extend their learning. Recent lecturers include Evan Davis, Anthony Beevor and Ha Joon Chang.
  • We also participate in a MUN Conference at Felsted School and advertise STEM research for scientists in Cambridge.
  • At the end of year 12, all early applicants are invited to complete an EPQ. This is an additional AS qualification on a personal research question. Many students have discussed their EPQs at length within their Oxbridge interviews.
  • Medical Students benefit from the following opportunities:

A visit is organised to the medical school at UCL – where SWCHS students can talk to undergraduates about their application experiences.

UKCAT preparation advice from Nottingham University.   

Access to specialist Medical magazines and research in the Study Centre.

Two visits to the Hunterian Museum in Cambridge: Surgical Skills workshop and Medical Ethics.

We advertise work experience opportunities at Addenbrooke’s Hospital at the beginning of Year 12

We organise talks from successful SWCHS medical applicants.

Year 13 Programme

The UCAS application process for all applicants – so both Early Applicants and the mainstream – begins during Progression, in July. Here the application process is outlined, there are Masterclasses on how to write a competitive Personal Statement, and there is time set aside to start a Personal Statement and to complete the UCAS form.

  • During Progression and at the beginning of Year 13, Early Applicants will receive a number of different talks from Oxbridge tutors on how to make a competitive application.
  • Early Applicants are expected to have a working draft of their Personal Statement finished by the end of the summer holidays and a completed draft by the end of September. This usually involves several drafts, working with their Tutor, the Deputy Head of 6th and a subject specialist where necessary.
  • Early Applicants apply well before the October deadline.
  • Whilst Oxbridge entrance tests are designed so that candidates cannot prepare for them in terms of content revision, students sit all tests at school; would-be Medics are allowed time off school to sit the medical application tests.
  • Once the application has been submitted, wherever possible mock interviews are arranged with an expert in the field. If necessary, subsequent mock interviews also take place with relevant staff (especially with Medics).