Callywith alumni share their university experiences

We recently welcomed back some of our wonderful former students to our Academic Academy to talk to current students about their university experiences - from applying and choosing a university to living away from home and balancing studies with social life.

Alfie, Angeline, Georgia and Cerys

Former A Level Law, History, Geography and Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) student Georgia Stevens, who is now a first year Law student at Oxford University, shared how the application process for Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge universities) is different to other universities: “One of the perks of applying to Oxbridge is you have to submit your UCAS application earlier, which means that you can get it out the way and don't have to worry about it. Most people will attend 2-3 interviews and then there are also admissions tests.”

Georgia, who previously attended Holsworthy Community College, shared how the College have helped her throughout her application: “There's a lot of support at Callywith with applying to Oxbridge including setting up mock interviews, which definitely helped. I spoke to some lawyers and some barristers, and they grilled me which is great because you need it!”

Georgia also spoke about the differences in teaching at Oxford and other universities: “When studying law, you are not taught in lectures. You're mainly taught in tutorials with a tutor partner and a professor. It can be quite scary, but it's so good, because you get to chat one-on-one with professors who are the biggest names in the field, which I think is really great, you're not going to get teaching like it anywhere else.

“There's also a lot of financial support at Oxford, which I think is something to bear in mind. They are quite generous with their bursaries and scholarships, so try not to worry about finances if that's something you're concerned about.”

Georgia shared her tips on revising for A Levels: “I made summary sheets for absolutely everything, I love using lots of colour and Quizlet was absolutely key for law and history in particular. I would not have got A*s without it. Also, going back and revising your old content whilst practicing exam questions. That would be my biggest advice.”

Georgia also shared her advice for those considering applying: “Definitely try not to be scared by Oxbridge, anybody can do it, I was scared about being from a rural area, the first one in my family to go to university, having never been to private school or anything like that, but it's definitely not what you think it is, you're not surrounded by posh people all the time. It can be really good and I meet a lot of people like me.

“I would definitely recommend applying if you can, because you’ve got nothing to lose!”

Georgia Stevens - Law, Oxford University

Former A Level History, English Literature, Philosophy and EPQ student Cerys Chadd, who is now in her second year studying Ancient History at Durham University, shared how she came to choose Durham: “Choosing a university is a very important decision, distance and location is something you have to consider. I was a bit scared of going to a big city, but you can find other places like Cornwall. For me, Durham is a great location; 20 mins by bus to the beach and 10 mins by train into Newcastle. Even though it’s far away, it’s not a big city, not everywhere out of Cornwall is going to be a massive city and really daunting.

“Also, you may want to go where your friends are, but don't make that your deciding factor because you're going to make friends while you're there. Definitely look at open days, you get to look around but it’s also a way to make friends, so if you’re nervous about going to university, you’ve got some people you already know.”

Cerys, who previously attended Wadebridge School, also spoke about other opportunities she is involved in at university including lacrosse and the Arts Society where she was involved with organising the annual ball and arts week, which she found was a great way to make friends and learn new skills.

Cerys’ advice to students is to find balance with their studying: “I think I didn’t have the balance quite right in the first year, but that’s something you learn, so don’t worry if you don’t think you’re doing enough or doing too much, you’ll find your way. In your first year, you’ll want to establish a routine, like how you study and the best way to revise. My tip would be to start essays early and don’t leave them until the night before!”

Cerys Chadd - Ancient History, Durham University

Former A Level Law, Psychology and English Language & Literature student Keeanna Gosling, who completed her degree in Law with Criminology at University of Plymouth, is now working as a Clinical Negligence Paralegal at Wolferstans.

Keeanna, who previously attended Launceston College, shared her advice for current students: “It's important to socialise with people on your course and your flatmates especially, because building those relationships with people is actually what helps get you through your degree. You’re all in the same boat, so to go through it together is a great thing to have and to have that support bubble around you is really helpful.”

Keeana also spoke about the work experience she undertook in her third year: “My work placement was so beneficial to my career, it allows you to put what you study into practice which gives you an insight into the career path that you’re wanting to take. Workplaces always want experience over just what you know, so definitely go for it if you’re able to get that experience, it gave me the job that I have today!”

Keeanna Gosling - Law and Criminology, Plymouth University

Former A Level Law, Business and Psychology student Alfie Branch, who is now in his second year studying Law at Cardiff University, shared how he originally applied for a degree in paramedic science, but later decided he wanted to study law: “With the help of my amazing lecturers at Callywith and many phone calls with UCAS, I discovered UCAS Extra which allowed me to withdraw from all my chosen universities and add an extra university in February, when I applied to study Law at Cardiff University.”

Alfie, who previously attended Launceston College, shared his experiences at university so far: “Moving to Cardiff was super exciting but one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever done. For me and probably for most of you here, it was the first time moving away from home, living alone, having to cook, wash, be an adult for the first time. But I met my flatmates, and they were just lovely.

“The first few months of uni were very different to college, what you get is what you give at uni; you have to put in what you want to get back. You’ll get the balance of your social life, your free time and your studies. I also got a job as a bartender, I'm someone who likes to stay busy and having that extra bit of money come in is always helpful and you meet even more people who don't go to uni or do different courses.

“This year, I also took on pro bono (volunteering in law) and I am a team leader of a Support Through Court (STC) group providing legal advice to litigants – individuals who are going through the court system without legal representation, providing support by helping them to fill out forms and finding a solicitor.

“I also joined the Fitness and Dance Society. Joining a society is one of the most beneficial things you can do. It gives you a break from your degree and you're meeting so many people from different courses and different years.

“Whilst at uni, you’ll also have to learn how to structure yourself financially; weekly food shops and circuit laundry. Luckily for me, Cardiff is a very cheap student city.

“Uni is a time to discover yourself, figure out who you want to be, where you want to go in life. Always say yes to opportunities if you can. I've met some of my best friends at the most unexpected events!”

Alfie Branch - Law, Cardiff University

Former BTEC Level 3 Business Diploma student Angeline Toledo, who previously attended Launceston College and is now in her second year studying Business and Digital Marketing at Falmouth University, shared some helpful tips: “In your first year, you're definitely very nervous and then you sort of start to get used to things. My top tip is definitely to go to open days, not only to get a better feel for the uni, but also a feel for the location.

“Also, don’t stress about whether you're going to get your chosen accommodation because at the end of the day you're only living there for less than a year and you're going to be in the same position as everyone else. I made friends with people in my flat very quickly. You’ll make friends with your course mates as well.

“I think one thing that's really important to remember is to always ask for help, no matter how stupid you think the question is, your lecturers are there to support you all the way. They’re not there to give you a hard time, they want you to be comfortable and they want to see you succeed.

“Before your lectures, I would also make sure to have at least a little bit of knowledge of what you're going to do for the week; objectives and topics, just as a kick start to your studying.”

Angeline Toledo - Business and Digital Marketing, Falmouth University

Following the talk, former students held a Q&A with current Callywith students and were asked some brilliant questions about the application process, writing personal statements and revision tips for A Levels.

Thank you to all our former students for coming back to visit us, we are very proud of you all and wish you the best of luck in your remaining time at uni and beyond!

For more of our former students' stories, visit our ALUMNI PAGE.