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Aiming for Oxbridge


Final preparations are underway for Trent College students who have their Oxbridge admissions tests fast approaching at the end of the month. The tests are bespoke for each subject area and have been designed to help the Oxford and Cambridge university admissions teams choose between all of the high achieving candidates who apply.

This year, Trent College has eleven Year 13 students hoping to secure a place at the prestigious universities and study a vast variety of courses from Medicine through to Law.

Trent College has a strong track record of successful Oxbridge applications. Typically one third of students who apply secure their dream of an Oxbridge education.  Helping students on this journey is Dr Helen Johnson, Assistant Head (Director of Academic Excellence), who previously worked in the Oxford Admissions team. With this first-hand experience, Dr Johnson knows exactly what students need to portray for a successful application.

“Trent prides itself on developing each individual, there are opportunities for students of all ages to take part in. Academic co-curricular activities and specialist events for high achieving students develop a range of transferable skills and interests which bolster their applications.” Dr Johnson, Assistant Head (Director of Academic Excellence).

Joe Sisson, an Old Trident now studying PPE at Oxford, said, “Debating was invaluable in my Oxford application. It’s challenging and incredibly rewarding and it’s been really exciting to see it develop at Trent.”

At Oxford University alone, there are on average 20,000 applications per year for approximately 3,250 places. Most of these students will have the academic ability to meet the tough entry requirements, but how does a Trent College application stand out against the rest?

Oxbridge Society – is a co-curricular group for those who aspire to join the world renowned universities. During the Oxbridge sessions, students participate in discussions based around interview questions, prepare for entrance papers and identify areas where they can go above and beyond in other co-curricular opportunities offered at Trent.

Debating – is a popular club with the Oxbridge hopefuls. Developing the art of communication, persuasion and on the spot thinking stands students in great stead. The debating team is highly successful at both a team level and individually at regional competitions. Three former Trent debaters are now in the Oxford University debating squad and Joe Sisson is currently co-organiser of the prestigious Oxford Schools Debating Competition.

Well rounded individuals – are developed at Trent. Personal characteristics are celebrated here as students undertake a journey of self-discovery through the academic and co-curricular opportunities available. Participating in the charity team or joining a sports team are just two of many activities which enhance the confidence of the students.

Leadership skills - are also well regarded for applications to courses such as Medicine, which is why Sixth Formers are encouraged to apply for one of the 60 roles of responsibility across the school.  

“Whether it be the academic excellence or the extra-curricular opportunities so much of Trent is geared towards achieving the best that you can possibly achieve. The support that you receive gives every student the confidence to apply to the best universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. I wouldn’t be studying at Oxford were it not for the advice given by the wonderful higher education team at Trent.” Cameron Bovell (former Head Boy now studying History at Oxford)

To discuss your academic pathway and a Sixth Form scholarship at Trent College please contact our Admissions Manager, Mrs Helen Pearce-McNeill, on 0115 849 4950 or email

We would also be delighted to welcome your family on a personal tour of Trent College. Our tours are a great way to see the school in action and involve informal visits to classrooms and facilities to see our pupils at work. A one to one meeting with Dr Johnson can also be arranged if you wish to discuss the Oxbridge application process.

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