Meet St Brendan’s staff in Hong Kong, Macau and Chengdu 6-12th April 2017.
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Embarking on a journey through further education can be thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time – especially for a new student who needs to adjust to a brand-new country and new stage in life. But St. Brendan’s Sixth Form College doesn’t just aim to help every student achieve their true potential; it also provides the tools to create a memorable student experience.
“The end of your time at your school or academy can appear both exciting and daunting, therefore, as you face a time of change, both in your academic and social life, it is essential that you make such important decisions with as much information at your fingertips as possible,” says Michael Jaffrain, Principal of the College.
Set in the vibrant city of Bristol, St. Brendan’s College is a state-funded specialist further education provider that seeks to offer ambitious young students with a well-balanced education that will propel them to new heights. Founded in 1896, the College provides a platform for local and international students age 16 to 19 to make that leap to higher education with an ideal pre-university education.
“The reason I applied was to improve my biology and chemistry in the hope of getting grades to go onto study medicine. So far there has been nothing that has caused me to regret the path that I have chosen coming here; I improved drastically in just the first three months. I’ve begun to understand things that I haven’t been able to since the beginning of my GCSE’s which is something I never expected,” says Evgeniya Boytsova, an international student originally from Russia.
A strong international community
Starting school in a new country can be daunting, but international students at St. Brendan’s know they are in good hands, coming from all four corners of the globe – Albania, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Iran, Macau, Malaysia and Russia – to create a culturally diverse and welcoming student community.
“The first few days were a bit difficult of course because, unlike other students, I did not have any friends to start off with…But I made some new friends within days, which shows how open the college is and how they willingly accept students from a different country,” says Poh Jian Hui, a 17-year-old student from Malaysia.
With applicants coming from all over, students meet a heap of new people, learn about new cultures and build a unique global network, granting them a personalised and truly unforgettable international student experience.
Flexible study choices and excellent results
St Brendan’s offers A-level and BTEC programmes in more than 60 different subjects at Level 3, with the opportunity to combine any disciplines. “Being able to choose my own subjects and having a flexible timetable has allowed me to carry out a science project and other activities that are not related to my lessons,” says Jenny, an international student originally from China. Flexible options have no doubt worked well, as the college reports a 97.4 percent pass rate for its A-level results last year.
If you think that’s impressive, wait until you hear about the College’s Advanced Graduate Programme (AGP). Acing your studies at St. Brendan’s is just the beginning of the road to higher education – which we all know to be a tough one at times. But St. Brendan’s students worry much less, as the College provides a bespoke academic and pastoral programme that gives them the chance to develop their talents and enrich their academic career.
Students can apply for the AGP, which provides specialist support such as guidance with personal statements from within the college and from universities, including Oxbridge and Russell Group institutions, assistance with UCAS applications, mock interview practice with staff and guest interviewers from industry, as well as support with admissions tests from subject specialists.
And if you fancy even more of a challenge, join a series of lectures, talks and workshops – known as Masterclasses – which count as extra-curricular activities. “The programme offers opportunities to prepare for university and future careers, with trips, masterclasses, open days and more,” adds Jenny. With 73 percent of AGP students accepting spots at leading Universities – including a number from the elite Russell Group – this programme is something you wouldn’t want to miss.
While it takes time to adjust to any new environment, it certainly helps knowing you’ll have a comfortable place to live. At St. Brendan’s, international students are placed with carefully-vetted host families to improve their English, and benefit from the support of a caring UK family.
“The family treats me with respect and I am comfortable living here as they not only provide the accommodation but also let me take part in their conversations and allow me to express my opinion and elevate my English language skills,” says Mohammad, a student from Iran.
“It’s a hard choice at the end of the day moving away from your family to somewhere you’re unfamiliar with but you’ll get used to it after a little time, it’s easy to get comfortable with your host family and mine’s been nothing but great and supportive, friends are great and easy to make as well and personally I don’t think the education could get any better just as long as you put the effort in yourself at the end of the day,” adds Evgeniya.
A college with fantastic enrichment activities
“I was glad to be able to visit the school when I was applying. There are enriching academic activities to take part in, such as science and math Olympiads, the CREST Gold, EPQ and subject related field-trips,” says Jenny. At St. Brendan’s, students get to participate in a variety of enrichment activities during their spare time that can help them develop new skills to increase their employability.
On top of that, it is a great way to meet new friends and enhance your personal statement. The college offers activities in several clubs including Performing Arts Academy, Sports Union, and Student Union as well as subject-related activities like STEM, and BioMed.
At St. Brendan’s Sixth Form College, students have the opportunity to study at an institution with a strong academic focus alongside an outstanding social experience. If you’re looking to strike the perfect balance between both, this College should certainly be top of your list.