Students at EF Academy Oxford recently got to visit the campus of one of the “top 10” universities in the world and one of the best for STEM subjects: the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London – or Imperial for short.
As well as a practical visit, it was also meant to be aspirational. Over the past few years, students have gone on from EF Academy Oxford to Imperial to read subjects as diverse as Physics (with 41 IB Diploma points), Medicine (also with 41), and Mathematics & Statistics (with A-level grades of A*AA).
Imperial College is located in one of the major cultural areas of London, near to the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Music, the Royal College of Art, the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum; and the shops of Kensington. But it is also very close to the wide open spaces of Hyde Park.
We were divided into groups, led by a teacher each, and visited the campus while being in awe of the state-of-the art buildings. We were able to get the feel of what university life holds for us. While at the campus, we came across the ‘Food Fair’. Food stalls were organized by Imperial students where food from all around the world was available, so we filled our stomachs while exploring the busy campus. Just being on the campus gave us a clear idea of the fast-paced life of being at a university!
The visit to Imperial was a small part of EF Academy Oxford’s “Science, Technology, and Engineering” Pathway program. Each of EF Academy Oxford’s pathways is designed to encourage students, from September of Year 1, to focus sharply on their particular areas of academic and career interest. Other opportunities for those on the Science, Technology and Engineering pathway include the “mathematics applications” seminars, run by a former EF Academy Oxford student who is now at Oxford University, or the many talks at the Oxford’s Mathematical Institute, or the trips the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories or the atomic energy research establishment at Harwell. Each student who is on a particular pathway has as their Academic Tutor a member of staff who teaches them one of the main subjects for that pathway for several hours a week. I have Grahame, who also teaches me Higher Level Mathematics, and so knows how I learn. Students meet with their Academic Tutors at least once every two weeks one-to-one, for about 10 minutes, to review academic progress along the student’s pathway.
Just before the visit to Imperial, we met with representatives from 30 universities at the EF College Fair, at a hotel on St. James Street. The hall was filled with stalls – from the University of Nottingham, HULT, to Queen Mary, London. We gathered information about course requirements and campus facilities. We had already been guided to make the most of this visit, and questions had been suggested by the school University Guidance Team. Is assessment mainly by ongoing coursework or examination? What are the employment prospects for your graduates? What’s the proportion of international students? What are the opportunities for internships/study abroad?
The response to the whole trip to London was nothing less than amazing! Students said that the visit helped them get accurate information from the university teams regarding the requirements and the facilities such as scholarships and on-campus options for them. They were also able to learn about the future prospects regarding the subject areas they are interested in.
Written by: Ehtisham Chaudhary, IB Year 1 student; doing the Science, Technology, Engineering Pathway