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Valleys college celebrates Oxbridge offers

Pictured: Seth, Jacob and Grace have all received offers for Oxford this September

Valleys college Coleg y Cymoedd is celebrating a string of Oxbridge offers.

The college, which serves learners from across Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, has seen three learners secure offers from the University of Oxford. 

Eighteen-year-old Seth Olner from Pontyclun, who is currently studying A levels in History, English Literature, and Government and Politics at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus, is one of the learners to have been offered a place.

After achieving 5As in his History, English Lit, Law, French and Politics AS levels, and being predicted top grades in his current studies, Seth is on track to study law at New College Oxford.

The talented learner set his sights on becoming a barrister three years ago, after being inspired by a court case he was following closely at the time. Soon after, Seth got involved in public speaking and joined the college’s debating team, which lead him to win a place on the English-Speaking Union debate academy – a week-long debating summer school for 14–18-year-olds delivered by some of the best coaches and debaters in the world.

Wanting to best prepare himself for his dream career, Seth knew early on that he wanted to apply to top universities in the UK and became headset on getting into Oxford. He also took part in the Sutton Trust Pathways to Law programme, joining skills workshops, receiving mentoring, and attending a law work placement. As someone keen to make a difference and help those in need, Seth’s hope is to specialise in human rights law in the future. 

He said: “For years I’ve wanted to be a barrister, and a very good barrister at that so that I can represent people in court and defend legal institutions. An Oxford law degree is the best way to make sure I become as trained, qualified and skilled in the profession as I hope to be. The application process for Oxford was long and quite gruelling, but fun along the way and definitely worth the challenge. 

“Getting an offer is very, very exciting. I feel very lucky. I really hope to confirm my place later this year and can’t wait to make the most of it.

Also celebrating an offer at Oxford is Grace Bennett, 17, from Ferndale, who is hoping to study Biochemistry at the prestigious university after completing her A levels in Chemistry, Biology and Maths. Getting a place at Oxford has long been a goal for Grace and her dream is to get the education she needs to move into a career helping to find cures for different types of cancer. Wanting to give herself the best shot at getting into Oxford, Grace took part in the University of Oxford’s UNIQ summer school, which helps prepare learners for the application process.

Grace said: “Studying at Oxford has been an aspiration of mine for many years. The quality of the education, teaching styles and facilities available are some of the many features that attracted me, and I believe I could reach my full potential there and go on to a career I love.

“I found the application process easy to follow, but very stressful. I had two interviews – the first was actually quite enjoyable and the interviewers were very friendly, instantly putting me at ease, but in my second interview, my nerves got the better of me which meant I was unable to answer some questions. I still got my offer though which is great.  It’s really exciting to be given this opportunity as so few people get it, especially people from my area.”

Jacob Armour, 18, from Porth is also looking forward to the possibility of becoming an Oxford undergraduate after receiving an offer to study Law at Brasenose College. With aspirations to become a solicitor, Jacob, who is currently studying A levels in Maths, Biology, History and Government & Politics, believes studying at Oxford will help him to fulfil his ambitions.

Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, Jonathan Morgan, said: “It’s always amazing news to see our learners achieving their full potential and we are committed to supporting them to achieve their goals whatever they may be. Seth, Grace, and Jacob have worked incredibly hard and are very deserving of their offers. We wish them all the best for the rest of the academic year to secure their places. We have no doubt they will see every success.”