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Former Huddersfield New College student Jenny O’ Sullivan visited HNC this week to share more not only about her journey to the University of Cambridge, but also how her participation in the Poetry by Heart competition supported her ambitions and provided a unique experience during her time at College. 

Jenny returned to HNC to speak to some of our future Oxbridge applicants. As part of the Aspire programme, students who are considering applying to these especially competitive institutions receive an enhanced package of support and opportunities to help them realise this ambition. In 2020 five students reached the final interview stage, with two students successfully securing offers - giving HNC a 2 in 5 success rate against a national context of 1 in 5. 

Jenny, who studied German and Spanish at King’s College Cambridge and graduated with a First last year, spent time with our future Oxbridge applicants sharing her advice and insights. Jenny is now preparing for her curatorial traineeship at a gallery in Leicester. Her visit was particularly timely as Jenny reached the final stages of the Poetry by Heart competition. HNC students are currently being encouraged to participate in this national competition and benefit from the unique experience. Jenny also spoke about her experiences of this and encouraged students to try something new.  

Jenny says: “I always found it very easy to access support at HNC, whether for my dyslexia, or for applying to Cambridge. Staff went above and beyond to make sure I had everything I needed to apply, without ever pressuring me. We attended HE+ and mock interviews, went on trips to universities and were encouraged to apply for the free Sutton Trust and UNIQ Summer Schools. Attending both summer schools was an incredibly valuable and eye-opening experience, and genuinely gave me some of my happiest memories."

"At HNC I was able to keep exploring all my interests. I enjoyed studying both academic and vocational qualifications, taking on extra languages, entering design competitions, performing music at events, and most memorably, entering the Poetry by Heart competition. This really increased my confidence and introduced me to some of my now-favourite poets. It was lovely to revisit College!”

Scott Townshend, Aspire Programme Lead comments: “It was an absolute delight to welcome Jenny back to HNC and hear about her journey. It is fantastic for our students interested in applying to Oxbridge to hear the real stories of our former students, these are incredibly helpful and add a new dimension to the support we offer for this highly competitive process. We hope that many of our students will be inspired to explore the possibilities of the Poetry by Heart competition. We’d like to thank Jenny for taking the time to visit HNC.”

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