Reading together

Supercurricular reading group

This year, Worcester College will be running a supercurricular reading group for Year 12 students at state schools in Bradford, Leeds, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield and Northamptonshire. Students in the reading group will consult subject-specific academic resources on a range of different topics. They will then be invited to discuss these resources over four weeks in a series of after-school Zoom meetings with others who are applying for similar university subjects. The reading group will conclude with a personal statement workshop in August. Our aim is to give students the skills to find their own resources, evaluate the materials they use, talk about their academic interests with confidence, and ultimately make a competitive application to a top university.

Each Zoom meeting will last for one hour, and students will be expected to spend around 30 minutes preparing for each session. We anticipate that students who sign up will do their best to attend as many of the sessions as possible, rather than one or two. The programme will run as follows:

  • Tuesday 1 June, 5 - 6pm – Welcome: an introduction to the supercurricular reading group
  • Tuesday 15 June, 5 - 6pm – Gamechangers: asking and answering pivotal questions about your subject
  • Tuesday 22 June, 5 - 6pm – Hot topics: interpreting the current world through the lens of your subject
  • Tuesday 29 June, 5 - 6pm – Ones to watch: looking ahead to future developments in the field
  • Tuesday 6 July, 5 - 6pm – Hidden gems: specialising within the general
  • Tuesday 31 August, 5 - 6pm: personal statement workshop

If you would like to take part, please fill in this application form by 5pm on Monday 24 May 2021. We will be in touch with applicants soon after this date. Please note that if the reading group is oversubscribed, we will prioritise applications from students who attend non-selective schools or schools with little to no history of applying to highly selective universities. The reading group is currently only open to Year 12 students at state schools in Bradford, Leeds, Calderdale, Kirklees, Wakefield and Northamptonshire. If you have any questions, please contact Claire Sims at



Is this reading group only for people who will be applying to Oxford? No – supercurriculars are useful for all university applications, so you are welcome to join us even if you are not going to apply to this university. However, we will cover some specific material about the Oxford application process at a couple of points in the programme, and the courses we mention will usually be courses offered at Oxford.

What if I don’t know which university subject I would like to study? It will be helpful if you have at least a sense of what you would like to study at university – i.e. a science subject, a humanities subject, or a social sciences subject – but you won’t need to have made any firm decisions. You can find some more guidance about subject choice in this video.

Can I apply for this programme if I’m not in Year 12? Unfortunately, our supercurricular reading group is limited to Year 12s. If you are in a different year group, you may be interested in some of our other outreach activities and/or outreach initiatives offered by the wider university.

Will this programme tell me which supercurriculars I should use to make a successful application? We will offer suggestions, but in general, we hope to give you the skills to find your own resources independently. After all, universities want to hear about your own academic interests, which will be unique to you! For more guidance on this, download our PDF guide to supercurriculars on the right.

I'm a teacher - can I sign a group of students up for this programme? We welcome multiple applications from the same school, but we would like each student to sign up individually by submitting their own application form.

Where can I learn more about applying to the University of Oxford? The application process is covered in detail on the university website. Worcester College has a number of other outreach programmes which are designed to help students make strong university applications – you can find them listed here.

Where can I find out more about supercurriculars? Download our new PDF guide to supercurriculars, or watch our introductory video: