Reading together

Supercurricular reading group

This year, Worcester College will once again 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 Teams 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 online 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 24 May, 5 - 6pm – Welcome: an introduction to the supercurricular reading group
  • Tuesday 7 June, 5 - 6pm – Gamechangers: asking and answering pivotal questions about your subject
  • Tuesday 14 June, 5 - 6pm – Hot topics: interpreting the current world through the lens of your subject
  • Tuesday 21 June, 5 - 6pm – Ones to watch: looking ahead to future developments in the field
  • Tuesday 28 June, 5 - 6pm – Hidden gems: specialising within the general
  • Tuesday 30 August, 5 - 6pm: personal statement workshop

If you would like to take part, please fill in this application form by 5pm on Friday 13 May 2022. We will be in touch with applicants via email soon after this date. Students on the programme should also expect to receive a supplementary booklet in the post in early May. 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 admissions@worc.ox.ac.uk.

Feedback from previous participants:

  • "Thank you so much for running this programme. I have really enjoyed it and it has really helped me get to grips with analysing supercurriculars and discussing ideas. It is especially hard to make time for supercurriculars during term time because there is so much to do, however this reading group has been so engaging and manageable. I really hope you are able to organise a similar programme for prospective students next year."
  • "I liked the small group nature of the discussion, at least in my subject area - everyone got the chance to contribute their ideas as and when they had them, and there was plenty of opportunity for actually discussing points and building on the ideas of others, something which I wasn't expecting given that this was over the internet! The several extra resources provided specific to each individual subject each week were all highly relevant, varied and interesting, and the general resource and questions enabled wider themes to be explored across diverse subjects."
  • "I feel more confident in discussing and picking out big themes in my subject, which will be really beneficial for the upcoming university application process."

FAQs:

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: