Our advice to Seren learners considering applying to international universities

We speak to Elli Rees and Jacinta Speer who are both studying at international universities and who are joining us as teaching assistants at this year’s Seren International Online Summer School, to hear their top advice for those of you thinking of applying to universities overseas.

Tell us a little bit more about yourselves…

Elli: Hi everyone, I’m Elli from Llanelli, and I am a rising Junior at St John’s College, Annapolis. I was a Seren student four years ago and at the time, I would never have thought I’d be studying in the US now or typing this blog from Rome where I am currently studying for the summer.


Jacinta: I’m Jacinta and I’m from Australia. I’m a rising senior studying at Yale-NUS College in Singapore – which means I’m starting my fourth and final year soon.

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Advice to my younger self…

By Joe Tresidder, Swansea, South Wales. A second year Modern and Medieval Languages (French and Spanish) undergraduate student at Clare College, Cambridge, and teaching assistant for the Seren International Online Summer School 2021.

“A few years ago, I was like many of you: Anxiously thinking through university and course options for when I would finish sixth form. I remember thinking that the sheer range of possible courses, let alone the choice of studying at different types of universities, seemed very overwhelming and stressful at times!

To be perfectly honest with you all, even after I had reached the end of year 12, I wasn’t 100% sure about the course that I wanted to study in university, which made me a bit anxious. I always knew that I was interested in languages, but I also could not help but think about whether I wanted to study history, or law, or politics. So I completely understand how difficult it can seem when everyone expects you to make up your mind about what you’re going to study for the next few years of your life. After all, there is plenty to consider, and it’s okay to take a bit of time to decide.

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Beyond the MAT: top tips to ace your university maths interview

After sitting your MAT test and (fingers crossed) achieving a result you’re happy with, the next step in your university application will be the interview stage. This is often a very nerve-wracking experience for many applicants who aren’t sure what to expect. However, through plenty of practice and preparation, you can build your confidence and feel ready to take on the big day.

Here, Francis Hunt, Maths Enrichment Coordinator from the Further Maths Support Programme Wales – a Swansea University-based scheme designed to support learners interested in studying maths at higher levels – shares his top tips to prepare for your university maths interview.

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How Seren helped Abi set her sights on Oxford

Abi Vukashin is a Year 13 student at Cardinal Newman School, Pontypridd, and has received an offer to study Medicine at New College, Oxford this year.

However, being from a Welsh state school and having no family background in Medicine, Abi doubted her own skills and abilities to secure a place, and was initially very reluctant to apply to Oxford.

But through her own drive and determination, and by making the most of the opportunities presented to her by Seren and other sources, Abi realised that studying medicine at Oxford was an achievable goal…

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How the LEDLET Summer Scheme helps you on the path to studying law at university

Apprehensive at first, Ryan Lenihan, 17, from Gower College Swansea took the plunge and applied for the 2020 LEDLET Summer Scheme run in partnership with Legal Wales.

Here he tells us why it’s important to have self-belief and the confidence to grab opportunities, and aim high if you want to pursue your passion…

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The Power of Talking for Mental Wellbeing

Mind Cymru shares its tops tips on how to find the time to talk and look after your mental health.

With today marking Time to Talk Day, a day which encourages the nation to get talking about mental health and help end the stigma around it, there’s never been a better time to open up, express how you’re feeling and consider ways you can take care of your wellbeing.

And, with so much going on in the world at the moment it’s perfectly normal to feel a bit more stressed or anxious, so it’s especially important to keep talking and take positive steps to look after yourself.

We ‘talked’ with mental health charity, Mind Cymru, and anti-stigma campaign, Time to Change Wales, to offer five powerful top tips on how we can all care for and improve our mental health and wellbeing during the lockdown.

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From Ceredigion to Cambridge

What should I study at university? It’s a common question for many starting Year 12, so don’t worry if you’re still unsure.

Read how Seren helped Lucy explore and develop her passion for languages and gave her the boost in confidence to apply to study at Cambridge.

Lucy Hill (18), Studying Modern and Medieval Languages at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

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Seren Prospectus – Class of 2020/2021

Download our latest prospectus for students and parents/carers and learn more about how Seren helps Wales’ brightest learners reach their academic potential.

Being a Seren student means you will be offered an extensive range of activities that you can take part in, resources to download, webinars and masterclasses to log into, and summer schools to apply for. All of which are designed to support your ongoing studies and help you realise your ambition of furthering your education at a leading university, if that’s where you want to go next.

We encourage you to grab as many opportunities as you can, but what you choose to get involved with is up to you.

You all have aspirations, ambitions, and goals. Seren is here to help you reach for the stars!

Seren-US summer schools for Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS), Harvard, and Chicago Universities for 2020.

Unfortunately, we are in the throes of COVID-19, which has changed our landscape beyond any comprehension. We’ve had to make some very tough decisions over the last few days, including school closures and cancelling exams.

One difficult decision has been to cancel the Seren-US summer schools for Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS), Harvard, and Chicago Universities for 2020.

Working within the guidelines and advice provided by the World Health Organisation, it is absolutely paramount to safeguard staff, parents, and young people. Currently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are restricting students to travel internationally, and of course there are clear restrictions for UK citizens entering the United States. Whilst we don’t have definite details of the timescale associated with the pandemic, we do know that the Welsh Government, and Governments across the world, are preparing to cancel events and unnecessary travel for all their citizens.

The latest guidance from Welsh Government is always available on our website at gov.wales/coronavirus

The Minister has been clear that the continuity of education and the wellbeing of all learners has been at the heart of her decision making. This will always be the case.

Seren Jesus College Summer School: Guest blog from Dr Matt Williams

Applications for this year’s Seren Jesus College Summer School open on Tuesday 3rd March 2020. The Summer School is taking place 17th to 21st August and will be based on the theme ‘Intelligence: Real and Artificial’. We spoke to Dr Matt Williams, Access Fellow at Jesus College, who shares what’s on offer during the exclusive week-long programme and explores this year’s theme.

What can I expect from this year’s Summer School?

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