Thomas Tiltman – My Seren Summer School Experience 2018

“I was asked to go to Jesus College Oxford for a summer school run by the Seren Network.

“Despite my limited knowledge of this area, I decided to go down for the week. Now, since coming back, I know it was probably the best decision I could’ve made. The wide varieties of lectures and people there made for an unforgettable week.

“Since STEM is my favourite academic area, I was naturally very interested into the various STEM lectures, like ‘logical paradoxes, the development of the foetus and exo-planets’ (my favourite lecture, since planets and the hunt for life has always fascinated me). But I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the other lectures, likely due to how good the lecturers were and how completely in love they are with their subject.

“I honestly expected Oxford to be like the obvious stereotypes, but this wasn’t always the case. I was surprised by how laid back everyone was, even the lecturers. They all felt very down to earth and were happy to help and answer any questions if you didn’t understand something.

“The university itself was somehow very big and small at the same time. The colleges themselves feel quite small and cosy, while the university itself felt huge, since it owns an awful lot of the area around Oxford (a lot of the parks, facilities etc.). Despite this, it still felt homely, and the rooms themselves didn’t feel like generic student rooms.


“The tutorials themselves were a lot of fun. The small group sizes (at max, three students to one lecturer) made for some interesting debates on our essays, allowing me to learn a great deal and really stretch my ability to come up with clever arguments when trying to play the devil’s advocate. I really think I could learn a lot from these tutorials – if I get into Oxford that is!

“After all of this, I find it hard to not be inspired to apply to Oxbridge. The environment is a lot of fun and the lecturers are all top of their field experts. The students are all friendly and the tutorials are fantastic. Now I just need to tackle the admissions process.

*NB – This autumn, Seren will be running a series of admissions coaching sessions. Stay tuned on the blog and ask your hub coordinator for more information.

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