We spoke to three Welsh students who, with the help of the Seren Network, were part of the Sutton Trust US Programme this summer; a programme designed to encourage bright, state school students to consider applying to American universities.
Three groups of students spent a week in different areas of the US, learning more about life in higher education in America while also visiting some of the country’s best universities.
The programme is free of charge for the selected students.
Thomas Evans, from Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron travelled to New York, visiting Yale University, Skidmore University, Connecticut College and Wesleyan University.
“Once upon a time, spending a whole week at Yale University and being presented with so many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, was a dream.
“Due to the Seren Network’s relationship with the Sutton Trust US programme, my dream has become a reality.
“I have learnt so much during my time in the US, from speaking to American admissions officers from over 30 different institutions in Harvard University to being mentored by members of the Fulbright commission.
“This programme has allowed for me to realise my own academic potential, which has significantly increased my confidence for both my UK and US admissions.
“More importantly this programme has surrounded me with like-minded people who have become like family to me and are solely responsible for catalysing my success in the process of American admissions so far.
“I’d encourage everyone to apply – even if you are not admitted into the programme, the actual application process is very similar to the American university application process, and many of the skills you will acquire merely through your application process are extremely valuable ones.”
Elli Rees from Gower College Swansea went to Boston, visiting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dartmouth University, Smith University, Bowdoin University, Amherst University and Babson University.
“If I could sum up my week in Boston, staying in MIT in but a few words I would simply say it was an unforgettable, lifechanging experience that I would encourage everyone to apply for.
“MIT’s campus was incredible; the architecture was amazing and quirky.
“It wasn’t necessarily my favourite university – there were too many to choose from, from Dartmouth the ‘baby Ivy League’ where Dr Seuss graduated, to Bowdoin where they do amazing marine biology research and finally Amherst, a beautiful university which looks like it’s come out of a fairy tale!
“The best thing about the week was how every day was amazing, hilarious and intense, yet still managed to prepare us all for the college fair.
“In the college fair we met a vast amount of colleges ranging from small liberal arts colleges, to women’s colleges and ivy league universities – giving us the opportunity to find so many more universities to fall in love with.
“On top of this, it also taught us so much about talking to admissions officers and getting started on our university applications for after the week had ended.
“We also formed great friendships and became a true part of the Sutton Trust family – I can’t wait to see where I go with the Sutton Trust and my brilliant friends from around the UK’s support.”
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Naomi Gauden from Heolddu Comprehensive travelled to Philadelphia, visiting Princeton University, Bryn Mawr University, Swarthmore University and Lafayette University.
“The Sutton Trust US programme is an experience that I will forever be grateful for.
“It has allowed me to develop myself into a more confident and aspirational young woman.
“I was worried I wouldn’t fit in but every aspect of the programme such as the Fulbright staff, the team leaders and each other applicant were welcoming and made me feel at home instantly.
“I have made some amazing friends and the list keeps growing with every experience the programme provides.
“I visited some of the most breath-taking universities and had an insight as to what being an American student would entail – something I will hopefully get to experience myself one day.
“I would encourage anyone to take advantage of this programme if US study is a dream of yours.”
For more information on the programme and how to apply visit: https://us.suttontrust.com/