My Seren/Jesus College Summer School experience

We spoke to Joe Phelps, a year 13 student from the Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire hub, who told us about his experience from Seren/Jesus College Summer School last year.


Why did you apply for Seren/ Jesus College Summer School?

“I applied for the Seren/Jesus College Summer School in the hope of finding out more about Oxford university and if it was a university I would like to apply to.

“Being from rural west Wales, I didn’t really know what to expect and I wasn’t sure whether Oxford would be the university for me.

How did you find the application process?

“Despite being a challenge, I found the application process enjoyable because it allowed me to have a chance at writing extended pieces which I don’t usually get to do with my A levels which are maths, physics and chemistry.

“In my application, I wrote an essay on the topic of “The meaning of life” which gave me the opportunity to explore some new ideas and research topics along with gaining useful feedback to help further my writing skills.

What were your first impressions of Oxford?

“When I arrived in Oxford, I remember I found the layout of the city very interesting, with the different colleges dotted around the city.

“The architecture of the colleges and Oxford was fascinating.

“Initially, the scale of everything in Oxford overwhelmed me, but after entering the College and meeting the staff and other students, I was far more relaxed and felt very welcomed.

Oxford 3


Tell us about your time at the Seren/Jesus College Summer School?

“During my time at the Seren/Jesus College Summer School, I experienced what life as an Oxford student would be like.

“I attended lectures and seminars on some intriguing topics such as exoplanetary life and the significance of our own existence.

“One of my favourite lectures was about language in law. It’s very different to my usual study and allowed me to open my mind to things I have not thought about, developing my lateral thinking skills.

“At the end of the week, I submitted an essay on mathematical models which was discussed and scrutinised in a tutorial environment (a small discussion group with a tutor). I found this really interesting and enjoyed being able to discuss my ideas with others who had different ideas.

What else did you get from the experience?

“Aside from learning, we were also able to explore the City, visit museums and see what student life was like outside of the colleges.

“In my free time, I visited the famous Blackwell’s bookshop and relaxed in various coffee shops around the city with the new friends I had made there.

“Overall, I found the Seren/Jesus College Summer School an amazing experience which gave me a taste of what life is like for an Oxford student.

Oxford 2

How did the Seren/Jesus College Summer School help you?

“Attending the Seren/Jesus College Summer School encouraged me to apply for a place at the College to study physics.

“In January, I received an offer of study there. I was so excited and pleased to accept the offer and I can’t wait to hopefully start at Jesus College in October.

“I made some great friends from the experience and met many interesting and like-minded people who I have kept in touch with.

“I would recommend the Seren/Jesus College Summer School to all students as it is a brilliant experience, especially for those who are hoping to apply there and want to get a taste of what it is like.”


Applications for Seren/Jesus College Summer School are open until Friday 24th May.

Want a sneak peak of what a Seren/Jesus College Summer School experience is really like? Watch our video from last year here:

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