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

“Even when I still had a fair few years of secondary school ahead of me, I would often browse university courses online. By the start of year ten, I had settled on studying languages and was particularly interested in the combination of French with Classical Latin, both of which were subjects I was fortunate enough to be already studying for GCSE at the time. The obscure nature of this course meant that it was only offered by a handful of (predominantly Russell Group) universities, inspiring me to work hard.

The fruits of my labour were what brought me to my first Seren event in the autumn of 2018. Having just started studying for my A levels in Latin, French, English Literature, Maths and Fine Art at Ysgol Bro Pedr in Ceredigion, the prospect of university applications was becoming more tangible.

Although I really enjoyed the variety of experiences offered by the open and inclusive environment of my school, Seren provided me with a space that was acutely academic and gave me the opportunity to explore the idea of university with more concrete goals in mind. A real turning point for me was my visit to the 2018 Seren Conference in Newtown.

There, I was able to speak with a representative from the University of Cambridge who was linked to my local hub. It was his reassurance and enthusiasm which ultimately gave me the boost I needed to book a place at a Modern and Medieval Languages open day in Cambridge the following March. Despite some apprehension and shyness on my part, I really enjoyed my day at the university and decided there and then that I would apply.

Seren supported me with this application, helping me with my personal statement and providing me with interview workshops. At the time, I was really nervous and started to doubt whether I should be applying to Cambridge at all, but having the opportunity to interact once again with representatives from top universities and hearing their advice gave me the confidence I needed to take the plunge and apply.

Following a series of tests and interviews, I was accepted to study Modern and Medieval Languages at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

As much as I have enjoyed my upbringing in Ceredigion, I feel that the dizzying academic heights of top universities can seem so far removed from the humdrum reality of day to day life for a secondary school student in rural Wales.

The real value of Seren for me has been the way it bridges this gap for students, the way it connects them to the supportive human face of these revered institutions.

If I am to leave you with any advice, it would be to make every effort to cross that bridge – to capitalise on every opportunity presented to you by Seren and also to make your own opportunities, no matter how distant or elusive the other side might seem as you take your first steps.”

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