Peter Symonds College

Student Support


We are very proud of the way in which we prepare our students for entry to the most competitive universities. We send more students to study at Oxford and Cambridge than any other state-funded non-selective school or sixth form college. Every year, around 50 of our students gain Oxbridge places. This has been the case for over two decades.

Oxbridge specialist advice and guidance

Students interested in an Oxbridge application are invited to join the programme in the spring term of lower sixth. Our Oxbridge Tutor runs a series of workshops designed to familiarise students with the application process and develop their ability to communicate about their subject both verbally and in writing. Ex-students are often invited to give a student’s perspective on preparing for an Oxbridge application. Workshops are supplemented by an interactive online platform where students receive regular updates, advice and guidance. The following topics are covered:

  • Lower Sixth: Spring Term
    Preparing for Oxbridge: advice on extension activities and developing relevant skills
  • Lower Sixth: Summer Term (UCAS)
    Advice on personal statements, entrance tests and choosing a college
  • Upper Sixth: Autumn Term
    Personal statement workshops, preparing for entrance tests and written work submissions, practice interviews

Subject area expertise

Many of our staff hold postgraduate qualifications in their subject. Some attended Oxbridge themselves. We are able to offer an extensive programme of enrichment activities and subject workshops to our students. From the beginning of lower sixth, students can choose to join societies and clubs where they can explore areas of their subject not covered on the A level specifications. In the summer of lower sixth and autumn of upper sixth, students preparing for entrance tests can attend subject specialist workshops for advice and support. Furthermore, subject websites give suggestions for wider reading and information about external extension opportunities.

Interview preparation

A large team of people volunteer to give practice interviews in the latter half of the autumn term. They include our governors, senior managers, our experienced team of subject specialist staff and a range of external experts. The aim is to familiarise students with the type of question asked and with the experience of being interviewed. The Oxbridge Preparation Programme includes advice on staying calm under pressure and clear communication.