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How did you choose what to study at Coulsdon College?

I chose subjects which interested me. Biology was an obvious choice as I’m fascinated with the functioning of the human body and health and fitness. I chose Public Services to help improve my communication and leadership skills. Combining A Levels with a BTEC has helped to spread the workload.

Has your time at College helped you to decide which career you want to follow?

I did Clinical work experience at East Surrey and St George’s Hospitals which gave me a unique insight into the healthcare profession and helped me decide on a career path. I want to become an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) as I feel I could make a real difference supporting patients before, during and after operations.

What type of course will you do to qualify as an ODP?

I’ve chosen to do a BSc in Operating Department Practice at South Bank University, which has links with world-renowned hospitals such as Guys, St Thomas’s and Great Ormond Street. More than half the course involves hospital placements so I can’t wait to get started.

How did you prepare for your university interview?

For my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) last year I did a research dissertation on accidental awareness during general anaesthesia. I read widely on the subject and spoke to Surgeons and Anaesthetists so I felt well prepared to discuss the topic at the interview. The College’s Careers Department was supportive too, organising a mock interview which helped.

Laura, 2017.

Previous school: Bishop Thomas Grant.

What attracted you to Coulsdon College?

I was attracted by the mix of students at Coulsdon, as well as the great facilities and a pleasant environment. I also liked the option to combine A Levels with BTECs, which was helpful when I didn’t do as well as I had hoped in an AS Level; I was able to convert to a BTEC in the same subject, giving me a much better chance of getting good grades and going to university.

Have you found a big difference between A Levels and BTECs?

Apart from the fact that there’s a lot more coursework and fewer exams, the main difference has been that I have two teachers for each of my BTECs. They all teach differently and I benefit from the expertise from each which is great.

What are your plans after College?

I’m hoping to go to university to study Economics. Ideally I’d like to work in Investment Management, before going on to complete a Master’s degree.

What would you say is your biggest achievement whilst at College?

I was very proud to organise the College’s celebration of Black History Month. We had a lot of fun celebrating equality and diversity with entertainment, cultural food, guest speakers and students in national costumes. I felt a real sense of achievement, working with students and staff from across the College to bring the event together.

Is this a subject you’re interested in?

Yes; I’ve been studying the meaning of BHM for my EPQ and have been debating its relevance today. With the help of a mentor, I’ve interviewed staff and students, written a 4000 word report and given a presentation to the Senior Leadership Team. As well as gaining extra UCAS points, this has been excellent preparation for going to university.

Christina, 2017.

Previous school: Carshalton High School for Girls.

What made you choose Coulsdon College?

I felt ready for a change from school and I loved the more grown-up atmosphere and focus on Sixth Form.

How did you decide on your subjects?

Initially I picked completely different subjects, but coming to the taster and introductory days opened my eyes to other courses I hadn’t previously considered. The mixture of A Levels and a BTEC has suited me, taking the pressure off slightly at exam time.

What is your favourite subject?

French. The teaching is really good and I’ve improved so much. I’ve enjoyed exploring subjects affecting French society like immigration and the environment. The trip to Montpellier in the Lower Sixth really helped improve my language skills.

How have you been involved in the College community?

I was proud to be voted President of the SU this year. It’s been a rewarding experience that has really developed my leadership and communication skills. Being involved in the College Governors’ meetings and hearing first hand about the College’s ambitious plans has been particularly interesting.

Are you planning to go to university?

I’ve applied to do Law with French at university and have had offers from all five of my choices. My ultimate aim is to work in the legal field of Human Rights, helping refugees to improve their circumstances.

Rachael, 2017.

Previous school: Croydon High School.

How have you found your time at Coulsdon College?

This is my third year and it’s gone so quickly. Coming to Coulsdon has given me the opportunity to turn things around and I’m very happy here. I joined on the Intermediate Programme as I had to re-take some of my GCSEs.

What else did you study when you first came to College?

I did Level 2 Business and Media. The skills I gained on these courses were really useful as I progressed onto the Level 3 Advanced programme. I particularly enjoyed the Dragon’s Den project which I undertook for Business; it taught me entrepreneurial skills and developed my confidence.

What are you planning to study at university?

I’ve been offered a place at Canterbury Christchurch to study BA in Tourism Management. My courses have been brilliant preparation for this. I’ve had practice interviews with EasyJet cabin crew and with No 1 Lounge, Gatwick Airport, as well as project experience planning and executing a group trip to Spain. We had to research, plan, book the trip and evaluate it afterwards, which really helped improve my organisation and presentation skills.

What would you say to other students considering Coulsdon?

I really recommend it – coming here has been great for me. My teachers have been very good, providing extra workshops to help me achieve my goals. The Careers Department even spent time with me during the holidays, advising me on my personal statement for university. My predicted grades are very good and I’m on my way to securing a career in the travel industry - something I daren’t dream of when I first came here.

Arya, 2017.

Previous school: Graveney School.

Why did you choose to come to Coulsdon College?

I liked the atmosphere at the College when I came to look around. I really wanted to do a BTEC in Medial Science and Coulsdon was the only place offering it. I live in Selsdon and with such good transport links, it’s easy to get to College on the bus.

Why were you so keen to do Medical Science?

I was considering training to be a paramedic, but I am now so involved in sport that I am thinking I might become a Sports Therapist, Personal Trainer or Physiotherapist.

What is your favourite subject?

I really love the BTEC Sports Lessons. My subjects really compliment each other and there’s a great mix of theory and practical. I love the way the BTECs work too – we get instant feedback from teachers so we know if it’s of a high enough standard. I’m aiming for Distinctions in all my subjects so that if I decide to go to university, I’ll have the grades to get in.

So are you planning on going to university?

Yes, but not straight away. I’m thinking of doing an apprenticeship to gain a Fitness Instructors Qualification and possibly a coaching course. I may then look at universities to do a Sports Therapy Course.

Tell us about your football career.

As well as doing College Football, I play for Beecholme Belles in Banstead as a striker. My ambition is to be signed by Chelsea, or any other Premier League Football Club. I’ve also done some football coaching which I really enjoyed.

Dion, 2017.

Previous school: Hackney Universal Technical College.

How are you finding College life?

I love it here. The atmosphere is lively and inclusive and I’ve made so many great friends. Lessons are better too as students are more mature than at school; everyone wants to be here, so it’s easier to focus on your work. Sport is my favourite subject. I’ve particularly enjoyed the fitness testing classes, learning about BMI, blood pressure and lung capacity. The human biology parts of Biology A Level have been interesting too and link well to the Sports course.

You’re a sprinter, so how do you fit in your College work?

I have to be really organised, making sure my BTEC coursework is up to date and I’m on top of my course reading and assignments. At exam time it will help that I will only have exams to sit for Biology and Psychology A Levels.

Where do you train?

I’ve been training with Herne Hill Harriers Athletics Club for the past four years. The coach, who works with England Internationals, spotted me running for the county and suggested I join his squad. I train three or four times a week, combining general fitness training with biomechanics, strength development, sprint speed and speed endurance. It’s hard work, but I’m very motivated and enjoy the challenge.

What are your plans for the future?

I would love to be a Sports Physiotherapist.

What would you say to anybody considering Coulsdon College?

I would say the facilities are great, but it’s the people that really make it amazing. The students are friendly and the staff are so supportive.

Natasha, 2017.

Previous school: Harris Academy Merton.

Why did you decide to come to Coulsdon College?

I went on a Further Maths taster day and was really impressed by the teaching.

What’s the best thing about College?

The teachers are amazingly encouraging and supportive. They really believe in you. I’ve been to lots of additional workshops at the end of the College day for my subjects. These provide extra support to make sure I’m on track with my work.

What’s your favourite subject?

Since coming to College, I’m really enjoying Chemistry. My teacher is extremely good at differentiating work for different abilities within the classroom and also at relating the complicated theory to real life, so that we can all understand it.

What are you thinking of doing after College?

I’m thinking of doing Forensic Science at university, but I’m planning to go to all sorts of university taster days to help make up my mind. The Careers staff at College have been helpful in keeping me informed.

Are you involved with any activities outside lessons?

Yes, I’m doing my Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award. We have sessions on Friday lunchtimes, that help prepare us for the expedition. I’m learning Calligraphy as a new skill, and for the Voluntary section, I’m continuing a campaign to raise the importance of First Aid training in schools which I started in last summer on NCS.

You must be pleased with your outstanding grades?

I was a very slow starter at school, for all sorts of reasons. Coming to College has got me on the right track. The combination of inspiring teachers and a positive, supportive environment has helped me focus and turn things around.

Roberta, 2017.

Previous school: Oasis Academy Coulsdon.

How did you decide to come to Coulsdon?

I initially joined a local school’s Sixth Form, but didn’t get on very well there. When I came to Coulsdon College, I was struck by how welcoming it was and I quickly settled in. The standard of teaching is excellent and the workshops for every subject have really helped ensure I’ve properly understood the topics as well as giving plenty of practice on exam questions.

How has the College helped broaden your horizons?

I’m in the Enhancement Group and this has given me so many opportunities to explore possible career paths. As well as providing information about university taster days and summer schools, my tutor has encouraged me to apply to the Goldsmiths Progression Scheme. This six-month course has provided me with a whole wealth of new skills which will be useful in the future.

What are you hoping to study at university?

I’ve really enjoyed the physical geography part of my Geography A Level, particularly tectonics, so I want to study Environmental Geoscience with a view to working in Conservation. The Geography fieldtrips are definitely a highlight, providing an opportunity to do some fieldwork on regeneration and erosion and hopefully provide ideas for an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) which I’ll take next year.

Laurence, 2017.

Previous school: Oasis Academy Coulsdon.

What do you like about College?

The atmosphere is completely different to school. There’s less drama, people are very respectful and I feel very safe here. The teachers treat you like equals and the students are friendly and supportive of each other.

How do you find the commute to College?

I catch a tram and bus to get to College from Croydon, but I use the travelling time to catch up with friends or just relax, so it’s fine.

What’s your favourite subject?

Public Services is definitely my favourite. I particularly enjoy the physical and practical elements of the course like the fitness testing. The course has opened my eyes to what’s going on in the world and how democracy works. Particularly interesting was a visit from our local MP, Gavin Barwell, who talked about his job, the role of the Government and the state of the economy. I’m enjoying Law too. It fits well with Public Services and the knowledge I’ve gained will be very useful in the future, whatever profession I go in to.

Are you considering a career in the Armed Forces?

I’m not sure yet. I’m part of Croydon 146 Detachment, Croydon Army cadets, which is part of the Royal Logistics Corps. I feel very proud to wear my uniform at important events such as Remembrance Day, when we marched through Croydon and also at the Remembrance Day event at College. I helped out at the London Marathon as a cadet and am looking forward to going on camp.

Abigail, 2017.

Previous school: Oasis Academy Shirley Park.

Why did you decide to come to Coulsdon College?

The College’s excellent reputation in the community and the outstanding pass rates gave me the confidence that I would do well here.

What are you studying?

I’m doing three A Levels. My favourite is Art & Design which has been perfect for me as it has really improved my graphic communication skills. Photography and Media Studies combined have helped develop my creative and analytical side.

Which area of the Art course have you particularly enjoyed?

I’ve been able to work on Apple Macs, learning Photoshop and Illustrator software which has enabled me to really show off my creative abilities. I particularly enjoyed the Retail project. Following a trip to IKEA, I produced a 3D interactive model, using balsa wood and lots of different textiles. I included it in my portfolio when I went for university interviews and got great feedback.

Are you going to study Art at university?

I’m hoping to go to UCA, Farnham to study for a BA in Interior Architecture and Design. I chose this course as the modules seem really interesting. My College teachers were really supportive and advised me on my portfolio, so I felt confident and well prepared for my interviews.

What was your involvement in the SU this year?

I have really enjoyed being the SU Creative Officer, using my graphics skills to help promote College events and activities. It’s been great fun working in the SU team to make student life more colourful and creative.

Chinelo, 2017.

Previous school: Queen’s College.

Why did you choose Coulsdon College?

I attended Rosebury School for my GCSEs, but I was keen to move on from an all-girls environment. My best subjects at school were the ones with a practical element, so I knew that I would be better suited to BTECs than A Levels.

How are you getting on with your BTEC Sport course?

I’m on track to gain Distinction *s. The teachers are very inspiring and go out of their way to help me achieve my best. The hardest, but possibly the most rewarding topic so far has been the coaching module, where we had to coach the whole class. It was really challenging and pushed me out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed developing new skills.

What sports are you involved with at College?

I’m in the girls’ football team. Virtually the whole team were new to football; many of the players didn’t even have football boots and we were very rusty to start with! Our College coach is good at motivating us and our skills have improved considerably, not to mention our team spirit.

Do you do any other sports?

I’m training for the London Marathon and I play for Epsom Under 18’s hockey team. I’m the goal keeper and I love playing this high adrenalin sport, which demands quick reactions and excellent team work. Last year, playing for the Under 16s, we got to the quarter finals of the National League which was very exciting.

Tara, 2017.

Previous school: Rosebery School.

What are your favourite subjects?

I’ve always been very keen on computer gaming. Both my Media and Computing courses have really allowed me to develop this interest and I’ve learnt how to design and programme my own computer games. I’m now planning to pursue this at the University of Falmouth and hopefully turn my passion into a career.

What have you enjoyed most about your time at College?

The class sizes are small and the topics are well structured. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to do my own research, looking into subjects in more depth. I think this has prepared me well for working more independently at university.

What’s the atmosphere like?

Coulsdon College provides a great safe environment, where you can connect with other like-minded people. It’s also relatively small, so there’s a nice community feeling, which makes it easy to settle in and make friends.

George, 2017.

Previous school: St Andrew's C of E School.

Why did you choose your courses?

I did the Lower Sixth at St Bede’s doing A Levels, but didn’t do well in the exams, so I knew that I would be better suited to BTECs. I’ve known that I want to be a Paramedic for a long time, having been a member of St John Ambulance, so the Extended Diploma in Medical Science provided the perfect grounding for this career.

What does the Medical Science course involve?

It concentrates on the medical aspects of each science. For example, in Biology, we’ve explored how the body works as well as diseases and infections. In Chemistry we’ve learnt about how medicines are made and in Physics, how medical equipment works. We’ve specialist teachers for each subject and I’ve learnt so much from them.

Have you applied to go to university?

I had help from the College Careers Department, preparing for my university interviews, which were quite intense. I’ve had offers from Hertfordshire and Anglia Ruskin Universities for their three year BSc courses in Paramedic Science.

Are you involved with other activities at College?

I was proud to be appointed Sports Officer for the Students’ Union this year and worked hard to get more girls involved in sport on the campus. I’m really keen on sport; I’ve competed nationally in trampolining and played rugby for Chipstead.

What do you enjoy about being part of the St John’s Ambulance?

I’m fully first-aid trained. I love helping at local events and volunteering in the community. I’ve mastered essential lifesaving skills as well as learnt to work in a team and under pressure.

Leah, 2017.

Previous school: St Bede’s.

What’s the difference between College life and school?

At College, you are treated more like adults; I like the fact that we call the teachers by their first names, it feels more comfortable and relaxed. College feels like a good stepping stone to university.

How did you decide to study Maths at College?

I’ve loved Maths from a young age. When I was in Year 11, I attended a Further Maths workshop run by Maths teachers at Coulsdon College. We had a very enjoyable day, learning about complex numbers and it confirmed my desire to study Maths at A Level. I’m really enjoying learning something different every day and exploring new ways of problem solving. The Applied Maths units are particularly interesting as they relate Maths to real life situations.

I hear you’ve been a great ambassador for Maths

Yes, I really enjoy helping fellow students. I may well turn to teaching one day. I’ve been a Student Ambassador for the Maths Department, helping out at Open Events.

Are you going to study Maths at university?

I want to apply my Maths to an Engineering course, possibly Mechanical Engineering as I’m interested in the construction of aeroplanes or trains. I’ll be exploring all the options at university open days over the summer.

Are you involved with any College clubs?

I’ve been part of the Archery and Badminton clubs at lunchtimes, which is a great way to stay active and healthy, as well as being a good way of meeting new people.

Codon, 2017.

Previous school: St Mary's RC School.

Congratulations on winning the College Photography Competition.

I love the Photography A Level course I’m doing here and hope to go on to study Photography at university. The chance to work with the College’s Marketing Department, photographing events has been a great experience. Working to a brief and a deadline has given me an insight into the role of a professional photographer.

Which university have you applied to?

Bournemouth has a great course, offering experience with lots of state-of-the-art technology, but there’s a course at Falmouth University in Marine and Natural History Photography, which has also caught my eye. I will have to do the PADI diving qualification to do that course!

What else do you enjoy about College life?

The Media course I’m doing is very interesting and has given me the skills and opportunity to manipulate my photographs for different uses. For my research project, I’m investigating the use of class in reality TV, focusing specifically on programmes such as Gogglebox and The Great British Bake Off.

Do you have time for hobbies?

I’m a member of North Cheam Academy of Dance, where I study street, ballet, tap, modern and contemporary dance as well as teaching dance to 10-13 year olds. The BTEC Dance course at Coulsdon College has been fabulous as I love performing.

Megan, 2017.

Previous school: Sutton High.

Why did you choose Computing?

Initially I joined Coulsdon on the Level 2 Intermediate Programme studying IT alongside Art. I really enjoyed it and was keen to focus on Computing by taking the Level 3 Extended Diploma (equivalent to three A Levels).

What are the teachers like at College?

They are strict but fair and work hard to encourage and support us. Their enthusiasm has inspired me to challenge myself and my grades have improved dramatically which will help me get on to a good university course.

What are you planning to study at university?

I’ve been offered a place to study Computer Science at Kingston University. When I graduate, I want to work in the IT industry, possibly using the creative skills I’ve learnt such as web design.

What have you enjoyed most about College?

The work ethic. I’ve been encouraged to work hard and am well supported to achieve my best. The College environment makes it easy to get my work done without being distracted.

Hanna, 2017.

Previous school: The Archbishop Lanfranc Academy.

Where did your love of music start?

It’s in my blood; I’m the fifth generation of my family to be a musician and play in a Salvation Army band.

What instruments do you play?

I play piano and trumpet, but my main instrument is cornet. I’m working towards my Grade 8, fitting all my practice around performances.

Have you enjoyed studying BTEC Music?

Yes. The music facilities at College are excellent and I’ve had lots of opportunities to perform at events. I’ve met so many talented musicians at College, there’s a great buzz and team work between the students. We use Mac Logic Pro software for recording and editing our ideas which is great for composition work.

What is your outstanding memory from your time at College?

Playing the Last Post at the Remembrance Day service in the Atrium was a proud moment.

How has the College supported you with your GCSE re-takes?

I failed both English and Maths GCSE at school but I think the combination of the excellent teaching and support helped me pass both subjects in my Lower Sixth.

What are you plans for the future?

Long term, I may join the Police Force, but in the meantime, I’m looking to secure an Apprenticeship, possibly in the public sector or a bank.

Luke, 2017.

Previous school: Woodcote High School.

How did you choose what to study at Coulsdon College?

I had an idea I wanted to study Criminology, so knew that Sociology and Psychology would be useful. Even though I hadn’t studied those subjects at GCSE, the teachers explained the curriculum so clearly to me, I knew it was going to be interesting. I love Government & Politics too which is giving me an increasing knowledge of the world and how it works. History is great too, which links in with Sociology. In fact, I think all my subjects work really well together.

Have you had any good careers advice since coming to College?

I now know that I want to study Criminology with Sociology. With that in mind, it was very useful to go to the UCAS fair at the University of Surrey, to find out what kinds of courses are available and where they are. After university, I may look for a job assisting the police with their criminal investigations. My courses are preparing me well for this type of career.

Have you been on any interesting trips?

Yes, my Government & Politics class went to The Politics Student Conference in Westminster which gave me a real insight into the world of politics and democracy.

You are on the Enhancement Programme, what does this entail?

It’s a really helpful programme where we get assistance with all aspects of applying to university. I have had help structuring my Personal Statement, honing my interview techniques and presentation skills.

Leanne, 2016.

Previous school: Harris Academy Purley.

You’re studying four A Levels. How have you found the workload?

There’s a big jump from GCSE’s to A Levels, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge. There’s a lot more independent learning, and I’ve enjoyed that, but there’s always been a lot of support on hand if you need it here at Coulsdon College. I’ll probably be dropping one of the A Levels at the end of the Lower Sixth, so that I can concentrate on getting three good grades.

Which is your favourite subject?

I really enjoy Psychology. It’s very different from my other subjects as there are a lot of facts to learn. Evidence and evaluation are important; there’s a lot of debate in the classes which makes it very interesting. Our teachers illustrate with lots of anecdotes which brings the science alive. It was a shot in the dark to choose this subject as it was completely new to me, but I’m glad that I did.

Do you travel far to come to College?

I travel from Selsdon, taking two buses and it takes about an hour, but it’s well worth it. I love the creative atmosphere here. I also like the fact that we are largely based in one building, so it feels like a big family home, and there’s not much scope for getting lost!

Vinay, 2016.

Previous school: Riddlesdown Collegiate.

Why did you come to Coulsdon College?

I started sixth form at Riddlesdown Collegiate, doing three A Levels, but didn’t do very well. When I came for my interview at Coulsdon College, I was advised to study for BTEC qualifications, which are the equivalent to A Levels. It was absolutely the right advice for me. I’m managing the work really well and have surprised myself with the grades I’ve been achieving. The supportive environment has helped me to re-build my confidence.

What do you think has made the difference?

As well as being supported by very enthusiastic teachers, I have found the more practical aspects of the courses to be more suitable for my learning style. I work better with continual assessment, rather than everything depending on an exam at the end of the year.

Do you have an idea of what you would like to do after College?

I want to study Law and then train to become a solicitor working in Criminal Law. I would like to go to Birmingham or Westminster University.

What would you say to anybody thinking about coming to Coulsdon College to study?

I would say to come here without hesitation. You’re treated like an adult, given freedom to take responsibility, but at the same time, you’re offered lots of support.

Tania, 2016.

Previous school: Riddlesdown Collegiate.

What’s your favourite subject and why?

Graphic Design. I love this creative subject, which I want to develop into a career. I use a lot of my own photography in my designs.

You want to be a Graphic Designer?

I am already working as a freelance graphic designer in my own time, providing advice to clients including one in America who owns a clothing brand. The work I am doing in College is setting me up really well for a career in this area. I’m hoping to go to university to study it further and my first choice would be Salford University which is part of Media City, so there’s the potential to make lots more contacts with big media companies.

You’ve been involved in Coulsdon College’s Enhancement Programme, how will this help you get to the university of your choice?

As well as helping me to structure my personal statement for my university application, we have had additional training in presentation skills, interview techniques and leadership training through Citizens UK. It has been invaluable.

What other extra-curricular activities have you joined?

I have joined the Radio Debating Club and have really enjoyed learning about the technical side of Radio.

What advice would you give to anybody thinking of coming to study at Coulson College?

I would say listen to the advice you are given regarding your options. I did and I’ve been really happy with my choices. Then just join in and enjoy the experience. You’ll love it here.

Sophia, 2016.

Previous school: De Stafford School.

You’re doing a mixture of A Level and BTEC Qualifications?

Yes, I’m doing A Level Computer Science, combined with BTEC in IT. Having done really well with my GCSE’s, I started doing three A Levels, but I was finding it hard to memorise the quantity of information I needed for the exams.

What kind of advice have you received from the College?

The problem was picked up really quickly and I was advised to continue with one A Level, but combine it with an Extended Diploma in IT.

Is this a better balance?

Yes. The combination is working really well as I’ve now got more time to focus on the one A Level, whilst completing all the coursework for my BTEC. So far I have gained Distinctions for all my units. I’m hoping to get an A in my A Level Computer Science and this should be possible now that I have more time to dedicate to it.

What are your plans after College?

I’m hoping to go to either Bath or Surrey University to do Games Design or Computer Science. The College took us on a trip to the UCAS Open Day at Surrey University and it was great to be able to get so much information on all the courses which are on offer.

Have you learnt any new skills since starting at College?

I had a go at Archery and surprised myself by really enjoying it. It was great for team working and I’m hoping to continue and improve.

Samekah, 2016.

Previous school: St Andrew’s C of E School.

You’re obviously a keen sportsman, what is the sport like at Coulsdon College?

The facilities are very good and the teaching staff and coaches are amazing. I’ve played football pretty much all my life, but since coming to Coulsdon, I’ve tried many new sports including badminton, volleyball, basketball and hockey. I even took part in taster sessions in Archery.

Has taking part in the new activities helped you to further your thoughts on what you would like to do as a career?

Yes, I’ve been teaching karate to children in my club for a while, but through College I’ve been given other opportunities to coach young children, for example in hockey and this has helped me to come to the conclusion that I would like to be a PE Teacher. The staff at the College have given me information on how to gain coaching awards, which will help me reach my goal.

How did you decide to come to Coulsdon College and what you were going to study?

I came to all the Open Days, each time with various members of my family. They were all impressed with the College and I liked the fact that all the staff were so encouraging. A big plus for me was that I was offered so much help to gain my GCSE Maths, a subject which I really struggled with at school.

How are you getting on with your studies generally?

I wouldn’t have considered myself to be a high achiever at school, but with the support of the great staff at Coulsdon College, I am proud to say that I am now achieving Distinctions in my assignments. I now have much higher aspirations for myself and my future.

Martin, 2016.

Previous school: Meridian High School.

Why did you choose to come to Coulsdon College?

I wanted a change from what I was used to. I thought it would help me grow up and become more independent, which it has.

What is your favourite subject?

I love English Language and Literature. My analytical skills have really improved since coming here and I really enjoy exploring the language which is used in texts and developing my own opinions about them. I enjoyed going to see a theatre production of The Great Gatsby, which really brought the book by F S Fitzgerald alive.

Do you have an idea about what you would like to do after College?

I want to become a presenter on children’s TV programmes. I know it’s very competitive, but I’m developing a CV which will help me to get an apprenticeship in the media industry. I have been working as a volunteer at East Surrey Hospital Radio and I am on their training programme which is giving me great experience at working a production desk as well as presenting. I love my drama course which is really developing my confidence.

I coach gymnastics twice a week at Croydon Acro Gymnastics club and run children’s gymnastic parties, so I feel like I already have lots of experience in entertaining children.

What do you like best about College life?

I love the modern building and the friendly atmosphere. It was really easy to settle in as I had been to a couple of Open Days and Induction Days, so I felt like I already knew the College.

Lily, 2016.

Previous school: Riddlesdown Collegiate.

Why did you choose to study at Coulsdon College?

When I looked around Coulsdon College I found it to be a very calm place in comparison to my secondary school. I was intrigued by the Maths Department as the teachers struck me as being friendly and supportive.

How have you enjoyed studying A Levels here?

I started with four as I was also doing Psychology, but in the Upper Sixth year I decided to concentrate on three as I’m aiming to achieve my predicted grades which are 3 A grades. I’ve had offers from all five universities which I applied to, but I’m hoping to go to my first choice which is Manchester to study Maths.

What do you think you might do with your maths qualification?

I want to become an Academic, studying for a PhD and then I want to get paid to make maths discoveries and create new theorems.

You must work hard; do you have time for anything else?

I play football for the College team and for Horley Town. I’m in the second team and hoping to be promoted to the first team when I’ll get paid to play. In Year 11, I was part of The Challenge, when I worked in the food bank in Croydon. I was also part of a team who provided young people advice about bullying. This was good for me as I’m generally quite shy.

Would you describe yourself as a hard worker?

Yes, I think so. I’m quite calm and quiet about things, but get on with what needs to be done. I enjoy my studies so I’m keen to always be at College so I don’t miss any lessons and I carry out work above and beyond what is expected.

Jordan, 2016.

Previous school: Thomas More RC High School.

Why did you choose to come to Coulsdon College?

I wanted a fresh start after five years at the same school and besides, the subjects that I wanted to study weren’t available at school.

What’s your favourite subject and why?

I love all of them, but Film Studies has to be my favourite. I have a very inspiring teacher who has progressed my work significantly. If you look at my work this year in comparison to last year, you can see how much I have improved.

You’ve already won a BFI Award for your work? Tell us about that.

Having been part of the Brighton Film School last Summer, my Film Studies teacher encouraged me to apply to be part of the BFI Film Academy. I was successful and attended the course which took place every Saturday for eight weeks. At the end of it I got two awards for my short film. Since then, I’ve been accepted on a two week course at the National Film and TV School, where I specialised in Cinematography. It was an amazing experience, using industry standard equipment and under the guidance of industry professionals.

What does the future hold for you after College?

I have a place secured at university, but having completed the course at the National Film and TV School, I have decided to take a gap year, get some more industry experience and then apply to do their MA in Cinematography. I’m aiming high, but Coulsdon College has taught me to do that, so watch this space.

Jess, 2016.

Previous school: Woodcote High School.

Why did you decide to study at Coulsdon College?

I wanted to go somewhere new and distant from home, so that I could get used to travelling to study. I’ve had to get used to getting up a lot earlier, but it’s worth it to come to this College.

You’re studying Medical Science, what does that involve?

It’s a mixture of Biology, Physics and Chemistry, but includes other sciences too, such as Psychology and Environmental sciences. I really enjoyed sciences at GCSE level, but I knew that I wanted to do more practical experiments and research, so the BTEC is perfect for me. I would say it’s an academic course and you have to be really focussed to get through the work as there’s a lot of it. We work in small groups and I’m really lucky that all my fellow students have the same attitude to their studies as I do, so we get on well.

What are the lab facilities like?

They are excellent. Clean, safe and well-equipped. We have the support of qualified technicians, who help to set up and supervise all the experiments.

Your results are outstanding, so you must be working hard.

Yes, I’m working hard. The teachers here are all really good in their respective fields and they bring a really positive vibe into the classroom. They put so much into their lessons that you feel like you want to do well for their sake, as well as your own.

What’s the highlight of your time at College?

Apart from getting great results and meeting new people, it has to be beating the Staff basketball team twice!

Jean Pascal Gregory, 2016.

Previous school: St Mary’s RC School.

Were you clear about what you wanted to do when you came to Coulsdon College?

I knew I wanted to work in the Travel and Hospitality industry, but now that I’ve nearly completed the course, I’m clear that I want to work in Marketing within that industry.

Have you been on any trips as part of your course?

This year, the Travel and Tourism class organised and carried out a trip to Prague. We had to plan the whole trip, down to every small detail and it was really interesting to see which bits worked when we were there, and which bits required adjustment. It gave me a real insight into how much work goes into planning, pricing and packaging travel tours. It really helps that we have teachers who have worked in the industry to guide us.

What are your plans for moving towards a career in travel?

As a result of some work experience, organised by College, I now have a part time job working for an Independent Tour Operator to Mauritius. I am intending to go to Surrey University to study for a Degree in International Travel and Tourism and Hospitality Management.

What would you say is the highlight of your time here at College?

The Prague trip was a great achievement, but I have to say that the activity days in the summer were amazing for introducing me to new things. I visited Virgin Atlantic to take part in their emergency evacuation training, went horse riding and had an Italian taster day where I learnt some of the language and ate Italian food.

Diovina, 2016.

Previous school: St Andrew’s C of E School.

How are you coping with exam pressure associated with doing 4 A Levels?

I actually prefer the intensity of working for exams to the constant pressure of doing coursework on BTEC courses. I seem to be able to focus really well under pressure. I did well at GCSE, gaining 6As and 5Bs and my predicted grades here are good.

What’s the best thing about College life?

Class sizes are really small, the highest is 18, but some of my classes only have 9 people. It means that we can learn through debate and discussion, without things getting out of hand. The teachers are much more focussed on you as an individual, ensuring you do your very best. I love the fact that it’s a really grown up environment and you’re not distracted by hoards of younger pupils. I think it has prepared me really well for going to university.

Do you get a lot of feedback from the teachers?

My History teacher is particularly well organised. The lessons are well planned and structured. Homework is always marked quickly with really good feedback on what could be improved. I have really enjoyed learning about the modern history of Russia.

Have you been on any trips?

I’ve been on a couple of theatre trips, including one to the National Theatre, and another to the BFI Film Festival where I got to speak to one of the producers of Suffragette. I also attended an Oxbridge day, when I was introduced to all the things I’ll have to consider if I decide to apply to Russell Group Universities. Another trip to a UCAS day enabled me to talk to lots of different universities about the courses they have on offer. It has opened up a whole new world for me and has given me food for thought.

Darcy, 2016.

Previous school: Stanley Park High.

How did you decide which subjects to study?

I did a year in the sixth form at my old school, but realised that I was doing the wrong courses for what I wanted to do. I want to be a physiotherapist and you have to have science subjects, particularly Biology to do that. I subsequently didn’t do very well, so decided to start again.

What does Medical Science involve?

It’s the perfect course for what I want to do. We do Biology, Physics and Chemistry, but it’s all biased towards the body and medicine and has given me a detailed understanding of the application of science to real situations in the workplace. The module on physiology and anatomy was particularly interesting. It’s a very practical and research based course, so I find it much easier to remember the facts.

What kind of further education will you need to become a physio?

I’m going to apply to do a Physiotherapy degree at St George’s Hospital in Tooting. I’ve been writing my personal statement for this and I’m lucky to have had some physio work experience, working in a poly clinic and in a special needs school.

Are you confident you will get the grades required?

I’m getting excellent grades, with the help of my teachers. The support here is amazing; the teachers never seem to be off duty and run extra workshops at lunchtime, to help support us with our work and to make sure we keep on task.

What’s the biggest difference between College and school sixth form?

In college we are treated like adults. We call the teachers by their first names, which took a bit of getting used to, but it creates a real atmosphere of mutual respect.

Amy, 2016.

Previous school: Carshalton High School for Girls.

How have you found your time at Coulsdon College?

I’ve really enjoyed it. I liked the choices on offer and the support from staff has been amazing. I’ve learnt that you can do a lot in a short space of time, which has been necessary since becoming President of the SU.

What was it like being voted in as SU President?

I was shocked and surprised, but really pleased and proud. I like to think that we are making a difference to others and there’s certainly an opportunity to do that through the SU.

What is your main focus of activity this year in the SU?

Why did you choose Reigate?

Having studied at Box Hill School for five years, I really felt ready for a change. I also liked the fact the College was much closer to home and easier to get to.

How would you describe the atmosphere at College?

Everybody is kind, it’s really sociable and there’s a culture of respect.

How easy was it to fit in?

Coming to the induction days over the summer before I started really helped with the transition into College life; I met old friends I hadn’t seen since primary school. It might seem daunting as the College is big, but it’s so easy making friends.

Have you been on any interesting trips?

The highlight of the Geography course has been the field trip to the Azores. The volcanic landscape was stunning and visiting the geothermal power plant and the pineapple and tea plantations helped bring the concepts we study in class to life.

What do you like most about studying at College?

I love the independence and the freedom to manage my own time. Living nearby means when my lessons are over I can go home and get on with my work. Reigate town is also a perfect setting for the College, spending lunchtimes in the park or browsing the shops is a bonus.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to study Human Geography and hope to go to either Newcastle or Liverpool University. After university my ambition is to train to be a commercial airline pilot as I love travelling.

James, 2017

Previous school: Box Hill.

How did you decide which subjects to study?

I based my choices on my GCSE results and my interests. I’d also researched the entry requirements for the university courses that attracted me.

What have you enjoyed most about your subjects?

I’ve really enjoyed learning in-depth about subjects I’m interested in and seeing how the subjects arelinked. Studying Mathematics has helped develop my problem-solving skills.

What’s it like being a student at College?

The people are nice here and I’ve made lots of new friends. It’s a great learning environment; there are loads of resources and the teachers are knowledgeable and helpful – everything is set up to help you succeed.

What are your career plans?

I’ve got places at Southampton and Swansea Universities to study Aeronautical Engineering.

Yifan, 2017

Previous school: de Stafford.

What made you choose Reigate College?

I really fancied a change and wanted to come to somewhere bigger with a greater choice of subjects.

What do you like about studying at College?

It’s really friendly here and people are very accepting, you can just be yourself.

How has the College supported you?

I’m profoundly deaf and wear two cochlear implants. The College has been so supportive. I’ve benefitted from a one-to-one tutor who’s helped me keep up-to-date and clarified things I haven’t heard in lessons. I chose all BTEC subjects so I did feel pressure to meet the coursework deadlines, but all my teachers have been really supportive and encouraging.

What do you enjoy doing outside College?

I love swimming; my favourite stroke is butterfly. I enjoy the challenge of it; I train up to seven times a week, sometimes starting as early as 6am so I have to be really disciplined! I’m part of the GB Deaf Swimming Club and have travelled to Russia and America to take part in Deaf Swimming Competitions. I finished fifth in the 200m butterfly at the European championships and 7th in the world championships.

What are your career plans?

I’ve got a conditional offer from The University of Bath. I hope to go there in September and join the swim team.

Polly, 2017

Previous school: Dunottar.

Why did you choose Reigate?

I liked the wide variety of subjects on offer. I took a real mix and the College allowed me to take any combination I chose, including Philosophy and Spanish, which are less widely available at other colleges and school sixth forms.

What have you enjoyed most about your courses?

I’ve found that in all my subjects, as the work gets more challenging, it gets more interesting. The problems get harder to solve and you need to be creative in how you apply the techniques you’ve learnt – but that also means it’s far more satisfying when you do find a solution or an insight.

How have you found the commute to College?

My journey to college is significantly longer than my journey to secondary school was, but I didn’t find it too hard to adapt to a new routine.

What’s the atmosphere at College like?

Students want to learn and teachers want to teach, so it makes a productive environment for everyone.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m planning to study Maths and Philosophy at university, but I’ve not decided on a particular career yet.

Ben, 2017

Previous school: Oakwood.

Why did you choose Reigate?

I liked that I could choose my own combination of subjects to study, I felt the resources were great and I knew the specialist sixth form environment, where you haven’t got the distraction of younger students, would suit me.

How have you found the teachers at College?

They are all really friendly and helpful. They really care about your learning and go the extra mile to make sure the best resources are available.

What’s the atmosphere like at College?

It’s such a friendly, positive environment where people respect each other. Coming from Dorking, I was a bit worried, but I found it really easy to settle in as there’s such a great mix of people; everyone was very welcoming and I instantly felt safe.

What have you enjoyed about studying Media?

I’ve really enjoyed the practical Media coursework, which has helped develop my team skills. In a group, we got to produce a film opening, using the latest equipment and industry software.

Millie, 2017

Previous school: Priory CofE.

How did you find the move from school?

It was a bit daunting at first, but I soon settled in. Being at College has really unleashed my creativity and helped me develop as a musician.

What’s the atmosphere at College like?

It’s really buzzing. There’s loads going on and it’s such a great environment for musical creativity; everyone bounces ideas off each other.

What do you think of the music facilities?

The facilities in the Music Department are incredible and we’re given the support, time and studio space to experiment and develop our own music. I’ve been part of a jazz band, contemporary choir, chamber composition club, chamber ensemble and classic album club as well as being involved in Winter and Spring concerts, Leavers’ Fest, Battle of the Bands and lunchtime gigs.

What have been the highlights?

Getting to take a lead role stage-managing and performing in ‘Leavers’ Fest’ was an amazing experience. Also setting up my own YouTube channel to showcase new music was great fun.

What are your plans for the future?

I’ve got a place at the Leeds Conservatoire to study for a degree in Jazz guitar and I hope to become a professional Musician and Composer.

Ben, 2017

Previous school: Reigate.

What do you like most about studying at College?

I’m so happy at College and I’ve had such a positive experience. When I started it was so liberating! I feel free here to just be myself and everyone accepts you for who you are.

What have you enjoyed most about your courses?

I’ve been on some interesting trips with Art to exhibitions and the Saatchi gallery and with History to the Tower of London. I feel challenged in my lessons, but the teachers are always there to help you develop your ideas and provide support.

What activities are you involved with outside lessons?

I’ve always had a passion for music and at College I’ve been able to join in musical activities. I sing in a band I formed with other students and it was great singing solo at the College’s Battle of the Bands concert.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m going to do an Art Foundation year at East Surrey College and then hopefully a History of Art degree at the University of Leeds. When I graduate I’d love to go into Art Conservation.

Hannah, 2017

Previous school: Reigate.

How did you find the move from school to college?

I found it a big jump from GCSEs, but it’s a really welcoming environment. The atmosphere is friendly and there are so many fun activities to get involved in.

How has the College supported you with your university application?

The College’s Careers Department has been really supportive, guiding me through the university application process and advising me about work experience, my personal statement and interview techniques.

What are your career plans?

Since I was 12 years old I’ve wanted to be a vet. I love animals and it’s a job that combines all my interests. I want to study Veterinary Medicine and have had offers from all four universities I applied to. I’m hoping to go to the Royal Veterinary College in London.

Have you done any interesting work experience?

I organised a range of different experiences to give me an insight into the varied role of a vet. I spent a week milking cows on a farm which was really hands on and took me out of my comfort zone. I visited a research company that uses animals in testing, I shadowed a vet working in an abattoir and I volunteered at an exotic animals’ shelter. My favourite though was helping with the lambing at Bockett’s Farm.

Hannah, 2017

Previous school: Reigate.

How did you find the move from school to College?

Everyone is in the same situation, so it was easy to establish new friendships with people from different schools.

What do you like most about studying at College?

It’s so friendly and welcoming and the College staff are incredibly supportive.

What’s your favourite sport and why?

I enjoy both football and rugby as they offer the chance to work in a team, meet new people and keep fit and healthy. I’ve played in both the College Football and Rugby Teams and have loved all the training and fixtures.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m planning to go to university to study Sport and Social Sciences, which I hope will lead to a career with the FA or RFU, helping develop elite young players.

Lawrence, 2017

Previous school: Reigate.

Why did you choose Reigate College?

Having been at independent school from a young age, I felt ready for a change. I also really wanted to study Sociology and that wasn’t a subject on offer at RGS, so the decision was quite an easy one in the end.

How is College different to school?

I love being at College – it’s more of an adult environment than school, so you’re expected to work hard. I have to think for myself and be more on top of my own workload, which is good preparation for uni. There’s a great mix of people at College and people just accept you for who you are. I don’t feel the intense social pressure here; I’m much happier in myself and able to focus on my studies.

What are the facilities at College like?

The facilities are excellent; there’s everything you need and plenty of places on campus you can go to get your work done. The teachers are incredibly supportive and encouraging. I’ve really appreciated the extra support class in History that’s helped me develop a more structured approach to planning and writing essays.
There are loads of extra-curricular activities. I’m doing the DofE Gold Award and I did spinning last term. I think it’s good to balance studying with having fun!

Charlotte, 2017

Previous school: Reigate Grammar School.

What made you choose Reigate College?

I liked the community atmosphere and the teachers seemed really supportive. I also wanted to study BTECs as I’m more suited to practical subjects with coursework, rather than pure exams.

How is College different from school?

I didn’t do very well at my GCSEs, but coming to College has given me a fresh start and a chance to turn things around. I’m on the Intermediate Programme studying Business, Sport and Public Services Awards at Level 2, which are the equivalent of GCSEs. I also re-took my English GCSE and passed with a C (new Grade 4). Having the extra support in a mature college environment has really helped.

Have you been involved with any activities outside lessons?

I’m in the Men’s First team for Football. We won the Surrey College Cup and also came second in the league. I really enjoy being part of a team.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to stay at Reigate and study on the Advanced Programme and I’m looking at different BTEC options. Afterwards, I’d really like to go to university and study Sport and Business.

Zak, 2017

Previous school: Riddlesdown.

How is studying at Reigate different from school?

It feels like an adult environment and more focused than school. The teachers are really friendly and go out of their way to help you succeed.

What have you been doing for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award (DofE)?

For the Physical section I worked out in the gym, for Skills I had driving lessons and for Volunteering I’ve been working as a DofE Ambassador at College. I used the NCS summer programme for Residential - it was so much fun!

What have you got out of doing DofE?

It’s helped improve my fitness and positive attitude - encouraging me to keep trying and to never give up. It’s also developed my cooking and teamwork skills.

How would you describe the DofE expeditions?

They’re hard work physically and mentally, but they really bring you together as a group. I’ll always remember our practice expedition as we got totally lost and had to help each other climb over fences and obstacles; it made me realise the importance of team work and a sense of humour.

How have you found the DofE programme?

It’s very hard work and takes a lot of resilience, but at the end of the day you have great fun with your team and make lots of unforgettable memories.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m hoping to do an Art Foundation year then go to the University of Southampton to study Fashion Styling and Trend Forecasting.

Grace, 2017

Previous school: Rosebery.

How did you decide which subjects to study?

Taking the Diploma in Travel & Tourism, which is the equivalent of two A Levels, meant I could really focus on my interests.

What have you enjoyed most with your BTECs?

I’ve really enjoyed the project work and the research. I like that there’s coursework so I can work steadily throughout the year, rather everything relying purely on exams. The teachers are really supportive and encouraging.

What do you like most about studying at College?

I enjoy having the responsibility to manage my own time and workload and the overall independence compared to other sixth forms.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to go travelling before I start a Sponsored Degree with Vision Express.

Joanna, 2017

Previous school: Royal Alexandra & Albert.

What made you choose Reigate?

I really wanted to take Spanish and it wasn’t on offer at my school’s sixth form as there weren’t enough students to make a class.

How did you decide which subjects to study?

I really struggled to make up my mind and chose five subjects I enjoyed, which looking back was hard work. It’s so nice studying subjects I’ve chosen; I look forward to every single lesson.

How have you found studying a language at Reigate?

The language department is so well equipped; the facilities are amazing and the standard of teaching is really high. Having the weekly hour of Spanish conversation with a native speaker has really helped build my confidence and vocabulary. The teachers are so passionate about their subjects, it makes the lessons fun.

How is College different from school?

I think the rapport with the teachers has made all the difference; they are so open, welcoming and willing to give up their time to help, you just have to ask.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to study a joint degree in Spanish and English Literature and am interested in going into teaching.

Laura, 2017

Previous school: St Bede’s.

Why did you choose Reigate College?

I wanted a change and I felt the College environment offered a good stepping stone from school to university.

Did you find it easy to settle in?

I thought it would be a lot harder. I’ve made so many wonderful friends here. The teachers are great; I genuinely feel they want me to succeed and do my best. As they specialise in A Levels I think they are more focussed and supportive.

Have you enjoyed your subjects?

I’m so pleased with my subject choices as they link so well. I feel so much better informed about current affairs and what’s happening in the world. I joined the College Economics Society to develop my understanding of the key issues facing society.

Do you have any plans for the future?

I’ve applied to study Economics at university, but I’d love to have a gap year first and go travelling.

Sasha, 2017

Previous school: St Bede’s.

Why did you choose Reigate College?

I thought the College had a really strong Performing Arts department and a great range of courses at A Level and BTEC that just weren’t on offer at my school.

What elements of your courses have you enjoyed most?

In Musical Theatre I really enjoyed performing in Chicago. The Media coursework involved producing a film teaser trailer, which I loved and for Acting it was fun writing the script for a comedy horror. Working in a group made it feel like running our own theatre company.

Are you planning a career on the stage?

I’m hoping to go to East 15 acting school in London to do a foundation year in Theatre Arts. I’ve always enjoyed acting and have been involved in Youth Theatre. I take singing and tap lessons and last year I performed at the Camden Fringe Festival. Long term I’d love to be starring in musicals in the West End.

George, 2017

Previous school: The Ashcombe.

What made you choose Reigate?

I liked the fact I could study A Levels and BTECs together to get a good balance between coursework and exams, theory and practical. Reigate was one of only a few places to offer the Diploma in Health & Social Care, which I was really keen on.

How did you find the move from school to College?

I was quite nervous about leaving school, but I soon realised that everyone is in the same position starting College and it was easy making new friends. My tutor and all my teachers are really friendly and supportive.

Have you done any interesting work experience?

As part of the Health & Social Care course, I spent a week working in a local primary school, which I found really rewarding.

What are your career plans?

I’d like to go to university and study Nursing.

Mia, 2017

Previous school: The Beacon.

What made you choose BTEC courses?

I like the practical nature of the courses and the emphasis on coursework meant that I could work steadily all year, rather than having the pressure of performing in exams.

How did you find the move from school to College?

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