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STEM SMART Residential 2022

STEM SMART at Magdalene

Magdalene recently participated in an innovative, cross-college Widening Participation initiative designed to strengthen university applications to Engineering and Physical Sciences.

The STEM SMART programme, in conjunction with Isaac Physics, provides high-achieving students with academic enrichment and university application advice throughout their A Level studies. The programme comprises online learning, weekly tutorials, and a four-day residential in Cambridge. To be eligible, participants must attend a state-maintained school and belong to a group that is statistically less likely to progress to higher education.

Magdalene hosted sixteen students for the residential in August 2022. The students attended academic sessions at the Cavendish Laboratory, during which they engaged with problem-solving activities relating to Maths, Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering. Alongside the academic sessions designed to raise A Level attainment, the students also received advice and guidance regarding the Natural Sciences Admissions Assessment (NSAA) and Engineering Admissions Assessment (ENGAA), to build confidence around making an application to the University of Cambridge.

Outside of their academic sessions, Magdalene’s cohort were able to experience life in a Cambridge College. The group received a tour of the College site, stayed in student accommodation in Cripps Court, and ate meals in Ramsay Hall. The students also enjoyed a chauffeured punt tour along the College Backs and a Formal Hall at Christ’s College. Throughout the visit, the students were able to talk to and ask questions of Magdalene Student Ambassadors, who shared their insights about living and studying at Magdalene.

By the end of the residential, 88% of Magdalene’s cohort reported that they were ‘definitely’ planning to apply to either Oxford or Cambridge, and 94% stated that they believed they would fit in at the University of Cambridge.

‘The residential has made getting in [to Cambridge] feel a lot more achievable.’ – Attendee, STEM SMART residential, Magdalene College.

Following the success of this year’s pilot programme, STEM SMART has now opened applications for the 2023 programme, which will also include Biological Sciences. More information and application forms are available on the Cambridge Undergraduate Study STEM SMART page. Applications close on 31 October 2022.

Miss Natalie Thompson, Schools Liaison Officer