Universities & Careers
‘Read, read and read some more. And then be ready to have a robust discussion’. The university philosophy at Harris Westminster is built on this maxim; each student is encouraged to cultivate a keen interest in their chosen subject by reading, exploring and solving problems far beyond the syllabus from the beginning of Year 12. We take a rigorous and exploratory approach to scholarship which teaches students to forge and articulate connections between their current and future studies.
The unique timetable at Harris Westminster reflects university style learning: students attend weekly lectures from leading academics and professionals during Lab; they deliver student-led seminars as part of Societies; and benefit from a rich array of Cultural Perspectives courses designed to stretch their scholarship beyond their chosen subjects. This depth of learning equips them for the rigours and breadth of any university course.
Students begin their university preparations in the Autumn term of Year 12. They are introduced to the Universities section of the library, guided through the UCAS process, shown how to research courses, and prompted to think critically about their existing attainment and be strategic in boosting their predicted grades. Each student is allocated an academic mentor in the spring term of Year 12 who helps to narrow down course choices and institutions. One to one tutorials in the summer term allow mentors to direct co-curricular interests, curate reading lists and provide detailed feedback on personal statements before the break. Students applying to Oxbridge are expected to enter the Wigoder Essay Prize competition and to attend weekly tutorials in the Autumn term of Year 13 to prepare them for aptitude tests and practise interview style discussion. Medical applicants are given nuanced and extensive support through university lectures, work experience placements and volunteering in medical or carers contexts. We also work closely with our partners at Westminster School. In addition to a number of trips that we organise to a diverse range of institutions, we endeavour to show students exactly what is required to develop a genuine commitment and love of their subject.
At Harris Westminster, we work hard to ensure that our students have the competitive edge that the most selective universities require. Our University Coordinator meets with leading university admissions tutors to learn what they will be looking for in applications and at interview. Subject teachers are well versed in how to write references that will demonstrate the flair and aptitude of their students and the University Coordinator oversees the process to ensure every student puts forth a cogent and coherent application. Intellectual interest is at the heart of further education and by fostering this early on, we hope to provide our students with the best chance of success in their life beyond Harris Westminster.
At Harris Westminster we support and prepare our students to make informed choices about their future once they graduate. Most of our students will be preparing for the university pathway where we provide guidance via our PSCHE programme and through individual mentoring. The focus is on supporting students in their applications to some of the countries’ top institutions, such as Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. Weekly Lab talks from professionals who come from a wide field of careers and our Cultural Perspectives programme enable and support students to make informed choices regarding their future careers. All Year 12 students meet with our in-house careers advisor who provides high quality impartial guidance on a variety of programmes that support them in making ambitious yet realistic plans for their future. We also encourage all students to complete a programme of work experience over the summer between Year 12 and Year 13.