Physics: Nadia Distils Bede’s ‘Headstart’ Success


It wasn't even seven months ago, as a class of new AS Physics students, that Dr Dawson was already warning us about the challenges we now faced with regards to our future and in applying to universities.

Aside from being an excellent way to instil some motivation and focus into our barely more than GCSE minds, he introduced us to the Institute of Physics, EDT Headstart courses and other such science related organisations so that we could get ahead in exploring physics outside of the classroom and potentially experience things that could set us apart from those students we will be competing against once UCAS applications begin.

The Headstart program, which particularly appealed to me, is an initiative of the Engineering Development Trust that comprises of week-long residential summer courses at top universities across the country in a range of STEM subjects.

They give year 12 students a chance to taste undergraduate life through lectures, practical demonstrations and group projects in world-class facilities. The courses are an opportunity to gain insight into highly specialised fields that students may be considering.

As a result, a handful of Lower Sixth physicists went through the arduous process of applying for Headstart, which was made to mimic the UCAS process that we will face next year; this included selecting five preferred courses, entering our GCSE results and current studies, as well as writing a shortened personal statement!


As an extremely over-subscribed organisation, (Headstart must reject over 1000 students every year), they were looking for evidence of passion and commitment to STEM subjects.

It was a daunting experience - almost as bad as the long wait that followed!

In the end, it was all worth the effort as we recently found out that three Bede's students have so far been awarded places, all at courses and universities that they were very keen to go to.

Ben Laws has been accepted to do Chemical Engineering at Bath, Ben Stannard has been accepted to do Maths at Lancaster, and I have been accepted for a Nuclear Physics placement at the University of Manchester.

We can all be proud of ourselves for making it through the selection process, and we are very excited about throwing ourselves into the challenging new environments that the courses offer this summer.

I am also confident that many other students will follow our lead in finding interesting ways to spend their summer learning, so thank you to Dr Dawson for that inspirational conversation all those months ago!


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