Aspire Programme at Alton Campus

We recognise that all students are individuals and that high achieving students often need some specialist support to help them meet their full potential. As such, we offer a special Aspire Programme which our gifted and talented Alton Campus students can attend alongside their study programme. The programme is designed to ensure our students maximise their potential and go on to study at Russell Group and Oxbridge Universities.

As well as working with you in curriculum areas to help you achieve top grades, we will also encourage you to extend your studies through the Extended Project qualification and enrichment activities.

Whatever your plans are we are committed to helping you meet your potential and achieve your goals.

Extended Project Qualification

If you are one of the many students who want to enhance your personal statement when applying for university or a job, or just want to extend your interests in one of your subjects, then the Extended Project is an excellent challenge for committed students.

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a research project on a topic of your choice.

The Extended Project gives you the chance to get more deeply involved with a subject that you are interested in, to develop your research skills and writing skills and to maximise your competitive advantage. You will have the opportunity to apply to do an Extended Project in the second term of the first year.

A wide range of topics are covered by students, including:

  • What were the mistakes made in the Yorkshire Ripper Case?
  • Would a reduction in economic inequality benefit the British economy?
  • Space weather

“Alton are very professional with how they deal with the EPQ process. There’s lots of help and advice available which got me through the final steps of my project.”

“The meetings with my supervisor were very helpful to get bespoke feedback on my project. After each meeting I felt reassured on my next steps in order to complete my project to it’s best ability.”

– Izzy Kinally, previous Alton student

All students who have GCSE profiles suggesting that competitive courses (e.g. Veterinary Medicine) and/or Oxbridge might be an option, will be invited to a meeting to look at their possibilities within the first half term of joining the College.

We have a good track record of students securing places at top universities, with around 20% of our applicants going on to Russell Group universities, such as those alumni now studying History, Law or Medicine at the University of Cardiff. In addition, we currently have former students on a range of courses at Oxford and Cambridge, including Engineering, Computer Science and PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics).

The Programme

If you are thinking of applying to Oxford or Cambridge or for very competitive courses including Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science, then this 20 week course is for you.

Getting into top universities and securing a place on competitive courses takes a lot of work and research and you need to be ready for action.

Topics covered will include –

  • Is Oxbridge a possibility?
  • What are Admissions Tutors looking for?
  • Extending your subject knowledge

Second year students who have been successful in obtaining places on competitive courses will be invited in to give you their words of wisdom. It runs from January through to May.

Our Aspire Programme can help you prepare for your application. Oxbridge applicants are provided with a subject-related Oxbridge tutor to provide bespoke support, including a mock interview.

Alton Campus also participates in the HE+ project in conjunction with the University of Cambridge. This offers some of our Aspire students, particularly those who are first-generation university applicants, the opportunity to attend evening extension lectures and to go on a day trip to visit Cambridge colleges.

Oxbridge universities can offer you –

  • World Experts
  • Tutorials & supervisions
  • Reputation
  • Facilities & resources
  • Independent learning
  • Graduate employment rate
  • Range of courses – the traditional & the exotic!

Want to know if Oxbridge might be in your future? Oxbridge universities look for the following in students when reviewing applications –

  • Top grades at GCSE and A-level
  • Typical offer A*A*A / AAA or A*AA
  • Ambition, stamina, enthusiasm
  • Enjoy learning & thinking in depth

Be prepared to be CHALLENGED! 


As a high achieving student, you will be encouraged to take part in activities within your subject areas designed to help stretch and challenge you. These might include taking part in trips and competitions, joining enrichment classes or attending lectures from specialist speakers. This list is by no means comprehensive but gives a flavour of the types of activities you may be able to get involved in:

  • Design & Technology students entering the Young Engineer for Britain
  • Maths students taking part in the British Maths Olympiad and the BMO Training Camp
  • Physics students taking part in the ‘Robotics Challenge’ or joining the Rocket Science group
  • BTEC Science students taking part in the CSI Forensics Day
  • Law students competing in the Bar Mock Trial
  • English students taking part in the ‘Poetry Slam’ or publishing their anthology of creative writing
  • Music students encouraged to take part in national competitions and auditions such as the BBC Proms Young Composers Competition and the National Youth Jazz Collective Summer School
  • Media students competing in the ‘Show us your Shorts’ film competition
  • Law, Sociology and Politics students attending lectures with Baroness Sharp and the British Army
  • Computing students taking part in the British Informatics Olympiad
  • Students from several subject areas attending university based lectures and conferences

Each year we provide a variety of Gifted and Talented events for school pupils. These include inspiring talks from leading academics from prestigious universities such as the University of Oxford, on topics such as ‘how to gain a competitive edge when applying to university’ and former Alton students giving insight into what it is really like studying at the University of Oxford and Cambridge, to creative and critical thinking workshops and team challenges and competitions.

A series of lectures from a range of in-house experts covering diverse topics, rounded off with a lecture from a visiting university academic. Designed to stretch and challenge you academically, the programme also provides very useful material for personal statements.

Some of the talks this year include –

  • ‘Progression into the creative industries’ delivered by Andrew Moss, Teacher of Media
  • ‘Can we hear black holes collide?’ delivered by Dr. Laura Nuttall, Senior Lecturer in Gravitational Waves at the University of Portsmouth

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