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Ivy League Dreams Come True for Old Girl

Thursday, 09 January 2014

Rebecca Richards, one of last year’s Deputy Head Girls, has earned a place at Princeton University! This is a fantastic achievement, as there were over 26,000 applicants for the 2014-2015 academic year, and she is one of just 1,900 students who were offered places.

When Rebecca left Bolton School in the summer of 2013, she had a place reading Physics at the University of Warwick, but this was not her ideal choice. After receiving four A* grades at A-Level, she decided not to settle for second-best and took a gap year in order to apply for a number of Ivy League universities in the US. Studying abroad is not a new prospect, but rather one Rebecca has been considering since a careers interview in Year 10. She followed up her initial interest and applied to Harvard when she was in Year 12. This required a lot of dedication; US universities require all applicants to complete SAT and ACT examinations, which Rebecca studied for and completed alongside her AS-Levels. Although she was awarded a place on Harvard’s waiting list, she was unfortunately not successful as few people decline their place.

However, she did not let this disappointment deter her when sitting the tests and applying for the second time: “This year, I was a lot more focused and completed my tests in October, and had my application in by November. I did a lot of revision through September and October, and it paid off.”

Now Rebecca is excited to be joining a university which is known for its incredible academics, particularly in the sciences. Home of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the university is a national centre for nuclear fusion and plasma research, two subjects which Rebecca is particularly interested in. She is also looking forward to the added flexibility that American universities offer in contrast to UK courses: “I am still planning to study physics, but the beauty of the US system is that I don’t have to specify my major until my second year. This means that I can take a really wide variety of classes and keep my options open. I’d really like to pick up a language again and do some more biological and medical physics, such as bioengineering.”

Bolton School pupils are encouraged to consider studying abroad, particularly in America, and Rebecca is the latest of a number of successful applicants to US universities. Her fellow Girls’ Division alumnus Beth Coton, who also left the school in summer 2013, is now reading Psychology with a tennis scholarship at the University of Northern Colorado. Old Girl Emma Saunders is also studying in the US at Alabama University with a swimming scholarship.

On Thursday the 9th January, the Girls’ Division has arranged for Anthony Nemecek to talk to girls in Years 10 to 13 and their parents about Higher Education in the USA. This is a great opportunity for them to learn more, and to see what studying abroad can offer. If students do choose to apply to universities outside of the UK, the school has a great support system in place. Rebecca remembered her own experience: “The application process is very different to the UK, but school was incredibly supportive and helped me so much with my references and the reports that had to be sent. The staff didn’t hesitate to write references and go through the alien US application system. I couldn’t be more grateful to them.”

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Rebecca received outstanding A-Level results in 2013

Rebecca received outstanding A-Level results in 2013