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Emma Wherrett
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‘City of Bristol College truly was the stepping stone into the rest of my life’, Emma’s off to Cambridge

A former City of Bristol College student has been accepted onto a Masters’ programme at the UK’s top university Cambridge, and she has the dedicated team of academic and pastoral staff at the college to thank.

Emma Wherrett enrolled on City of Bristol College’s GCSE Plus programme in 2013 when she was 18 having never sat a formal examination.

The GCSE Plus programme was held over one year and is an intensive course which aims to help build the skills and knowledge you need to achieve grade 4 (C) or above in specific subjects. The programme requires a lot of self-motivation and commitment to achieve.

She explained: “Having been forced to withdraw from mainstream education at the age of 12 due to illness, I was not only extremely ambivalent about my ability to perform academically, but anxious about the impact my lack of qualifications would have on my future career prospects. The thought I might one day be in a position to apply to university was something I hardly dared to dream of.”

Emma speaking about her first term at the University of Oxford.

But dream she did and after years of hard work, Emma is now finishing her final term at the University of Oxford and is preparing to undertake her Masters at the University of Cambridge.

After completing the GCSE Plus programme, as well as an AS Level in film studies, Emma was able to progress into A Levels with the college and opted to study history, English language and English literature and soon excelled.

After securing a set of A* grades across the board, Emma quickly secured a place at the University of Oxford – the second best university in the country – to study English language and literature, where she is now in her final time.

“With the support and encouragement of tutors, the anxiety about the future was displaced by an intense love of learning in the present. This coming October, I have received a further offer to study towards a Masters qualification at University of Cambridge.”

The former student said City of Bristol College helped her to ‘discover herself’ and build up her confidence. When she left the college in 2017, she said the centre had a ‘buzz like no other’ which gave City of Bristol College its own identity.

She added: “City of Bristol College truly was the stepping stone into the rest of my life and it still feels extraordinary to reflect on what its dedicated team of academic and pastoral staff have enabled me to achieve. Not only through nurturing my scholarly potential, but by ceaselessly endeavouring to develop my self-belief.

“To anyone looking for a vibrant, inclusive and inspiring academic environment in which to continue their studies, I cannot recommend City of Bristol highly enough.”

In 2019, two thirds of the College’s A Level students secured a 100% overall pass rate in the following subjects: art and design, photography, business studies, English language, English literature, film studies, further maths, geography, history, media studies, physics and politics. Find out about the college’s full range of inspirational A Level programmes here.