Prior's Field September 2018

Path to Oxford for Caitlin Shepperson

Published Thursday 14th of April 2016 05:35:24 AM

Seventeen-year-old ACG Parnell College graduate Caitlin Shepperson is about to realise her dream of studying Chemistry at the University of Oxford. But it hasn’t been an easy road to get there. From the age of five, Caitlin wanted to study at a university abroad. She knew it would be a competitive process – more than 17,000 people apply for 3,200 places at the world-renowned university - but with results of over 90% in Maths, Chemistry and Physics in her final year Cambridge International Examinations, she decided to apply regardless. Not realising that a reference from her school needed to be sent in with her application, she almost missed the deadline to submit it. Luckily, just half an hour before the deadline, ACG Parnell College Principal Larne Edmeades rallied and Caitlin received the document with ten minutes to spare. While her interview over Skype with four Oxford Chemistry professors went well, the selectors weren’t totally sure if they would make Caitlin an offer. Two weeks later, they called at 11pm at night – the decision had to be made the next day, they knew it was late, but was she available for a second interview? She re-interviewed wearing her pyjamas. A week later, Caitlin received an acceptance letter to Pembroke College at the University of Oxford. Now, the nationally ranked competitive diver who captained last year’s NZ team to the Pacific School Games, is training six times per week and focusing on her sport until she starts at the University of Oxford in September. Caitlin was the school’s top scholar in Maths, placing first in school for IGCSE, AS and A2. In year 13 she obtained a NZQA scholarship in Statistics. She was a prefect, and participated in buddy reading in primary school and peer tutoring. She passed grade 8 piano when she was 15, set up a science club for middle school students alongside a few friends, and took part in Chemistry Olympiad. Principal of ACG Parnell College, Larne Edmeades, put Caitlin’s success down to her hard work and focus: “She has an unswerving focus to perform at the highest level, a real determination to attend to detail in every subject, and an ability to carry a substantial workload,” he said. Caitlin said she is glad she made the application and grateful for the support that ACG Parnell has given her to get where she is now: “The staff went out of their way to help me. Mr Fong [Maths teacher] even held tutorials in the weekend before my Maths exam. Whenever I had questions, they were always there to help me.” Caitlin also received offer to study from Caltech in the USA and Sydney University. - See more at:
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