5 February 2015

Image of Sixth Form College Student Wins $200,000 Funded Place at US University

Kirsty McLaren has won a place and a financial aid package worth in excess of $200,000 to study at St Olaf College in North Field, Minnesota, after participating in the Sutton Trust’s US Programme run in partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission. The 18 year old from Hoylake competed with thousands of applicants in the UK to win a place on the scholarship scheme.

Last summer, Kirsty, who is currently Head Girl at The Sixth Form College and is studying Geography, English Language and Sociology, was one of 175 students selected for a summer school in the US out of 2,200 applicants. Kirsty spent a week in Boston, USA last summer touring their renowned Universities including, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Yale and Harvard. Kirsty benefited from residential activities and received an intensive programme of support, delivered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission over a number of months before and after their US visit, which covered admission tests, college choices and the application process.

Kirsty is one of 38 students who have been selected under the early application deadline to US universities and will receive a financial aid package to support her through her studies that will cover her University tuition fees and residential fees amounting to more than $200,000.

The academic 18 year old, became interested in St Olaf College due to the fact it is one of the top 50 Universities in the USA with a strong Religious Studies department.

Kirsty said, “St Olaf College describes itself as one of the USA’s leading Liberal Arts Colleges with a vibrant Lutheran (Christian) faith tradition and specialises in studying abroad which really appeals to me.” Kirsty, a practising Christian, will be studying a Liberal Arts degree and is considering majoring in Religion from her second year with hopes to work as a Christian Missionary in the future.

“It is overwhelming to know that I have been successful in gaining a place. Just over a year ago I had not even considered studying in America so it has been a massive change in my life plan - it is really exciting. The application process was emotional at times but I have had so much support from my family and the tutors at College throughout the process to ensure I met all of the deadlines.”

Kirsty was home schooled prior to joining the Sixth Form College and studied the International Certificate in Christian Education. She chose to join Wirral’s only specialist sixth form college because of its reputation for academic excellence and also its strong community ethos and pastoral care.

Personal and Guidance Tutor at The Sixth Form College, Charles Knight introduced Kirsty to the Sutton Trust Programme and has supported her through the application process, “Kirsty has worked incredibly hard over the last year so I am delighted she has gained a place in her chosen University. Her success has also inspired our other students as the number of students applying to The Sutton Trust’s USA scheme has risen from one last year to six.”

Charles added, “We are keen to continue to support our students with opportunities such as Kirsty’s, through the Honours Programme at the College and have seen a number of students apply to several other Social Mobility initiatives this year with the Sutton Trust and many other organisations.”

Principal Kathryn Podmore said: “Kirsty’s success is a real credit to her and everyone at the College is proud of her achievement. We are sure Kirsty will have no problems with making her dreams of working as a Christian Missionary a reality and we’re happy to have been able to be the first step along what we are sure is a very bright future.”


Tags: Wirral Sixth Form A Level Birkenhead Student Enrichment University Career Pathways Higher Education USA Sutton Trust Social Mobility Programme

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