Downing Outreach Blog

South West Residential 2017

21 Jul 2017 | Jess Lister |

South West Residential

For the 27th-29th June, we welcomed 36 students from across our South West link areas of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset to Downing for our 18th South West Residential. Each year Downing welcomes Year 12 students from the region to experience Cambridge, and take part in a range of information sessions, tours and academic tasters. Despite the torrential rain, the students managed to battle the elements to arrive at Downing. After drying off, the residential began with a welcome talk and some icebreakers, as well as mapping out where they all came from!

The South West Residential bring together students from across the region

We kicked off with a talk from Admissions Tutor Dr Marcus Tomalin, including sessions on personal statements, the new admissions assessments and how to prepare for the interview. There were some great tips one what to avoid [the word ‘passion’] and what to include [evidence and examples that you really love your subject!] You can find out more about the admissions assessments here:

Day two started with academic taster sessions for all four of our subject groups. Humanities, English and Law enjoyed a source based skills session in Downing’s Heong Gallery, our modern art hub, using the folios from our new Quentin Blake exhibition. Physical Sciences, Maths and Engineering had a tour of the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory just outside Cambridge, as part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Group. Our Biological Sciences, Medics and Social Sciences group took a trip to the department of Biochemistry, where they were shown round current Downing researchers at the department

Quentin Blake- an alumni of the college- has his work displayed in the current college art exhibition gallery

For the afternoon, students got a chance to experience the Cambridge supervision system. Supervisions- small group teaching sessions for which undergraduates prepare written work or problem sheets, are a key part of the Cambridge educational experience, and each subject group was given an hour in Downing’s Maitland Robinson Library to prepare. This was followed by a DoS- a Director of Studies meeting- for each of the subjects, in order for students to find answers to any questions they had about academic life at Cambridge.There was also an opportunity to explore neighbouring college Emmanuel, where students were amazed by the outdoor swimming pool (and the ducks!) as well as some free time in the city.

A busy day ended with a selfie scavenger hunt across Cambridge, with students tasked to take photos across the city led by our fantastic team of undergraduate helpers, who took on the role as cameramen and tour guides! Check out the #SWResidential hashtag and follow our @DiscoverDowning twitter account to see what they got up to.

The South West residential is our flagship event, and it was amazing to work with such a bright and engaged group of students. Look out in April 2018 for information on next years residential, and keep up to date on our other events on the outreach blog.

Jess Lister

Former history student at Emmanuel College, and Downing College Schools Liaison Officer My role involves organising outreach work primarily in the South West, advising both students and teachers in all things related to Cambridge and Higher Education more generally