From GALILEO SCHOOL to Oxford
 

The first graduates from the GALILEO SCHOOL high school will leave for universities at the end of current academic year. Most of them are heading to the universities in the UK.

Question: How did you learn that you had been offered a place at the Oxford University?
Tomáš: I was notified in a message on the 22nd of December and it made my best Christmas present ever.

Question: Why have you decided to apply to the British universities?
Tomáš: I was looking for a course comprising Mathematics and Computer Science. I reviewed the rankings and read the evaluations of world-renowned universities. Regretfully I have not found a single university from Slovakia in the top 500. The United States are a little too far for my parents´ liking and hence I opted for the number one in Europe – the University of Oxford.

Question: Were you not afraid to fail amongst the rival applicants from all over the world?
Tomáš: I have never thought that way. I went for it and I was committed to give my very best. I haven't met there anyone else from Slovakia. Majority of the prospective students came from Britain. There were 1600 applicants to Oxford University. Out of this number 360 applied to my college and took the mathematics aptitude test. Based on the results of the test thirty students were invited to an interview in Oxford. Finally, fifteen students were offered a place.

Question: How was it on the interview day in Oxford?
Tomáš: The invitation arrived in early November. In early December I spent three days at my dream University College. I went through five interviews in total during those three days. Mathematics proved to be a hard theme at the interview and I was surprised to be quizzed on topics we hadn’t covered in school. I wasn’t tested on the knowledge of content as such, the aim of the interview was to assess my cognitive skills: to comprehend and to apply new facts into practice.

Question: Have you responded to offers from other universities?
Tomáš: When applying to universities in the UK a choice of maximum five universities is to be declared. I as well applied to the Imperial College London – a number three university in Europe and a strong contender to Oxford and Cambridge. I successfully attended an interview in London and I was offered a place there too.

Question: What piece of advice would you give to younger students willing to follow you?
Tomáš: To learn, learn…. Jokes aside. I strongly recommend to everyone interested to visit the university of their choice. It is inspires and motivates you to work hard. Universities look for a complex personality and a broad knowledge in a candidate. The grades in Mathematics are not the only decisive factor. Other skills and extracurricular involvement, vaguely connected to the subject of study, often affect the decision making process. Essential is to communicate fluently in English. The Oxford University don’t actually want any special language certificate from me. The IGCSE certificate that I have completed in the first year of GALILEO SCHOOL High School is fully recognised and accepted by Oxford University.

Universities in the UK seek applicants from all over the world. Thousands of prospective students apply to the best colleges every year, however only a fraction of them are invited to an interview. We approached the Principal of GALILEO SCHOOL with the question what should a successful application contain.

The top universities look for students who can prove their language skills in a specific subject area, rather than a general language certificate. The IGCSE certificates are internationally recognised subject exams proving the students´ abilities to learn comprehend and use the English language in specific subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, German language. Our students gain the IGCSE certificates at the end of the first year in High School. These certificates together with the Maturita examination at the end of High School make up the essential evidence of the student ability required by the universities.
Our school works towards the award of the well known language certificates such as Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, IELTS, TOEFL.
Our High School GALILEO SCHOOL prepares students to take the S.A.T.s desired by the American colleges or the GCE exams – A levels, the desired diploma for the British universities.
To become a student of a top university, a student must be an all-rounder. In our school we actively build up the students´ portfolio by joining in national and international competitions, partner cooperation in project work with other schools, universities or the industry. Our graduates for example gained Bronze certificates CREST AWARD from the British Association for Science for their work on the engineering project with our partner school in England.