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How Repton School helps students secure ambitious college opportunities

The time for this year’s senior sixth graders is getting closer and closer to training, embarking on exciting apprenticeships and starting their careers. Classes of 2021 will face similar challenges as last year’s students in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. But Derbyshire’s co-educational independent school, Repton, goes out of its way to help students aspire to regardless of ambitious degrees and careers.

Repton School is dedicated to shaping their students for successful careers in the modern world. The school combines traditional curricula with creative and future-oriented subjects so that all students can enjoy a comprehensive education. Each staff member – teaching and pastoral care workers – also strives to help students expand their global awareness, intellectual curiosity, and individual skills so that they can thrive in their chosen careers.

International university evening of the Repton School.

In Repton’s recent effort to inspire students about the possibilities of their future, the school invited all parents and students to a virtual evening at international universities last month. Repton hosted the event with The University Guys to connect students with universities and give them an insight into the higher education opportunities available to them.

During the event, parents and students heard presentations from two US universities, Vanderbilt University and Claremont McKenna College, which specialize in research and the arts, respectively. They then presented study options in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. These lectures were just a handful of opportunities offered to Repton students.

Repton urges students to think big in order to achieve their goals. With the right opportunity waiting abroad, Repton believes that students should not feel that the opportunity is not available to them. Among the Reptonians who have studied abroad, former college student Ellie Mitchell is currently pursuing a degree in economics and is swimming competitively at an Ivy League university in America.

Here Ellie reflects on the support she has received from Repton’s staff in helping her create her own American dream.

Ellie’s decision to study abroad.

Competitive swimmer and business student Ellie Mitchell knew from a young age that she wanted to study in America. She is happy that Repton was able to help her with this.

During her senior year at Repton, Ellie took the opportunity to graduate abroad and toured numerous universities in the United States. She found that American universities tend to have particularly impressive sports facilities – often on a larger scale than the UK – and decided not to apply to local universities, especially since she had stayed at many UK universities during her long swimming career.

“I wanted to have a different university experience – something completely new and exciting to me compared to the many university swimming pools I had visited so often,” says Ellie.

Ellie notes that the US university application process is very different from the UK system. However, with the help of Repton’s staff, she was able to navigate the applications with ease. As Ellie worked on her applications, she also found that admissions teams and coaches from US universities were excited about a student in England and wanted to help too.

Shortly after Ellie submitted her applications, Brown University in Rhode Island offered her a degree in economics and swam on one of their competitive teams. Accepting her place at the prestigious university meant Ellie had to sign a “probable letter,” a document that legally prevented her from entering the UK UCAS process.

Ellie is enjoying her graduation and training in an Olympic swimming pool. She has access to two gyms, hot tubs, ice baths, recovery rooms, and even her own physical therapist. When Ellie is not training for her swimming championships, she also likes to use the university’s indoor sports track, soccer and hockey pitches and the ice hockey rink.

Support from Repton.

Ellie reflects on the immense support she received from Repton School during her application process at the university. She recalls spending two hours each Saturday studying for her ACT exam – a test used for college admission in America – with the encouragement and support of the math department.

After Ellie decided to study economics, she also enjoyed the guidance Mr. Exley and Mr. Marston gave to help her find a place at her ideal university.

“Mr. Exley has been a tremendous help with academic questions and my letter of recommendation,” says Ellie. ‘As a result of, and credit to, the economics department at Repton, I continued studying economics with Brown. I am very happy to have been taught and inspired by these two great teachers. ‘

Meanwhile, Repton’s swim coach, Mr. Pollock, helped Ellie balance her rigorous training regimen with her A-Level and ACT studies so that she could be successful in both her demanding academic and athletic pursuits.

Additionally, Ellie is grateful for the assistance Repton’s career ladder Swanston gave her in cutting her shortlist for university to Brown University. She describes it as a “source of knowledge for all university admissions”.

Study overseas.

Studying abroad has enabled Ellie to get the most out of swimming and business. She chose to graduate from Brown University in Economics, not only because of her excellent reputation, but also because she has 16 additional courses on top of that course. Ellie loves the quirk of these courses and enjoyed choosing between fascinating options not widely available in the UK. These courses cover the socioeconomic factors of Hispaniola, Beyoncé’s music, the art of ice cream making, and making movies with an iPhone.

Opting for a university in another country has opened up more opportunities for Ellie than she ever imagined. In particular, she highlights Brown University’s extensive alumni network, where she met sports graduates who provide invaluable mentoring to current students.

“Brown has a very strong school spirit, so alumni are more than willing to offer their guidance, advice, and work experience,” says Ellie. “When you are on a team, you also have your own network of strong friends, as you train and race together for many hours.”

Outside of her studies, Ellie made the most of American university culture by joining a sorority where she made many new friends. She chose the Delta Gamma Sisterhood, which includes around 400 female students at the university and is also a national organization in the United States.

“As an English student, I had to see what a sisterhood is about!” Says Ellie.

Ellie’s advice to reptonians.

Ellie looks back at her time at Repton School with fondness and advises current sixth graders to research potential universities as soon as possible.

“That includes researching where you want to go, and specifically the academic program at the university, as well as the athletic accomplishments, the types of students who go, the facilities and the campus on offer,” says Ellie.

“You should also speak to the variety of knowledgeable teachers at Repton, starting with Mr. Swanston, who can all provide great advice and expertise regarding the process and commitment required. I remember Mr. Swanston telling me how much I would love Brown’s campus and how beautiful it is before I visited and he was sure to be right! The earlier you start, the easier the process becomes. ‘

Ellie encourages students not to feel discouraged if they don’t hear about inquiries from the university right away. While researching her college opportunities, she emailed around 15 swim coaches each week. She often had to email two or three times before hearing anything. But Ellie’s university swim coach later told her that her emails demonstrated her commitment to break away from the norm and study internationally. Ellie points out that sending inquiries is a great way to convey your personality to universities, which can be just as important as grades.

Opportunities for Repton students.

Ellie is one of many Reptonians who continued their dream careers after completing their journey with one of the top performing schools in England. Repton encourages all students to reach their full potential by the end of their sixth grade studies and move on to the next exciting phase of their lives. This year the school is determined not to let the pandemic affect student travel as they study in universities and take apprenticeships across the country and around the world.

Learn about life after Reptons and Reptons college opportunities.

About the Repton School.

Located in the rolling South Derbyshire countryside, Repton is an independent boarding school widely known for its admirable exam results, impressive athletic awards, and dedication to helping students in and out of the classroom. The school’s history dates back to 1557 and students enjoy studying in the 16th-century buildings on the campus. Aside from the historical backdrop, Repton focuses on securing the future of its curricula and pastoral care, and is dedicated to preparing students for the modern future and achieving their individual, ambitious goals.

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