The Brilliant Club is designed for high achieving students in year 7, 8 and 9 to establish the path required to get into a Russell Group university. The program also helps students to develop academically. em>
The Brilliant Club allows students chances to go on trips to some of these universities. Last year, I was lucky enough to visit Nottingham University and Cambridge University.
Once you have had your university visit, you are given an assignment; the assignment has many different lessons with your university mentor (ours was from Cambridge and he was studying for a PhD in History) about how to write your essay. This is done over a course of weekly sessions. At the end of each session, you are given a piece of homework to complete electronically and be submitted prior to the following week’s session. All of these homework pieces are marked and handed back to you so that they can be used as help in your final essay. My assignment was about the French Revolution and for the final assessment, I had to write a 1500 word essay with the title, “Why Was There a French Revolution?” In my essay, I achieved a 1st, which is equivalent to performing to an excellent standard in GCSE. I achieved 70 marks out of 100.
To achieve the 1st, I had to do a lot of research independently, which taught me that gaining access to a Russell Group university requires a lot of extra work and dedication, as I was having to do this on top of my school work. I had to learn about other people’s theories in order to conclude my own opinion. This was challenging because there are so many different academic ideas!
One of the things that helped me was very carefully drafting all of my paragraphs; being sure not to leave any typing errors or generalisation. It was all about accuracy, so this is something it has also helped me with. I had to be very specific with my wording in order to avoid plagiarism and also had to “cite” my sources of information, much like a real university essay
Another step I took to achieve my grade was pacing: I gave myself a timetable on what I wanted completed and my when; ensuring that I only worked for two hours at a time so as not to overwork myself. This helped massively with organising myself.
In the program, I learn many interesting things and important life lessons too – it wasn’t all about the academic side! For instance, I had to have an interview with a Cambridge University student, which helped develop my confidence and put me through the rigor of a real life interview. Once of the most crucial lessons I learnt was to plan my work.
This program has helped me to grow as a student and I would definitely recommend others to go for it! Despite there being a lot of work, it all helped towards a great result.
By Jo Cole