The Granta Formula
We believe in attention to detail, and empowering our students to confidently take the next step. High school/sixth form is a time to explore and be inspired. At Granta, we take the quest for knowledge seriously. This means prioritizing the academic and career interests of each and every student. To that end, we make it our mission to learn about the interests and goals of each of our students, and help them map out their action plan. In this sense, Granta defines itself as an all encompassing tertiary education preparatory program. Students will learn about their chosen topic in great detail, while at once developing the skills to continue pursuing their academic interests at the highest level. We walk our students through what it takes to pursue a degree at the Oxbridge level, and how to go about making this dream a reality. In addition to course lectures and one-on-one tutorials, students will receive training in how to construct a strong personal narrative, as well as decide on which schools are best suited to the student’s unique interests and goals. Additionally, we connect our students with current University of Cambridge researchers, which allows them the privilege of interfacing with cutting edge research and the minds pioneering this work.
The bulk of our students’ time is spent in lecture, where they explore their chosen topic in depth with their instructor. During these two-hour sessions, which take place every weekday, our experienced and dedicated instructors introduce students to the fundamentals of their subject, and walk them through the applications of taught material in class assignments. Class emulates the Oxbridge lecture style; the lecturer assumes assigned readings have been completed, and topics are explored accordingly. Students receive assigned readings the evening before each lecture and are encouraged to discuss and ask questions throughout lecture, as content is explored and supplemented with additional teachings.
Tutorials are a defining characteristic of the Oxbridge experience. They are an opportunity to establish a one-on-one dialogue between student and instructor. At Granta, we believe strongly in this dialogue, and in the mentorship relationship that it fosters. All of our students at Granta will have weekly tutorial session with their instructor, which will serve as an opportunity for them to engage with the course material on a deeper level. These sessions will also be used to discuss independent research project design and progress. As students engage with their instructor one-on-one, they will learn how to ask fruitful questions that will allow them to best utilise their time. This training and experience will be invaluable to them as they head into university, where developing strong relationships with teachers is crucial to getting the most out of the university experience. These tutorial sessions will also be used by the instructor to provide each student with specific feedback on his or her performance in class and on assignments.
At Granta, we endeavour to expose our students to a curriculum that closely mimics what they will see at university. To this end, all of our science-based courses integrate a lab component. In addition to lectures, students will attend a weekly two-hour laboratory session. Current government regulations necessitate that this component be virtual; we have accordingly altered our formatting to ensure that our students can engage in guided exploration of lecture concepts from the comfort of their own home. At the beginning of each week, students will be introduced to the lab topic for the week. They will be assigned pre-lab questions, which will encourage them to engage with the topic to be explored, and think through methodology and set-up. Students will work in groups under the supervision of their instructor in a lab setting as they endeavour to support or refute a chosen hypothesis while learning about methodology, data processing, and graphical representation of data. Each student will ultimately produce a full-length lab report for grading. This requirement will serve as an opportunity for students to learn how to write a quality, university-level scientific report.
Independent research skills are essential to success at university and beyond; we accordingly prioritize the development of these skills at Granta. Shortly after commencing lectures, students will be introduced to the independent research project component of their course. They will choose an instructor-approved topic to research, and then proceed to work closely with their instructor throughout the length of the course, developing and executing their ideas. The instructor will walk students through how to develop a strong research question, and then endeavour to answer it in a clear and convincing manner. They will be taught how to uncover relevant primary and secondary sources, and incorporate these sources into their work. Tutorials will serve as opportunities to review their project-related progress, and receive feedback from the instructor. This work will culminate in a written piece and related presentation that will both be graded. The presentation will be delivered on the final day of class in front of classmates.
The Granta experience is designed to fully immerse students in the Cambridge experience. With this in mind, guest speakers have been incorporated as an integral part of the program. Our guest speakers are all affiliated with the University of Cambridge— either as current researchers, graduates, lecturers and/or professors. They are experts within their field, and are passionate about sharing their work with Granta students. Each speaker is handpicked in alignment with students’ course content. Those students engaged in biochemistry studies, for example, may hear from researchers leading the lab-based fight against coronavirus, whilst our English students might engage with Cambridge alumni playwrights in London. Whatever the topic may be, our guest speakers have ample experience studying and ultimately practising and/or teaching it.
Our students will hear a lecture from their guest speaker, and then have the opportunity to ask questions. This is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the types of careers available to them within their field of interest, and ask candid questions about the challenges and rewards of heading down a specified path.
personal Narrative Workshops
Academic mastery is only one piece of the puzzle en route to and through university. The ideal top tier university candidate endeavours beyond this space, intent on nurturing their curiosities with a multitude of extracurricular experiences. In our Personal Narrative Workshops, our University Preparation Specialist will help students identify and, if they haven’t already, pursue these experiences. Students will explore the options available to them for tertiary education in the UK and internationally, learn about the differences between the respective institutions and application processes, and consider what they need to apply competitively. Each student will develop an application action plan, which will help guide them through the timing and requirements of applications to their target schools. Our University Preparation Specialist will workshop sample personal statements and CVs with students to give them an idea of what they must strive for when creating their personal narrative. They will come away from these sessions oriented to make the best application decisions, and prepared to present themselves in an intriguing and unique way to prospective schools.