Katherine Dempsie and Peter Wright, both in S5 at Drummond CHS, have been successful in their application to The Sutton Trust’s prestigious summer US school programme 2017, writes Kirsten Dickson

The Sutton Trust  (ST) aims to tackle inequality and social mobility through education, and Peter and Katherine are the only students from Edinburgh who have made it through the rigorous selection process to the final 150 pupils out of the original 1,000 applicants for this fully funded programme. 

ST was highly impressed by their commitment and suitability, which came across in their applications, as well as at the April Introductory and Finalist Residential where they learned more about undergraduate study in the USA, test preparation and US culture.

It was an extremely strong applicant pool and we all know that Katherine and Peter are looking forward to the exciting opportunities ahead. 

Katherine’s story in her own words

A long and intensive application now feels completely worth it: never had I imagined that I would get into such a prestigious programme.

I originally found out about the programme in S2 and I’ve been on the mailing list ever since. Last year I was finally able to apply. The application form took me about a week to do as I wanted to make sure it was perfect and fully showed everything I was proud of. It’s fair to say now that it was worth it! There was a lot of waiting for that result: it was hard to be excited, knowing this was just the first round, but nonetheless I was ecstatic when I received my first congratulatory email.

Peter and I were pleased for one another and went through the next stage of the process together, booking trains, on the residential, making friends in the Sutton Community and just the general excitement of it all! When the residential came up, the Scottish Sutton students travelled to London together and we all got along really well.

I can’t articulate just how amazing the residential was: the people were so diverse, friendly and intelligent. It both intimidated and inspired me to do well. It was so surprising how supportive complete strangers were to me – they made my worries about big decisions settle.

Getting through to the next stage was just the icing on the cake of a truly amazing experience. I cannot wait for July to arrive!

Peter’s story in his own words

I first learnt about the programme during a Parents evening, and I was immediately interested.

Fast-forward two years and past cohort members were at my school, telling me how it was the best experience of their lives. I went home and started preparing for the application process.  The day the application opened up I was already filling out application forms and filming video interviews. Then in March I got my acceptance letter and I was shocked to say the least.

The programme this year was six times oversubscribed and I was one of the final 150 to be selected out of over 1,000 applications. I learnt about just how beneficial the Trust is to me when I went to the first residential. The programme aims to support students whose only barrier to studying in the USA is paying tuition fees. They offer support with exam revision, help you find an establishment that best fits you, and even help you figure out how to look for scholarships … but all in a way that promotes independence. I am extremely excited to go to the summer school hosted in Yale, and to experience all the different establishments as well as some of the American culture.

Katherine (who eventually hopes to study Forensic Sciences) and Peter (who’s looking at Performing Arts) will travel to Yale University (pictured above) on 25 July 2017. They will be there for two weeks to experience life in a US university, with follow up events scheduled for London in the autumn.

[Yale University photo: Ad Meskens, creative commons]

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