Aspire text picture

Are you up for being really challenged intellectually? Do you want to meet and work together with other students who are just as bright as you are? Are you interested in applying to the most prestigious universities in the UK and abroad to study the most important and exciting subjects? If this sounds like you, then join the A*spire programme!
You will have, or be aiming to achieve, a minimum of 3 A* GCSE grades in traditional subjects, but will probably have around 7. In addition to this you already have chosen to study at least one facilitating subject at college in September. The level of commitment demanded by this programme is necessarily high, but you will find the sessions, which will take place after college once per week, both exciting and thought-provoking.

The A*spire programme will help you to expand your capacity to absorb information, and will train you to think at a level well in excess of that demanded by A levels. Through a range of varied activities you will gain both the necessary confidence and skill in being able to articulate your well-reasoned thoughts about a topic or idea given to you at short notice. It is precisely these skills, in combination with the ability to achieve A* grades at A level, that leading universities and employers are looking for. The college has an enviable track record of sending students to Oxford and Cambridge to read subjects that span the entire academic spectrum, from mathematics all the way to Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic studies.

A picture of Ellie, an Aspire student


Current A*Spire student

Previous School: Matthew Arnold

The A*spire programme has helped to increase my general knowledge on a range of important topics, as well as introducing me to a group of like-minded individuals with similar goals to me.

Ellie is an Oxbridge candidate and already has an inconditional offer from the Russell Group, Nottingham University.

A picture of Lewis, an Aspire student


Current A*Spire student

Previous School: The Magna Carta

I chose Strode's because of its proximity was ideal as it offered all the courses I wanted to do at A-Level which could both challenge me, improve my independence and get the grades I need to get into University.

History has always been one of my strongest hands academically and I try to show that as much as I can in class, to answer what others can't or won't, then if I can't answer it I regroup to make sure I can answer it next time. I was spotted by my history teacher John Marrill and he suggest that I join the Apsire programme, of which I was happy to comply.

I believe the Aspire programme will help me build my cultural knowledge which is highly sought after by Universities as well as get the guidance I need to build on my academics to get the grades I need.

I can't decide to either study law or history and so my University selection would come down to which subject I decide to venture into, I'm thinking of perhaps Durham, UCL, UEA, Exeter University, Cambridge or maybe Oxford, Nottingham University, St Andrews or maybe Warwick University.

I'd love to go into law and become a Barrister, mainly in civil law but potentially a different area instead, however I also would like to go somewhere with History, I would like to teach it but I'd prefer to go into something like Archaeology but that isn't much demand as of the 21st century.

My future goals are to be successful in the role of employment I eventually go into and climb my way up, firstly to get into University as I would be the first person of my family to go and nothing would make my parents prouder, that I didn't waste my educational opportunities and make the most of them.

A picture of Jocelyn, an Aspire student


Current A*Spire student

Previous School: Waldegrave

I chose Strode's because it seemed like a great environment to continue my learning. When I visited, the teachers and students were all really friendly and positive about their experiences. I preferred Strode's to my alternative, which was attending my school sixth form as I felt a college would bridge the gap to university more effectively.

I was invited to the A*spire session and it seems like a crucial opportunity to pursue my goals of attending a Russell Group University as well as broadening my knowledge and skills.

I have found the programme extremely useful. We meet every week after College, when A*Spire arranges events, talks and activities that help us absorb more information and increase our confidence.

At this point I am unsure as to which universities I will be applying to as I have not had the chance to visit many and I don't know what career I want to go in to yet. I just want to attend a good university that will set me up for a fulfilling and challenging career, even if I don't know what that looks like yet.