Competition to win a spot at one of the world’s most prestigious universities has always been fierce. It is fiercer still today. While exceptional grades and charismatic co-curriculars can open doors, they are no longer the sole determinants of getting into these ivory towers. In 2023 and beyond, a successful application to the world’s best institutes of higher learning demands far more.
Concord College understands this need for a more multifaceted approach to education.
Nestled in the serene countryside of Shropshire, Concord College, is home to more than 570 bright and ambitious students. With approximately 40 nationalities represented, the college provides a diverse, safe, supportive, and engaging space where students like Ginny from Hong Kong can hone their skills while effortlessly finding a sense of belonging
“Concord was very different from what I expected of a British boarding school. It had quite a large number of students from the same background as me, so I found it rather easy to make friends and connect with others,” Ginny says.
Concord is the winner of the Independent Schools of the Year award for best International Student Experience. Ranked as one of the top 125 private schools in the world, Concord is both studious and joyful. Here, students not only aim to get good grades but also to be happy, confident and capable of making the most of their opportunities.
One event that exemplifies this best is Model UN. “Older ones run the event, chair discussions and coach younger students” says principal Dr. Michael Truss. “Students are allocated a nation (not their own) and topics requiring extensive research, writing, teamwork, presentations, and debates. It’s a fantastic day, and with so many students involved – it’s also a little competitive as house points are on offer.”
Classrooms are just as studious and joyful. Here, students follow curricula that are demanding and challenging. Their carefully designed, innovative programmes help students develop multidisciplinary thinking, laying a solid foundation to employ critical thinking skills to solve complex problems. Teachers closely monitor every student’s academic progress to ensure that they are fully engaged and to identify if additional support is required for them to excel.
All these have led Concord’s students to excel in their A Levels exams —over half of A Levels students achieved AAA or better in 2023. 33 students gained A*A*A* or better, while at GCSE, 90% scored between 7 and 9 (A* or A grades) for the 2023 examinations. Such excellence led Concord to be awarded the Best Schools’ co-educational boarding school for A Levels results.
Beyond academics, Concord boasts a comprehensive super-curriculum that supports the broader intellectual and social development of students. There are various societies and activities that transcend the standard exam syllabus. From ethical discussions to debates on international relations, from charitable campaigns to recreational pursuits like music and sports, students are equipped not just with academic prowess but also with life skills to lead a balanced and fulfilling life.
“We encourage all students from their earliest days at Concord to stretch themselves beyond the curriculum to explore and challenge themselves,” Dr Truss says. “Once students reach Sixth Form, we specialise in supporting students interested in particular universities or courses. We run visits to universities and work with students on preparing for university entrance tests (including running coaching sessions, practice tests, etc) and interviews. Tutors, university coordinators and other staff support students throughout the application process.”
What sets Concord apart is its commitment to shaping well-rounded individuals. The college’s emphasis on outdoor education, including trips and activities, challenges students and helps them develop not only personal but also social and leadership skills. For instance, the 6.1 students recently enjoyed an outdoor education trip to the Conway Centre in Anglesey, which allowed them to engage in various team-building activities — rock climbing, mountain biking, surfing, and more — fostering camaraderie and personal growth.
“I enjoy participating in classes with some of the brightest minds in the country while also enjoying myself on trips arranged by Concord to places like Birmingham, Cambridge, London and Oxford,” student Isaac says. “Outside of the classroom, I could go to one of the student-run clubs, participate in Concord’s various sporting events, or enjoy some cooking in the student kitchen. There was no limit to what I could do.”
This commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed. Concord secured finalist spots in the “Inventive Sports Programme” and “Most Dynamic STEM Programme” categories of the Muddy Stilettos’ Best School Awards 2023.
Such holistic education at Concord leads its students to gain admission to top universities. Over 100 students from Concord’s class of 2023 are destined for World Top 100 universities, with 12 securing coveted places at Oxford or Cambridge across various disciplines.
The success stories of Concordians extend far beyond academic achievements. From excelling in diverse fields like medicine, architecture, and engineering to earning prestigious awards like the Duke of Edinburgh, Concord students epitomise well-rounded success.
Click here to learn more about Concord College.