Sidney Sussex has recently hosted 55 talented sixth-form students at residential summer schools designed to give them an insight into study and life at Cambridge.

From August 19th - 23rd, 28 students took part in a science and engineering summer school hosted jointly with Christ's College. Each college hosted students from their link areas (in Sidney's case, Lancashire, Warrington, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea) and the groups joined together for lectures, lab classes and supervision-style teaching in the University departments. Students were able to choose from sessions on topics including quantum mechanics, advanced mathematics, X-ray diffraction, insect biology (including an evening spent trapping moths in Sidney gardens) and Lego robot building.

We also organised an Arts, Humanities and Social Science summer school from August 26th - 30th, attended by 27 students. Academic sessions included a lecture on 'How to do things with poems', a hands-on session with books and manuscripts from the College archives, a taster class in Chinese, a seminar on European Monetary Union and a topical seminar on the politics of the crisis in Syria.

Outside the academic sessions there were a range of social activities, with the evening punting trip and the gala dinner and quiz being particular highlights. Attendance at the summer schools was free for all the participants, thanks to generous support from a number of Sidney alumni and friends.

The events received enthusiastic feedback, and many students really enjoyed the chance to meet other sixth formers who were interested in the same subjects and ideas. One commented 'I thought it would be intimidating, but I have realised that the university and people are very lovely and welcoming. The students and professors are passionate about the subjects they do, which is reassuring and inspiring.' Another said that applying to Cambridge now seems like 'an option rather than just a hope'.

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