27 May 2016

A Bilborough College student has been selected from more than 1,200 applicants across the UK for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience one of America’s top universities.

Olivier Niyibizi, 17, of Nottingham, is one of 150 students who have been awarded a place on the Sutton Trust US Programme 2016 and he will be following in his brother Idris’ footsteps.

Idris, 19, who now attends the University of Sheffield, was accepted on to the Sutton Trust programme when he was at Nottingham Academy Sixth Form in 2014 and stayed at Yale University in New Haven.

Olivier, of St Ann’s, will also stay at Yale University from July 26th to August 8th 2016, when he will live on campus and take part in a range of activities.

Olivier, who is studying A-Levels in Maths, Computer Science, Spanish and Business, said he was thrilled to be selected for the programme.

He said:

“I honestly didn't know if I would get a place or not but when I heard I was accepted, I was really excited. I've been given the chance to gain a greater appreciation for American culture and to meet some of the best and the brightest students in the UK. I hope to develop valuable skills that will help me throughout life and gain many memorable experiences.

“The main reason I wanted to apply for this was that I thought this was an opportunity I couldn't miss. I've always had a fascination with the USA, the people, the culture, the landmarks, and everything in between has made it the place I've always wanted to go to. So to potentially have the chance to study there was something I had to go for.”

Olivier had to satisfy strict criteria to qualify for the programme which included achieving eight A or A* grades at GCSE.

He had to fill in a rigorous online application form and complete a video interview before taking part in a four-day residential course in London in April.

Olivier said:

“The application process was very comprehensive, ranging from questions about education and financial information to questions about my life, views and experiences. I would say the most difficult part was the video interview. I had to talk about myself, why I wanted to go to the US and I had to research and talk about an American university from a set list of choices. I really hoped I would get a place but I had heard from my older brother about the high quantity and quality of the applications that the Sutton Trust receives each year, and that made me more than a little worried. I did fit the criteria that they were looking for, but I knew it would take more than that to get a place on the programme.”

He will sit the American College Test in London between June 10th and 12th 2016, which he will be able to submit if he applies to study in America in the future.

Chris Bradford, Principal at Bilborough College, congratulated Olivier on his achievement.

He said:

“Olivier is a very able and articulate student who’s recently been elected as student governor at the college and has already made some really valuable contributions at governors’ meetings. We’re very proud of his achievement in coming through an extremely rigorous process to win this chance to experience life at one of the world’s top universities. We expect him to go on to great things once he finishes his studies here next year.”

A spokesperson for the programme said:

“We were impressed by the applicants' academic and extracurricular achievements, and their knowledge of US higher education as demonstrated in their application forms and video submissions.

“The aim of the US programme is to encourage academically talented, low and middle income British students to consider studying at American universities. Selected students come from across the UK and many will be the first in their family to go to university.

“Students will spend a week living on campus and will visit a number of other US universities in the area. Participants benefit from residential activities and receive an intensive programme of support, delivered by the US-UK Fulbright Commission – EducationUSA over a number of months. This covers admission tests, college choices and help with applications.”

Bilborough Sixth Form College caters for students aged 16 to 19 years old, wanting to study AS and A-levels, BTEC or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme in an academic, supportive and sociable environment.