How long have you been at BISH?
I've been at BISH for 7 years.
Tell us a little bit about your background before you joined BISH?
I was born in Houston Texas, and before coming to BISH I went to a couple other schools around Houston. I'm dyslexic, and so I went to schools that catered to that. After coming to BISH though, I became very conscientious and worked around my learning disability. Despite being from Houston and having never lived outside the United States, one of the best things about BISH is its international atmosphere, which is what has made it very unique to me.
How have you found the IB Programme?
I've found IB to be both challenging but also really beneficial as I've been able to study a wide range of subjects and enhanced my work ethic.
How did you feel when you were offered a place at Oxford University?
I was very happy! After my interview in December, I was unsure about whether I would be offered a place. Right after the interview, I thought it went well - however after spending the weeks afterwards questioning every answer I gave, and overthinking every question, I started to feel less secure about receiving an offer - and thought that I did badly. I didn't count myself out - but I started trying to 'prepare' myself for not getting in. Then on January 10th, at almost 4am, after hearing an email notification I realized that UCAS track updated - and to my surprise and relief, it said I was offered a place! I was in total shock as the whole day before I spent trying to prepare for not receiving an offer. In fact I was also doing last minute university applications that were due the next day, so I was also very relieved that I didn't have to spend the whole day doing these applications. I was very happy and excited, and felt lots of relief knowing that after a long admissions process and lots of hard work, that it paid off.
Tell us more about your journey to being offered a place at Oxford…
I originally didn't intend to apply to Oxford - or even any UK universities. Up until December of 2016, I was planning to just apply to US universities. However, during the Winter holiday I started doing research on UK universities - and after reading about the courses and teaching style at Oxford, I became obsessed with wanting to apply and it quickly became my 'dream' university. As soon as school recommenced in January, I went and spoke to my teachers, started drafting a reading list to 'read around my subject', and started looking into the admissions process and admissions tests. I became highly motivated and left no rock unturned in trying to boost my grades or study. During summer, I spent a lot of time making sure that all my work for the first term of Year 13 would be done (extended essay, IA's, etc) so that I could devote time to preparing for the admissions test - in my case, the History Aptitude Test.
During this time, I also voraciously did past papers and read lots of books - ranging from somewhat dull political philosophy books, to more interesting (but still possibly not exciting) books about Cold War international relations. My goal was just to read as much as I could related to my subject (History and Politics). After lots of reading and stressing over the admissions test - I found out that I was invited to go to Oxford for a four day interview period, and worked with Mr. Bish and Mrs. Morgan to prepare for the History interview. The whole interview process involved lots of 'waiting' and attempts to do last-minute cramming.
What have been your biggest achievements / highlights during your time at BISH?
To me, being Head Boy was a big highlight. I enjoyed the responsibility and the ability to work with the school community.
What would you say about your teachers who have supported you through your education at BISH?
All of my teachers have been great and have been very supportive and helpful throughout my time at BISH, especially in the last two years during IB. I also had a lot of help from my teachers when I applied to Oxford. Both of the IB history teachers helped a lot with my Oxford application. Mr. Bish and Mrs. Morgan both helped me tremendously with my whole application process, from producing reading lists, marking past papers for the admissions test, and giving me practice interviews - which was immensely helpful.
What are your goals for the future?
I would like to either go into law or go work in the foreign service because I have a deep interest in current affairs and am internationally-minded, so I would enjoy living abroad.
In what ways do you think your education at BISH has prepared for you for your future?
At BISH, there are so many opportunities available not just academically, including extracurricular activities as well, which helped me steer towards my interests. At BISH, we are all told to be 'ambitious', and I think that everyone at BISH studies and works with that motto in mind. At BISH, we all work collaboratively, and the school is very close-knit which has helped us all develop a great sense of teamwork. All the teachers and staff are very helpful and supportive which has made my time at BISH great.
Do you have any tips for students about to undergo their IB Programme?
Try to pace yourself and don't leave meeting deadlines to the last minute. Try to get as much as you can done over summer - and try not to overwork yourself because that'll make you less productive! Don't get stressed, and just try to focus, and remember to enjoy the process.
What have been your favorite memories at BISH so far?
I have lots of great memories at BISH - I enjoyed getting involved in theater (doing tech), getting involved in student leadership - such as student council, Head Boy, etc. I also enjoyed being able to represent BISH in New York last summer with our school's partnership with UNICEF.