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GCS Honours Programme

GCS Honours is the academic enrichment and support programme for students who wish to apply to the best universities in the UK and beyond.  

Starting in Y12, we will support you every step of the way throughout the university application process and help you achieve your aspirations.

GCS Honours Timeline (including Oxbridge and MDV).  

We have a strong reputation for academic excellence and are incredibly proud of our students’ success which includes:

  • 30 GCS alumni currently at Oxbridge Colleges 
  • Over 40 GCS students have received MDV (medics, dentists, vets) places over the past two years. 
  • 227 GCS students received places at Russell Group Universities for 2021. 

Underpinned by a scholarly approach to learning and a commitment to championing students’ academic aspirations, GCS Honours supports students in making highly competitive, successful applications to the best universities by:    

Giving the best advice, guidance and support to help you make discriminating decisions about your academic future

Challenging you to explore your academic discipline and super-curricular engagement

Encouraging you to think critically, independently, analytically and flexibly

Developing a logical approach to your learning and enthusiasm for complex ideas/concepts. 

It is timetabled as part of your A Level curriculum offer and will sit alongside your academic subjects. At the core of our programme are our academic challenge tutorials: fortnightly sessions to develop your critical thinking and reading, and research skills.  

You will also keep a reflective academic journal which will support you in delving deeper into your subject and discussing challenging ideas and research with like-minded peers.  

GCS Honours students will have the opportunity to take part in the Seren Academy and Cambridge University's HE+ Programme.

For those students with ambitions to apply for early-entry university courses and destinations, our Oxbridge Preparation Programme and Medics, Dentists and Vets Programme provides additional support, help and guidance.  

Seren is a Welsh Government initiative dedicated to helping Wales’ brightest learners achieve their full academic potential in Wales, the UK, and overseas.

Available to all academically able learners in Year 12 and Year 13, Seren Academy offers interactive sessions and unique study experiences to support your ongoing learning, and expert guidance to help you make informed decisions as you prepare to apply to leading universities. This includes advice and guidance workshops from Oxford and Cambridge admissions tutors, university admissions preparations sessions, access to subject masterclasses and summer school opportunities at Oxford and Yale.  

Seren Academy is integrated into GCS Honours and we support students individually to make the most of the opportunities offered. 

We are incredibly proud to be the first and only HE+ lead hub in Wales as part of the University of Cambridge’s super-curricular programme.

The University of Cambridge awarded Gower College Swansea HE+ status in recognition of the outstanding progression of its students to the University over the last 30 years. In collaboration with local schools, we run monthly subject-specific masterclasses for over 350 Y12 students across Swansea each year. 

Through a combination of virtual and face-to-face sessions, students will have the opportunity to participate in extension classes, workshops and challenging activities, closely related to the course they wish to study at university and delivered by academics from leading universities, including Cambridge.  

Starting in January of Y12, our year-long Oxbridge Preparation Programme is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills and understanding to make competitive applications to Oxford or Cambridge.  

Delivered by our specialist academic tutors who are Oxbridge alumni, it consists of weekly sessions providing you with an understanding of the nuances of an Oxbridge application, and one-to-one support completing your application. Through visits and overnight residentials at Oxford and Cambridge colleges, you will also get the opportunity to experience these prestigious universities first-hand.  

As one of only three educational institutions in Wales on New College, Oxford’s Step Up Programme, and as the HE+ partner hub with Churchill College, Cambridge, our Oxbridge Preparation Programme also benefits from the close relationships we have with both universities.  

Our Oxbridge Programme includes: 

  • Bespoke Oxbridge tutorials 
  • Enrichment sessions (part of the Step Up Programme) 
  • Small group, subject-specific tutorials 
  • One to one advice and guidance on individual university, college and degree choices 
  • Tailored personal statement support 
  • Super-curricular engagement opportunities 
  • Admissions and aptitude test preparation 
  • Interview support, including mock Oxbridge interviews with alumni 
  • GCS Oxbridge alumni mentoring 
  • Residentials at Oxford and Cambridge.

Our medical tutorial programme gives students who have expressed an interest in medical sciences, veterinary science, dentistry and pharmacy an opportunity to gain the skills and experience to apply to their chosen university.  

Students are given weekly tutorial sessions that focus on career options. We also offer support and guidance to ensure students can secure work experience and volunteering opportunities to support their university applications.  

The College has strong links with local hospitals and other care providers and has regular talks from consultants, GPs and vets. Guest speakers are invited to these tutorials to discuss their role as a practicing medic, giving students insight into the career they wish to pursue. 

Some of the highlights from our guest lecture series include talks on: 

  • Applying to study medicine and becoming a GP by Professor Stokes-Lampard (Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners)  
  • Psychiatry and medicine by Dr. Niall Boyce (Editor of the Lancet Psychiatry) 
  • Careers in cardiac physiology by Ailsa Wallis (Senior Cardiac Physiologist – ABMU) 
  • Veterinary science by a representative of PDSA 
  • Plus an annual trip to the Science in Health live event at Cardiff University. 

Tutorials also provide an opportunity for students to discuss current ethical issues and medical breakthroughs, and to receive advice on interview techniques.  
Students can gain interview experience and help from Gower College Swansea alumni who are now qualified and progressing in their careers. We also arrange mini-interview days with conditions that mimic the interview process used by many top universities.

For further information, please email