Landau Forte College student, Connor Rice, has secured a place at Harvard College after previously turning down a place at Eton College.
Currently living in Belper, Connor joined Landau Forte College from John Flamsteed Community School and works part-time in a local supermarket to support his studies.
Achieving an array of shining GCSE results (12 A* grades), Connor was offered a full scholarship and bursary at Eton College in London. Ultimately, Connor made his own choice to turn down the offer to study at Landau Forte College and couldn't be happier with his decision.
Two years on, Connor has accepted an unconditional offer at Harvard College to study at undergraduate level.
A teacher of mine at John Flamsteed Community School walked up to our car one day as I was being dropped off by my mum for another day preparing for my GCSEs. He shared a polite word with us and then enquired about which colleges and sixth-forms to which I was applying to. After replying, he stood quiet for a second and asked: "How about Eton?"
Weeks of research into the college followed, finding a vast amount of information regarding six-form scholarships. This was the first hint that this could actually be reality. Being part of a family who are not particularly well-off, I felt I could get a similar education at a state school for no cost - I wasn't letting my parents pay a penny if they didn't have to.
I found myself shortlisted for a four-day long interview process where I felt immediately out of place, being the one state-school applicant there. Some students were hugely interested in my background, whilst others weren't so welcoming. It seemed that some appeared to be disgruntled by my academic achievements through non-private education and attempted to make me feel out of place for it.
Before I knew it two weeks passed and an acceptance letter came through the post, listing details of the scholarship and a full bursary - worth £100,000 over the two years. I felt sick. I had opinions flying at me from all angles and three weeks went by of indecisiveness. It suddenly occurred to me that if I couldn't decide, I shouldn't go, as my heart wasn't in it. The admissions offer was surprised to say the least, but respected my decision and agree that the offer could benefit another applicant more than I.
After two years since I applied, I couldn't be happier with my decision. After doing some extensive research online, I enquired about Harvard, and the College was behind me every step of the way.
With an acceptance rate of around 5% I knew my chances were extremely slim. I tried not to get my hopes up, but slowly I fell in love with Harvard and its ethos. I especially lovely the research opportunities and sporting facilities; I knew I wanted to attend there, and would be incredibly lucky to do so.
On 15th December 2014, I received an email of admission accompanied by a welcoming video starring Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame. I couldn't believe it. I had just been admitted into Harvard, unconditionally.
I now aim to focus on my A Level results; however, I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I hope to continue my part-time work to fund the future where I can, and look forward to fulfilling my passions to enter into research at one of the best universities in the world.