Talented musician Jimmy Donaghy in Year 14 has been successful in his application to study at a specialist school for music in Ohio USA next year. In the article below, Jimmy talks about the application process and gives an insight into the school he will be working. 

Jimmy

I heard about the Secondary School exchange from my careers teacher, Mr McAufield, and also from past pupil Ciaran Ashe, who came in and spoke about his experience in 2010/11 in the USA and was immediately interested.  I was very interested in learning some subjects other than my A levels before leaving for university. I found more information about the program from the English Speaking Union website and then downloaded and completed the application forms.

The application required a personal statement, similar to my UCAS application. I wrote about my responsibilities and interests in and out of school, such as my role as music prefect and participation in orchestras and choirs. I also talked about my work experience and my skills that would make me a good participant in the scheme.

My application was successful and I was invited to interview in London. This interview involved a group discussion (Which was similar to the speaking and listening discussions I had participated in for GCSE English Language) with some other applicants as well as an individual interview. I was asked why I wanted to take part in the program and other questions about my music. Thankfully the panel was very friendly and made the interview not as difficult as I had anticipated!

Several weeks later I heard that I had been successful at this stage and that I had received an offer of a scholarship to the Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio. I have been matched with this school as it has a strong performing arts department (Five Steinway pianos and a 400-seat theatre complete with orchestra pit – Wow!) I have been able to defer my university applications and am now hugely excited to be heading off to USA in the autumn!