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. 


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!