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Anyone been or know anyone who has been to Atlantic College

(34 Posts)
mamas12 Sat 14-Aug-10 16:39:49

Dc coming up to that age and has expressed interest in politics etc.
Wondered about anyones personal experiences of Atlantic College?

KateF Sat 14-Aug-10 16:50:29

I had two university friends who had been to Atlantic College. They were two of the most mature, balanced, interesting people I've ever met and from what they said about their experiences at school it would be a fantastic opportunity. I wished I could have gone!

UWCer Sat 14-Aug-10 18:02:39

Hi there,

If the Atlantic College you are referring to is in Wales then I am quite familiar with it. Atlantic College is part of a wider educational movement called United World Colleges, of which there are 13, Atlantic College being the first. UWCs are a great experience - for people who are around the ages of 16-18. You apply to the UWC movement through a National Committee, which in Britain can be found at There are limited funds available for the places, with some people getting full tuition paid for, based on need. It is a competitive process though as there are not unlimited places. I can say though that UWC entirely changed my life for the better and I would encourage anyone to apply if they feel their values are in line with UWC's - a commitment to service, a curiosity and respect for other cultures, a belief in the power of education to foster peace and make a positive impact on the world. There are Open Days in Atlantic College every Autumn, check out for dates (they probably won't be out for some time).

Thanks and good luck!

mamas12 Sat 14-Aug-10 20:00:38

Wow thank you so much for replying.

It does sound good I think I'll try to go to the open days then and do some more research.

goinggetstough Sat 14-Aug-10 20:32:34

I went to Atlantic College about 25 years ago but still keep in contact. I had the most fantastic 2 years there and would highly recommend it. So if you have any questions do post them.

mamas12 Sat 14-Aug-10 20:57:52

Ok thanks goinggetstough. Here goes

I know you board there but can you weekly board?

16 is sooo young to go away from home for a year, how was the homesickness?

You can tell I'm coming from the standpoint of a parent can't you, but at the same time I think she would revel and excel at somewhere like Atlantic College.

Did you go on to University or into employment of some kind?

I'll think of some more questions I know, hope I don't tire you out.

domesticsluttery Sat 14-Aug-10 21:27:14

A friend of mine from school went there for sixth form back in the mid nineties. If I remember rightly he did IB rather than A levels.

He now works for an aid agency in places like Sudan.

llareggub Sat 14-Aug-10 21:31:39

Oh, I really wanted to go. I did go for the day however and would have walked over coals to stay there for 2 years.

GetOrfMoiLand Sat 14-Aug-10 21:43:35

A friend from school went to the one in Wales - she had an asbolutely fantastic time and loved it. She is now a doctor with Medecins Sans Frontieres. She has nothing but praise for the place.

goinggetstough Sun 15-Aug-10 10:45:15

AC is full boarding as of course the students come from all over the world. When I was there, there were two terms. Year 1 - Late August to December, Jan to May
Year 2 - Early August to December, Jan to May

August period was fantastic as there was just one year group there. We had interesting speakers into College.We concentrated on our IB subjects. We improved our skills for our Services (inshore life boats, life guard service, estate service, social services etc) and learnt how to teach the new first years.

Almost 100% went to university. I did a BSc and a Masters degree. I joined the Armed Forces for 6 years and have now retrained as a special needs teacher. I still have friends all round the world some are lawyers, many are Doctors, some politicians, many in business and many teachers.

We didn't apply for our DCs to go there as for them they adore competitive team sports. For the right person it is a fantastic place.

weegiemum Sun 15-Aug-10 10:53:14

Someoen I know went to the one in Wales - she is quite the oddest person I have ever met!

goinggetstough Sun 15-Aug-10 11:02:08

I am sure she is, but then I think all schools have individuals who are different!!

Mooose Mon 16-Aug-10 11:48:39

I have name changed for this. I went to Atlantic College more years ago than I care to admit and I’m still in contact with a lot of my year group. I loved it and would really recommend going for a look around (I went to a taster weekend - do they still do those?) to get the feel of the place. As pupils only stay there for 2 years each the atmosphere could change quite quickly, but I think that’s probably controlled by the interviewing process to some extent. I found the very international and mixed feeling meant it was possible for me to fit in like I never had at my old school, as people were so open minded and accepting.
You couldn't weekly board when I was there, and I'd be surprised if you can now. To be honest, I think your dd would miss out on an awful lot as a weekly boarder, as most of the pupils are international and board full time. Also a lot of the CAS (Creative, Action and Service – IB requirements) hours and socialising are done at weekends, which would be a shame to miss out on. I never felt homesick, but there was quite a lot of peer support for people who did, as many pupils had come from literally the other side of the world. Most of the people in my year group were first time boarders, and no one knew anyone else, and I think that makes it easier to settle in quickly and empathise with each other.
I went on to study law at Cambridge after having a gap year. Everyone I knew went on to uni, a fair few to Oxbridge-ey type places, and a significant number of those go on to work for charities and international organisations. It doesn't feel like a normal private boarding school, it's more like a Cambridge (and presumable also Oxford) college. I think with many other boarding schools many / most of the pupils are from very wealthy families and everybody there knows that. Whereas everyone except the very richest people are on a sliding scale of scholarship level, and most had come from various state school systems from around the world. This meant that the group felt like it had been brought together because we were all strong academically and did well in the interviews – hence the Cambridge college feel.
Sorry this is a bit of a stream of consciousness. If you have any more specific questions about Atlantic college or the IB I’ll be happy to try to answer them. Has your dd looked at any of the other UWC schools? There are schools of the same “type” all around the world in some very exciting places. Also, how old is your dc? I remember it took quite a long time to get through the application system, but I was applying from outside the UK. Not being a native English speaker is no disadvantage at all.

mamas12 Mon 16-Aug-10 19:45:05

Thank you Moose for that informative post.

Dd is going into her GCSE year in September so would probably be looking to go into UWC 2011 intake. Is that too late?

Was thinking of going to the open days this Oct., so do I inform them of our coming or just turn up?

I don't have a lot of money but her father is better off than I am so it's interesting to hear about the sliding scale thing.
So youngsters are taken on through personal ablity first and then they see about the financials after that. Is that right?

I really feel this would be the perfect thing for her as she so embodies all the attributes and ethos of the College already.

goinggetstough Tue 17-Aug-10 07:43:59
If you look on this part of AC website it tells you who to phone if you wish to go to the open day and also has details of how to apply through the relevant National Committee and the closing date etc which appears to be Feb 2011 for September 2011 entry.

Mooose Tue 17-Aug-10 10:48:29

I don't really know how long it will take for your dd to apply if you're UK nationals living in the UK and hoping to attend the UWC school in Wales, but you should defiantly check asap. I think it took me about a year to get through the process, and you can apply to start year 12 at 16 turning 17 or 17 turning 18. I remember when I applied I actually applied to the UWC movement - i.e. I could have ended up in any of their schools around the world. There is Atlantic college in Wales, and one in Norway, Italy, Canada, Hong Kong and a few others. I don't remember if I applied that way because there wasn't a UWC school in my country, or if that was what everyone did. I think you listed the schools you would like to attend in order of preference, but you were very unlikely to get an offer for any but your first choice (and even then it’s quite competitive for places). I also had questions in my interview about why I had chosen Atlantic college rather than any other UWC school, and how I would be able to contribute more to Atlantic college than any other UWC school. I would check the website to find out about open days and taster weekends asap and phone to book a place.
As for funding, if I remember correctly it plays no part at all in the selection of pupils at all. We had interviews and the taster weekend and references from school and a family friend and an English test (I think) and possibly some other tests, and they chose the most suitable applicants and gave them offers according to what their family could afford. My family were not very well off and I had a something like an 80 – 85% scholarship to reflect this, other people had higher. I think the value of money in the nation you come from also has some impact on how high your scholarship is, so people from developing nations who are middle class by their national standards can afford to live abroad. I think some people even had their flights to Wales paid for as part of their scholarship. I don’t really know much more about the sliding scale than that. If you contact the UK / your native countries representative for UWC they will be able to give you some more specific and up to date advice.
Good luck for you and your dd – it will be an amazing experience for her and a scary one for you.

Mooose Tue 17-Aug-10 10:51:28 This is the website you need to be looking at for information about the movement, its ethos and schools. There seem to be rather more UWC schools now than when I applied.

scaryteacher Tue 17-Aug-10 16:36:05

A friend's daughter is just off to the UWC in India for 2 years from Belgium. She is really looking forward to it.

mamas12 Tue 17-Aug-10 19:15:50

Thank going for that link and dates.
thank you moose for your post.
Well we have a lot to think about. Especially dd as at the moment she loves her school and everything that goes with it.
I know she would fit in at Atlantic College but she has to make that thought process herself, or not.
I'll keep you posted on how the open day goes.

LadyRabbit Fri 20-Aug-10 15:56:27

Oooh, I really wanted to go there but I think my parents thought it was a bit too alternative. But my friend went and she had a amazing time. She's very cool - really bright academically and a lovely, balanced human being too. I think they do a good job of turning out people who are academic but also well rounded. She had to do stuff like volunteer with the local RNLI and all sorts of interesting community based projects. I could be generalising but I know a couple of others who went there and I would describe all of them as independent thinkers.

UWCer Mon 23-Aug-10 10:35:22


Just to say that the new application form will be available from soon and the application deadline this year might be a bit earlier - about a month earlier, so not too dramatic - to fit better into GCSE timetables and things like that. Generally the rule is that students need to be 16 on the 1st of September of the year they start at UWC (this is for British students, I can't speak for other countries). Often someone will apply one year and if they are not successful they will apply again and do much better. In terms of the funding, there are some limited funds available for bursaries. The places are offered on merit and potential to grow in a UWC environment and then the funding is allocated on a means-testing basis (horrible phrase I know). The places are awarded by the UWC National Committee of Great Britain and the means-testing is conducted by Atlantic College. I think it's really important to note that when you apply for a place at a UWC through the National Committee you could be sent anywhere - of course we ask people what their preferences are and we will not send people to places where they are said they absolutely do not want to go - but you are applying to the movement and that means that we treat all colleges in the same way when selecting students. It is about the National Committee asking themselves who would be most appropriate for which college. Though, if your heart is set on Atlantic College then you should be comforted by the fact that we will always have more places at Atlantic than any other single UWC. I know that all parents, quite rightly, get anxious about sending their dcs away so young, but it is the case that all colleges have a very strong sense of community, and function much like extended family groups. Colleges are good at keeping parents in the loop and a very large distance may not feel that great once it's underway. Anyhow, do go to an open day and spend some time researching and reading the information on the website. Just to emphasise though that the content on has not been updated for next year (the selection process has not yet officially commenced) so do check back in September when the new info will be up.

Good luck!

mamas12 Mon 21-Feb-11 23:49:54


DD has an interview next month!

It's a 24 hour interview, we drop her off teatime one day and come back for the parents tour and talk, and pick her up next day.

It's happened so fast I can't quite believe that in a few months she might, might (depending on her interviewing them as much as them interviewing her)have left home at 16!

Not a good feeling for me but a fantastic opportunity for her I know.

Thank you all once again for all your advice,

exexpat Mon 21-Feb-11 23:59:53

Lucky her if she gets a place! It's the one place I might consider sending my DCs to board if they expressed an interest. All the Atlantic College graduates I've met have been really interesting, broad-minded,international people. And the location is lovely too. I went to a festival held in the grounds of Atlantic College last year and could see it would be a wonderful place to spend a couple of years.

goinggetstough Tue 22-Feb-11 20:15:43

Good luck to your DD!

iskra Tue 22-Feb-11 20:22:04

Very lucky her if she gets a place! I want to send DD to a UWC place (in, err, 14 years or so...) - all the graduates I've met have been such interesting people doing such a variety of things.

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