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Paving the way to university with the Cambridge curriculum

ACG Tauranga alumna Laoise McCarthy is sailing through her first year at the University of Waikato, and she attributes much of her success to the skills she gained while studying the Cambridge curriculum.

Student Laoise McCarthy

“While I’ve had to adapt to the differences between school and university, I have no doubt that the time I spent studying Cambridge has helped make the adjustment easier and enabled me to achieve the grades I’ve been aiming for,” says Laoise, who is working towards a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours, majoring in economics with a double minor in law and strategic management.

Although living in halls of residence can provide plenty of distractions, Laoise believes the two years she spent at ACG Tauranga have given her an undeniable edge in her undergraduate subjects, especially with regards to developing independent thinking skills and the ability to self-direct her learning.

“It became clear very early on that time management was going to be the most important part of balancing my university studies. However, the advantage I had over my peers was that I’d already figured out this balance through my time doing Cambridge.

“The Cambridge curriculum taught me how to effectively manage my time and get the best out of the hours I dedicated to studying. From the very first week of university, I knew what techniques worked well for me and how much I needed to do to achieve good grades. My friends who hadn’t experienced the Cambridge programme spent much of the first trimester falling behind on assignments simply because they were learning how to study and manage their time as they went.”

But valuable study skills were not all that Laoise took away from her time at ACG Tauranga – a diverse range of leadership roles provided her with life-changing opportunities to learn and grow.

“The biggest highlights were all the leadership activities I was part of in Year 13, in particular, being involved in organising and running house activities. Seeing our hard work pay off on the day and seeing the whole school enjoy the activities we’d organised was very rewarding.

“I also loved the 2019 school ball. My peers and I invested in ensuring a great night for everyone, and when the night did finally come around, it was so much fun. We had an amazing time dancing and socialising with friends.”

Thanks to ACG Tauranga and the Cambridge curriculum, Laoise has been ideally placed to navigate the transition to tertiary education and take full advantage of all that university life offers.

“My university experience has been amazing. I am thoroughly enjoying the subjects and papers that I am passionate about and working towards the career that I see for myself. Living in the halls of residence has been an incredible experience as well. It is so easy to network and make really close friends whilst studying and having fun.”