We asked some of our recent leavers to tell us about their Highgate experience. Here are a few responses:
'Having come to university I have seen the way in which some other schools seem to churn out students who all have similar mentalities and brand the schools they attended with a ‘reputation’. This is not so for Highgate students. I’ve realised that this is really their greatest strength; within the parameters of the highest quality teaching and brilliant pastoral support, we were allowed to grow and develop our own individual ideas and personalities. I had really varied interests at school and was part of both Beekeeping society and the school’s Chapel Choir for the whole of my time there, and those were opportunities that I would not have had elsewhere in the same way. It seemed that there would always be a member of staff willing to take the time to give advice, which proved invaluable when it came to applying for university places. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Highgate, which on top of the excellent results they achieve is really the most important thing in my opinion and I can’t thank them enough.'
'When I was in year 7 and we’d just started Latin, one of my classmates falsely translated the school motto, Altiora in votis, as “the best in you” and, strangely, that has stuck with me. At Highgate, everyone finds something. It could be as popular as football or as obscure as beekeeping. No two school careers are ever completely alike. That’s how it should be: no two people are ever completely alike. That’s what Highgate wants. They don’t want you to see the best in your friend or in your older brother; they want you to be the best in you.'
'The most enduring memory or effect from Highgate was not the wonderful friendships, the wonderful facilities or the teaching but it was, rather, the general attitude towards knowledge and learning that was embedded in the students. I had wonderful times at Highgate playing many sports, making friends and experiencing brilliant teaching from a range of genuinely passionate teachers. One trait that almost all Highgate students seem to have is a love for all knowledge from a varied range if sources on a varied range of subjects. Highgate gives students a mind-set that is interested in everything and has a self-belief giving the ability to achieve anything you can think of. They also provide a foundation to do this with exceptional preparation for life after school with information about university and a teaching where students are treated like adults.'
'While I was at school the evident pros of being a Highgate student were the facilities available for sport and extra-curricular activities. It's an amazing environment to spend your teenage years because you're so encouraged to get involved in different aspects of school life (for example the inter-house competitions) that it's impossible not to make great friends. However, when I look back, the academic support that Highgate provided is far clearer. My teachers were always available to help me outside of class, should I have any problems or concerns regarding a particular subject. I know now that you can only truly appreciate the quality of Highgate School's teaching when you start having to sit through university lectures!'
'I first joined Highgate in 2002 as a year 3 pupil and I can safely say that the following decade was the best education I could have hoped for. I am currently studying at the University of Cambridge; however, what I took away from Highgate was not just grades. From a young age Highgate encouraged all of my extracurricular passions from design and photography to charity work. Some of the experiences and friendships made at Highgate will stay with me for ever, be that connections with our international fundraising project in Uganda, friendships with my peer group, or the teachers which truly inspired me throughout my time at the school. I was involved with making a presentation film for last year’s prize giving. I titled the film ‘Home’. In a word this is what Highgate is to me.'
'I had a fantastic time at Highgate, and met some brilliant people, both pupils and staff. I formed friendships that will last through university and beyond into adult life, and found that the teachers were always willing to help with projects, suggest new and interesting things to study, or give ways of pushing my understanding beyond the confines of the curriculum. The school’s Automobile Society sparked my passion for technology and mechanisms, and is one of the main reasons I chose to study engineering at university. Seeing what I had once thought of as a massively complex machine, broken down, simplified and explained, changed my perspective on technology, and the society will hopefully continue to inspire, educate and entertain pupils in the years to come.'
'The thing I enjoyed most about Highgate was the sense of community and involvement – At university you feel like you’re just going through a predetermined system, whereas Highgate felt like a much more tailored experience, where you walked in on any given morning knowing you could have an active involvement in the school and knowing that the teachers will support you in your needs and want you to do well. You walk in knowing that the school wants to make you the best you can be and push your limits, not just academically but also in terms of sports and interests.'
'When asking about the number of people from someone’s school who came up to Oxford, the answer is usually one or two, or perhaps, at a stretch, four or five. When asked the same question, the answer is about fifteen; there must be something that Highgate - a not particularly well-known nor particularly large school - is doing right. It is easy to label this success as a result of clever pupils and good teaching that facilitates good exam results, and of course this is a factor. But the system of admission at Oxford is about far more than good marks; they are seen as a prerequisite, true, but they hardly separate one applicant from another. Instead, the importance of the interview cannot be overemphasised. It is the nature of the way Highgate is set up that prepares students so well for the interview process. Small class sizes and interactive lessons enable students to consider the proposition and then contribute their thoughts and ideas, and the oft-talked about policy of learning things beyond the syllabus allows this method to work on topics that students know less well and leads to problems which cannot be solved through use textbooks, which is exactly the kind they will face in the interview. It is for this reason that, even before all the additional classes and help in preparation for the interviews, a Highgate student is at an advantage for the interview, and, looking beyond, the tutorial system.'