In addition to high academic grades, universities and employers are increasingly demanding that top performers demonstrate ‘soft skills’ such as critical thinking, communication, creative thinking and collaboration. Cambridge Dream’s summer school will help learners develop these valuable skills, enabling them to:
- Reach well-reasoned opinions which they can express confidently.
- Study independently and show they have a passion for learning.
- Apply thinking skills critically and creatively to resolve complex problems.
- Interact and work collaboratively in small teams.
- Become more socially confident individuals with good self-awareness and leadership skills.
- Answer tough interview questions and write a strong personal statement (15-18 years only).
Being better informed and prepared will improve pupils’ chances of being admitted to any top-ranking university and help them flourish, both inside and outside the classroom.
Cambridge Dream provides interactive and enjoyable sessions very relevant to participants’ needs and aspirations, which enable the development of critical thinking, problem-solving and presentation skills. There is obvious commitment and passion from all staff for the care of participants, and clear understanding of how to foster skills development. Consequently, young people are supported very effectively, develop necessary skills and prepare for university.
Eight Key Skills for the 21st Century
The Cambridge Dream summer programme is based on an inter-disciplinary learning approach which gives students the opportunity to see the connections between different concepts and develop transferable leadership, learning and life skills.
Younger students (13-14 years old) work in mixed-nationality teams on exciting STEAM-focused projects and challenges, such as robotics, raspberry pi coding, 3D design and print, and virtual reality, which are carefully designed to deliver specific skills outcomes. See a sample 2-week timetable for 13-14 year olds.
Older students (15-18 years old) take part in interactive workshops focused on developing higher-level transferable leadership and academic skills, such as public speaking, essay-writing, independent study, research, critical thinking and persuasive reasoning. See a sample 2-week timetable for 15-18 year olds.
In addition, both age groups (13-14 years and 15-18 years) take part in skill-building activities, such as a Model United Nations debate and a Dragon’s Den business pitch, where they work together in teams to articulate convincing arguments and gain a deeper understanding of contemporary global technological, environmental and geopolitical issues, from artificial intelligence and social media privacy to sustainability and social inequality.
During the course, students will undertake a wide range of challenging tasks and activities to improve their confidence and hone their abilities in 8 key skill areas:
1. Communication (13-14 years and 15-18 years)
- Prepare and make a team presentation.
- Debate a controversial topic and engage with different viewpoints respectfully.
- Structure a persuasive speech, link arguments and apply rhetorical techniques.
- Understand the language of a Shakespeare play.
- Explain tasks and issue instructions effectively.
- Give and receive peer feedback constructively.
2. Leadership and Teamwork (13-14 years and 15-18 years)
- Complete team challenges in a range of contexts (sports, robotics, business, presentations, Model United Nations).
- Understand the role of leadership and differing leadership styles.
- Identify own strengths and weaknesses as potential leaders and team members.
- Develop leadership and teamwork skills, including clear communication, critical thinking and collaboration on tasks.
- Learn how to engage with different opinions and resolve conflicting views.
3. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (13-14 years and 15-18 years)
- Understand the logic of critical thinking and problem solving.
- Practise verbal reasoning problems.
- Develop skills in spatial awareness, visual reasoning and data interpretation.
- Identify conclusions, assumptions and flaws in arguments.
- Recognise how to strengthen or weaken an argument.
4. Creativity and Lateral Thinking (13-14 years and 15-18 years)
- Generate innovative business ideas.
- Explore acting and improvisation skills.
- Perform (music, drama or comedy) in public.
- Use imagination and experimentation in an ‘arts and crafts’ context.
- Understand and apply lateral thinking techniques.
5. Independent Study (13-14 years and 15-18 years)
- Increase awareness of different learning styles and personal learning preferences.
- Practise note-taking and independent research.
- Develop mind mapping skills.
- Acquire time management focus and techniques.
- Understand about mindfulness, healthy choices and resilience.
6. Academic Writing (15-18 years)
- Read and understand a variety of academic texts.
- Increase awareness of the use of style and structure in academic writing.
- Expand vocabulary for academic writing.
- Practise academic writing skills for the purposes of university entrance.
- Understand plagiarism and referencing in an academic context.
7. University Perspective (13-14 years and 15-18 years)
- Understand what top universities are looking for.
- Understand the key differences and similarities between the US and UK application systems.
- Learn how to structure and write an effective personal statement (15-18 years only).
- Practise useful interview techniques and answers (15-18 years only).
- Take part in a supervision (small class discussion) about a chosen academic topic.
8. Personal Development Planning (15-18 years only)
- Understand personal aspirations, values and strengths.
- Research courses, institutions and potential career choices.
- Identify new skills and knowledge acquired during the summer school.
- Define future areas to work on.
- Develop a personal action plan with SMART objectives and measures of progress.