Most of our leavers go directly on to university, especially those who are studying long courses like Medicine, Architecture, Veterinary Science and the four-year courses at Oxford and Cambridge.
But some of our leavers choose to take a gap year, including a post Pre-U application to Oxford or Cambridge. We encourage those taking a year off between leaving school and commencing university study to undertake a project more demanding and more rewarding than lying on an Australian beach for six months. Experience of the world beyond school can take many forms, but whatever form it takes it is best conceived in terms of service, helping in a Vietnamese orphanage for handicapped children, assisting in a hospice in Malaysia, undertaking a three-month study course on African economics in Johannesburg, learning about the fishing industry by working in a fishery in the north of Scotland, helping to build a school in a remote village of Kashmir. Wykehamists have raised large sums for charity by doing sponsored cycle rides around the whole of Britain or longer rides around Europe and beyond. Recently two Wykehamists travelled through the entirety of Eastern Europe to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, a 10,000 mile trip, sponsored to raise funds for Save the Children.
Our Higher Education and Careers department assists our leavers to plan an imaginative, demanding, rewarding gap year. We have a network of contacts through Old Wykehamists, parents and friends who are on hand to help them achieve their desired projects - and they in turn become part of the School's supporting network for future generations of Wykehamists.
When they reach university, whether with gap year experience or not, Wykehamists are well equipped to work reliably, learn independently and contribute both socially and intellectually during the next stage of their continuing education. They have, after all, been imbued with a love of learning which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. You will find Wykehamists in almost every walk of professional, creative and entrepreneurial life, and what marks them out is not any clichéd "public school" veneer of confidence, but an understated, self-assured competence and ability to work with many different groups of people in many different situations. Those are the qualities implied in the motto Manners Makyth Man. They thrive on bringing their disciplined minds to bear on a problem and to finding its solution.