The Graduate

Welcome To The


Welcome to The Graduate. This is a programme at the heart of Priestley College’s Stretch and Challenge Programme. The Graduate aims to provide students at Priestley with expert advice, guidance, and support in university applications, and applications for other courses post-Priestley. Through an intensive, academically focused programme, the Graduate aims to push students to engage in super-curricular activities, improve the quality of applications, and hold engaging activities to boost their resumes. We want these programmes to be inclusive, but not at the risk of rigour. 

It's time to challenge yourself...

If you would like to, you can engage in a number of our tasks to get a feel for the Graduate.

1)    Write a personal statement, introducing yourself, what you intend to study at AS and A-level, and what you feel you want to engage with at Priestley. If you have any ideas, let us know where you may like to end up after Priestley! This should not be any longer than a single-side of A4.

2)    Pick a book or academic article you’ve enjoyed recently (try and choose something more challenging and outside of your syllabus in school). Write a short, analytical book review. Maybe choose from an article or book from our Stretch and Challenge reading list. On no more than one side of A4, tell us what you thought about the book or article, how it has impacted your thinking, and critically detail the argument it makes.

These can be emailed to and under the subject of ‘Preparation for the Graduate’. 

Securing the best places at university

Every year around 500  students go to university and a large percentage secure places at the most competitive institutions in the country including the Russell Group. Below two of those students talk about the Priestley experience and what they are looking forward to about studying at university.

Earlier this year we visited two former Priestley students at Oxford University to find out how their degrees are progressing and to ask them to reflect on their time at college.

Graduate Magazine

One of the opportunities students who take The Graduate have is to write articles on a subject of their choice that are then published in The Graduate Magazine. The magazine is published online and in print with copies left around college for visitors to read.

You can click on the cover to read the most recent edition of the magazine, which includes articles on a range of topics including a spotlight on the pandemic, 

reading list

Here is our Stretch and Challenge reading list. Don’t worry: this is not a list of books and articles you have to read. We just think that you might enjoy the challenge prior to your enrolment at Priestley. Many of these are challenging pieces of literature, with a heavy academic focus. We will aim to add to them as the year continues. Before you arrive and throughout your time at Priestley, possibly to discover new interests, and possibly to aid your applications to Higher Education institutions, feel free to dip into these as you like.

  • Secret Knowledge, Hockney
  • Eye Witness Art: Perspective, Cole
  • Understanding Installation Art: From Duchamp To Holzer, Rosenthal
  • Markets, State and People, Diane Coyle
  • Crashed: How a decade of financial crises changed the world, Adam Tooze
  • The Undercover Economist, Tim Hartford
  • The Value of Everything, Marianna Mazzucato
  • Madame Bovary, Flaubert
  • Le Misanthrope, Molière
  • La Parure (The Necklace), de Maupassant
  • Candide, Voltaire
  • The Trial, Franz Kafka
  • The Hunger Angel, Herta Muller
  • The Rule of Law, Bingham
  • Eve Was Framed: Women and British Justice, Kennedy
  • Just Law, Kennedy
  • Law, A Very Short Introduction, Wacks
  • The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen
  • East west street, Philippe Sands
  • Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela
  • Modern Music, Griffiths
  • Popular Music, Cripps
  • The Oxford Book of Harmony, Butterworth
  • The Miracle of Theism, Mackie
  • An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (3rd edition), Davies
  • The Evolution of the Soul Revised Edition, Swinburne
  • On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
  • The Feminine Mystique, Friedan
  • The Communist Manifesto, Marx
  • The Social Contract, Rousseau
  • Obedience to Authority, Milgram
  • The Lucifer Effect, Zimbardo
  • Working Memory, Thought and Action, Baddeley
  • The Marshmallow Test, Mischel
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Sacks
  • Nada, Laforet
  • Eva Luna, Allende
  • Crónica de Una Muerte Anunciada, García Márquez
  • A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawkings
  • Six Easy Pieces, Richard Feynman
  • In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat, John Gribbin
  • The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
  • Forces of Nature, Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen
  • The Road to Reality, Roger Penrose
  • How Not to be Wrong, Ellenberg
  • The Art of the Infinite, Kaplan and Kaplan
  • Numbers and Proofs, Allenby
  • Physical Chemistry, Atkins
  • Inorganic Chemistry, Shriver and Atkins
  • Unnatural Selection, Hvistendahl
  • The Origin of Species, Darwin
  • Regenesis, Church

My To Do List

This list shows you all of the different activites available through Virtual Priestley. You can tick them off as you go.

Don’t feel you have to complete every task, just do the ones you think are relevant to you.