Local scholar, Dougal Burden, has been offered a place at Oxford, to read Law. Only 225 students world-wide were offered places from an initial list of 1805 applicants. He was one of the 657 interviewed via Skype late last year by two law professors. Dougal found the two 30 minute sessions, designed to identify speed of thought processes, analytical ability and clarity of oral expression of ideas, “pretty challenging and intense but fascinating and intriguing, too.” His years in school debating teams and as a member of MUNA (Model United Nations) teams prepared him well for this challenge as well as his experiences as a school prefect, and Rowing Club captain.
Dougal has always been an outstanding student, gaining Excellence Certificate Endorsement at all three levels of the NCEA. In Year 13 he gained 91 credits at Excellence and four of his five subjects were also endorsed at Excellence. He has also just been awarded three Scholarships; in English and Classical Studies and an Outstanding in History.
"To earn an undergraduate place at Oxford I had to not only excel in the NCEA curriculum, but write a killer personal statement outlining my passion and potential for the course as well as complete a gruelling legal aptitude test,” explained Dougal in his AIMES Awards application in early August. "However arguably the final hurdle was the hardest, the infamous interview. I had a number of interviews with multiple world-renowned law professors, where discussion varied from the legality of skipping a taxi fare, how to split murder compensation, to the intricacies of Brexit. This stretched my mind in a way I had never experienced, something which I am excited to do more when I take up my place."
Tuition fees as an international student for the three-year degree at Oxford are $46,000 per year. Dougal plans to use the AIMES Award funds to go towards these fees. He has been working full time to fund his studies since he finished school in November last year and has recently been working as a consultant at Sovereign insurance based in Takapuna, He also tutors for local families, and recently gave a keynote presentation to a 210 strong audience on how to maximise your extracurriculars to achieve admission to the world's most elite universities.
"Looking to the future, my eyes are set on making the most of every second of the next three years,” says Dougal. "This includes challenging myself academically and aspiring to achieve top results in an already competitive environment. I am also excited to get involved in the world-renowned Oxford Union debating society, as well as compete in rowing again. Oxford is lauded for being a breeding ground for future leaders and I cannot wait to make lifelong connections with likeminded individuals. Additionally, I wish to partake in internships at top London law firms during the holidays. These will act as the next step in my development, introducing me to the legal profession and providing me networks to pursue this career path.
At this stage I am open to many different career options after university. I hope to incorporate my excitement for discussions about society and morality by exploring the realms of governance and justice in both a domestic and international setting, even taking this to the highest level with the United Nations.
"I have a lot to thank Takapuna Grammar School and the local community for. They provided me with the perfect platform to chase my dreams. I am excited to be able to represent New Zealand and the North Shore with pride on the international stage.”
Dougal Burden’s Achievements in Education: Admission to University of Oxford to read Law (ranked 3rd in the world for Law); NZQA Outstanding Scholarship in History (one of the best 21 candidates in NZ); NZQA Scholarship in English and Classics (top 3% of candidates); NCEA Excellence Endorsement in Levels 1,2 & 3; Offered Auckland University Top Achievers Scholarship; Commended in the Cambridge University, Trinity College, Robert Walker Essay competition for Law; Embassy Scholarship to NZ Model United Nations.
Dougal Burden receives the AIMES Emerging Talent Award from the North Harbour Club – sponsored by Bellingham Wallace – including a cash grant of $7,500.
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