Castlemilk teenager beats all odds for a place at Oxford University

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A teenager from one of Scotland’s most deprived areas has accepted a place at Oxford University – and will be the first person in her family to go to college.

Megan McCloskey, 17, from Castlemilk, Glasgow, is one of six out of 350 people to be accepted to study chemistry at the university’s Queen’s College.

Proud mum-of-one Irene, 38, said Megan had always had a keen interest in science – and used to ask for chemistry sets when she was younger.

Megan got Aces in her eight graduate and two advanced graduate studies at St Margaret Mary’s Secondary School, where she is one of the youngest pupils in her year.

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Ellie with her mum Irene and dad Kevin.

Megan is the first member of her family to go to university, her mother Irene and her father Kevin, 38, having attended the same high school.

The youngster works at Greggs part-time to help her save for the move.

Irene, who is studying baking at university, said after tuition fees, loans and the cost of living, Megan’s degree could leave her up to £80,000 in debt.

Megan has also been offered a place at the University of St Andrews, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow – but has always dreamed of going to Oxford.

Megan said: “I am absolutely abuzz.

“My parents were over the moon.

“It was such a relief when my results came in because I really didn’t expect it, the exams were so difficult.

“Going to Oxford was always a dream, not something I could achieve.

“I had in mind from the start that I would go to St Andrews.

“I never thought I would be able to get into Oxford growing up, but when I was offered an interview I started to think maybe it would be achievable.

“It’s nerve-wracking, but I’m looking forward to meeting new people, discovering a new field and studying.

“The financial aspect is daunting, but I work part-time and put money aside in my savings to help out.

“I hope other people will see this and realize that they can do it too if they want to.

“I would say just take the chance and go for it.”

Megan obtained As in Advanced High Chemistry and Maths, as well as Highers in Physics, English, Spanish, Human Biology and Chemistry.

Mum Irene hopes Megan’s story will encourage other inner-city children to apply to prestigious universities.

Irene said: “It was such a proud moment for us, it’s a mix of nervousness and excitement.

“Of course it’s bittersweet because she’s going to be leaving home, but she’s done wonders to achieve everything she has.

“Chemistry is always something that interests her, she asked for chemistry sets when she was younger.

“But she really got into it in fourth grade, she got on really well with her teacher.

“I think she would like to do something chemistry-related after college, maybe even do her PhD.

“I hope more people will see Megan’s story and it’s possible for everyone if you put the work into it.

“It has always been a dream for her to go to Oxford.

“She is the first person in our family to go to university and the first from her school to enter Oxford.”

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