Two Nelson and Colne College students are bound for the most prestigious university in the country

As another successful Level 3 results day brings this academic year to a close, Nelson and Colne College (NCC) are celebrating the success of two of their most talented students – who have sealed places at the most prestigious University in the country, Cambridge.

Arren Lionti and Holly McNicoll are both bound for the Russell Group institution after exceeding their wildest expectations and receiving some of the best grades achievable. Arren secured 2 A*s in Law and Psychology and an A in Biology, whilst Holly McNicoll achieved 2 A*s in Maths and Fine Art and a B in Further Maths to boot!

Despite achieving these remarkable grades, these young student’s positions at the historic university were far from secured. The application process for Cambridge is a long and arduous one. Both Arren and Holly had to attend lengthy and intense interviews, take an admissions test, showcase wider reading on their applied subjects and submit a thorough and detailed personal statement.

Holly, who attended Blessed Trinity RC College, Burnley, had to do all of this as well as submit a portfolio of her artwork in order to realise her dream of attending the prestigious university.

She said: “I’m shocked that I got in! […] I applied back in October and heard that I had to send in a portfolio, which was a PowerPoint of all my artwork.

“Then I had to do an interview which was 30-40 minutes long. Then I had to do an entrance exam where I did half an hour of an essay and then half an hour of drawing.”

Both students have credited the teaching staff and support network at NCC in particular, for helping them achieve their dreams. Arren, who attended Ss John Fisher and Thomas More RC High School, Colne, claims he couldn’t have done what he did without the support of the teaching staff at NCC.

He said: “I don’t think I could have done this by myself. The teaching. The support – I have learnt many different revision techniques.

“The teachers delivered the lessons and content really well, and they always let us know that we could always contact them.”

Fellow NCC student, Hend Al Hajy was offered a place at Cambridge but turned it down in favour of UCL- University College London, after receiving two A*s and an A. She had this to say when asked about the teaching staff at NCC; “They’ve really helped a lot, everything I needed was given to me when I needed it.

“All two of my teachers were excellent. They helped me throughout the two years and I’m very grateful for what they’ve done for me”


Another NCC graduate, Abigail Fraser similarly turned down a place at the highly sought-after Oxford University in favour of attending the University of Edinburgh, after achieving 2 A*s in Ancient History and English Literature and a A in English Language

Nelson and Colne College are immensely proud, not only of the achievements of these two students but the whole Class of ’22. Ninety-six per cent of students this year received at least one A* to C in their A Levels, with 14 per cent of students receiving exclusively A* and As.

The Interim Principal of the College Group, David Rothwell said: “It was an absolute privilege to be part of the amazing success story that unfolded on Thursday, the positivity and energy in the College was something else!

“It made it even better by being able to share the day with Andrea Jenkyns, the new Skills Minister who visited us and was rightly bowled over by what she experienced and the students, staff and employers she talked to.

“Our results are amongst the very best in the country and once again testament to all the phenomenal staff who know what it takes to create the extraordinary!”

If you are inspired by these successes and looking to further your career aspirations with a college education at Nelson and Colne then you are not too late. The dedicated Admissions Team are ready to help find the perfect course for you. Get in touch today on 01282 440272 or email