A teenager from Monkseaton, Whitley Bay, has been accepted into the renowned Harvard University in America – and he’s yet to even finish his A-levels!

Simeon Sayer, 17, will be heading to the US in August to start a four-year computer science course at the university in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Whitley Bay High School sixth former said: “I researched my options and decided that I wanted to study in America about 18 months ago. I found out that I needed to sit the American tests, submit an application and conduct an interview.”

Once he passed the entry test, scoring 1530 out of 1600, Simeon submitted an application form about his interests and achievements, including his work with National Citizen Service (NCS) – a government-backed summer programme for 16 and 17 year olds in which he is a graduate of and sits on the organisation’s regional and national youth boards.

“They were interested in so much more than academic success and wanted to get to ‘know’ applicants more than the UK university system does. They took note of what kinds of extra-curricular activities I’d been doing, like National Citizen Service,” added Simeon:

“After I submitted the application I didn’t expect anything to come of it – but when I was accepted it felt great – it’s taken the pressure off my A-level exams and I’m looking forward to the exciting opportunities that Harvard can offer.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I’d encourage other teenagers to think about this route. Activities like NCS, volunteering and extra-curricular learning or research were really important to my Harvard application, and have pushed me as a leader, a problem solver and a member of my community, not just as an academic. I think that’s really important, and often overlooked in our school process – learning and thinking isn’t just what goes on in the classroom. The UK exam system boils down 14 years of education to letter grades, and I think it’s crucial that as young people we don’t let that determine our value, and that we explore all the amazing opportunities that are available to us.”

Find out more about NCS at ncsyes.co.uk. Limited places are available on the summer NCS programme. The 3-4 week programme costs a maximum of £50.