A SCHOOLGIRL will be swapping studies at a south Essex secondary for one of the best universities in the world as she joins Yale in America this summer.

Ellen Binnington, 17, of Whiteways, Eastwood, is a student at the King John School in Shipwrights Drive, Thundersley, but will be travelling to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, to attend college for a week and experience life at an American campus.

Ellen, who has ambitions to attend university in America, competed against 2,000 students from across the country to be selected as one of 175 given the opportunity through educational charity the Sutton Trust.

The application process was demanding with Ellen having to submit essays, a nine-page application form and video interviews among other things.

During April, Ellen also went to a four-day residential course at the London School of Economics.

She said: “I’m still in a state of shock – opportunities like this just don’t happen to people like me.

“When I come back, the Sutton Trust will then help me apply to the A m e r i c a n universities to hopefully get a scholarship to a college “I like the style of the way they teach and I will get to do a variety of subjects.

“It will definitely be a shock being away from everyone, but it’s exciting and it will be an adventure.

“It goes to show that a little hard work and the right support can change your life.

“I cannot thank the Sutton Trust enough, I would never have been able to do this without its help.

“I hope to make everyone back home proud.”

Ellen wants to study history, literature, philosophy and other arts subjects if she gets the grades to be admitted to an American university.

She has ambitions to become a playwrite, novelist or journalist and is studying English language, English literature, history and philosophy and ethics.

Jenny Brown, director of humanities at King John, said: “I am very proud of Ellen’s achievement.

“The selection process was extremely rigorous.

“It will be a great opportunity for her and I can’t wait to hear about how she gets on at Yale.”

Ellen will be at Yale from August 5 to 12.