Young North East couple set up business to help students with university applications

Karina Shooter and Tom Gordon hope to help other aspiring university students through Perfect Your Personal Statement

Student Tom Gordon and girlfriend Karina Shooter
Student Tom Gordon and girlfriend Karina Shooter

She's been a member of Mensa since she was 13 and he has had Oxford and Cambridge fighting over him.

Now boyfriend and girlfriend duo Tom Gordon and Karina Shooter are hoping they can pass on their pearls of wisdom to other aspiring university students.

The pair, who have been together 18 months, have co-founded their own business to help other students impress with their personal statements.

“We both go to different schools, Tom went to boarding school and got a lot of support and I do not and I didn’t get as much,” said 18-year-old Karina, from North Shields in North Tyneside.

“When we went to our interviews we thought quite a lot of people would probably do a lot better if they knew what the process was like, we thought if we set up a business and shared our experience they would go into the system much more prepared,” added Karina, a Central High pupil.

The couple, who got their A-Level results on Thursday, now have their own company to help other students achieve their university aspirations called Perfect Your Personal Statement.

To date, Tom and Karina have given presentations on perfecting university applications to just under 500 young people at schools in the region and the company is currently mentoring 10 individuals giving bespoke one-to-one tuition and advice, which is tailored to each client’s needs.

Student Tom Gordon and girlfriend Karina Shooter who have developed an app to help A level students through clearing
Student Tom Gordon and girlfriend Karina Shooter who have developed an app to help A level students through clearing

“Some people ask us why we think we are qualified to advise people on applying to university - only being students ourselves,” said Karina.

“But I believe that our age is an asset rather than a drawback.

“First of all, having just gone through the process ourselves, we know how stressful applying to university can be - so we can identify with our clients and guide them as best we can.

“Perhaps more importantly, we have the most up to date information on the interview process - during mock interviews we can ask questions that we ourselves were asked in our own Oxbridge interviews last year. Yes, we are young, but I think the advice we can offer is invaluable,” she said.

Karina, who has been a member of British Mensa since she was 13 and also represents five countries on the International Mensa Gifted Youth Committee, got three As and an A* in her A-Levels on Thursday and will go on to study Economics and Management at Oxford University.

Her partner Tom, 19, from Corbridge in Northumberland, is heading to Cambridge University to study Theology after getting three A*s and an A in his A-Levels this week.

“We do talks at school completely free of charge then help individuals and charge them for that service, that’s to fund the business,” said Karina.

Tom, who went to Ampleforth College in Yorkshire, said the pair already have some key top tips to help others with their personal statements.

“We just say, ‘who here has done maths’, and everyone put their hand up. Then ‘who has done a certain topic in maths’, some hands go down, then ‘who has gone and used maths to help a local business’ and more hands go down,” said Tom, who received an offer to study as an undergraduate from both Oxford University and Cambridge University.

“We try to emphasise individuality in the application.

“If someone else can write it, think before you put it in.”

If you would like more information visit or to enquire about a session for a future university applicant email


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