Aiming high

13th December 2016

What are the differences between school and university, can you study artificial intelligence at university and what does it mean to study Classics?

These were some of the topics addressed at two recent Aspiration Days for visiting 13 and 14 year old school students from Bower Park Academy in Havering, Stopsley High School and Lealands High School in Luton and Holloway School in Islington.

Talking to students during their visits, the responses to the Aspiration Days were extremely positive.

“I learned that the library in Oxford has over 12 million books and that Oxford is the oldest University in the UK,” said one student. “I thought Oxford was one big University building – now I know about the 38 different colleges and that the students live in their colleges,” added another.
“I learned about the different courses you can do at University – some I’d never heard of before!” said a third.

Of the 850 students from 58 different schools who attended Wadham aspiration days in 2015/16, some 45 percent had no parental history of higher education. What’s more, in their feedback, 90 percent of all participants agreed that they would recommend the visit ‘to a friend’.

Wadham’s Access and Outreach Officer Emily Cannon commented: “The aim of our Aspiration Days is to give students an insight into university life and encourage them to think about important upcoming choices.  During the days, students take part in academic taster sessions, have an age-appropriate information, advice, and guidance session with a member of the Access team, and meet current undergraduate students.”

Wadham’s access and outreach programme is built on the generosity of alumni and friends who are contributing to the College Access to Excellence programme – supporting students at every step of the educational journey, from pre-16 outreach to increased support for students and graduates.

Commenting on the programme, Warden Ken Macdonald QC said: ““With a student body among Oxford’s most diverse and a world-class academic reputation, Wadham is demonstrating that fair access, international reach and academic excellence go hand in hand. We want Wadham to be the living proof that fairness in education is not about lowering standards; it’s about gathering up the best, wherever they are to be found.”