Access Assistant, Kate Brazier Tope, reports on the 2017 Access Roadshow:
“The roadshow aims to talk to as many secondary school students in the area as possible to inform them about their options for higher education and to raise their aspirations. I was accompanied on the trip by three current undergraduate students of the university: Jack Wands (PPE), Emma Ring (History and Economics) and Aditya Desai (Chemistry).
“Nine state schools were visited during the week, with around 550 students from 11 schools attending sessions. The ages of students ranged from 11-17, and the size of groups from 20 to 150. Almost half of the students who attended would be the first in their family to attend university, so the information provided on Russell Group universities, the courses on offer, and student life were particularly pertinent, as well as the myth busting of what Oxford and Cambridge and their students are like.
“Students were amazed at the number and variety of courses on offer at universities in the UK, and enjoyed taking part in a quiz to test their knowledge. The importance of A level choices was emphasised, as many students don’t consider the fact that the subjects chosen at this level could impact the degrees available to study, for example the need to study Chemistry in order to study Medicine at University.
“We advised students that it was important to find a subject they were passionate about, something they would enjoy studying for three years or more, rather than focusing too much on how it might lead to a particular career after university. They heard that many people end up doing a job that is completely unrelated to their degree subject, which was demonstrated by guessing what some celebrities studied at university.
“The post-16 sessions went into more detail about the student experience as well as looking at the UCAS application process and giving tips on how to write personal statements. In all sessions, Wadham’s current students shared their knowledge and insights into student life, giving pupils a sense of what it is like to study at a top university. They discussed how they chose which degree to study and which university to attend, and what the interview process was like, as well as talking through a typical student day. They also outlined extra-curricular activities, such as being a Tortoise Officer, and ways to demonstrate your passion for your subject before applying.
“Feedback from students was very positive, and we would like to thank the teachers at all of the schools we visited for helping to organise the visit and making the sessions possible: St Peter’s School, Abbey College, Cottenham Village College, Soham Village College, Bassingbourn Village College, Sawston Village College, The Netherhall School, Melbourn Village College, Thomas Clarkson Academy, Longsands Academy and UTC Cambridge.”
“I think this was a brilliant idea, because, I have learnt a lot more about Oxford, and other universities, and what they can offer.” (Year 9, Cottenham Village College)
“Helped me overcome some existing preconceptions I had about both Oxford and Cambridge.” (Year 10, Soham Village College)
“It made the Russell universities seem less daunting.” (Year 10, The Netherhall School)
“With the websites given I will research more about the courses I'm interested in.” (Year 10, St Peter’s School)
“The session was very well organised and definitely has pushed me to do better in my lessons.” (Year 9, Thomas Clarkson Academy)