Increasing support for Target Oxbridge

30th October 2018

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Wadham is to double its funding to Target Oxbridge, a programme to help students with black African and Caribbean heritage to increase their chances of getting into Oxford and Cambridge.

  • Tariq Hammed (Economics and Management, 2018)

    Tariq Hammed (Economics and Management, 2018)

  • Ibrahim Mohamed (Mathematics, 2018)

    Ibrahim Mohamed (Mathematics, 2018)

In 2018/19 Wadham will be funding the support of eight students as well as offering to host events during the Target Oxbridge residential programme and visits to Oxford.

Wadham supported four students in 2017, at an approximate cost of £1250 per student. The students received personalised support in Years 12 and 13 helping them with the Oxbridge application process. The programme resulted in 48 applications to Oxford of which 30 were invited to interview. Of the 24 who received offers, 20 met their offers and 19 took up their places at the start of this academic year.

Target Oxbridge also provides successful students with support on how to prepare for life at Oxbridge, to ensure they have a smooth transition.

Tariq Hammed (Economics and Management, 2018) and Ibrahim Mohamed (Mathematics, 2018) took up places at Wadham.

Tariq describes his experience with Target Oxbridge as ‘life-changing’, preparing him for an Oxford application, reassuring him when he was anxious and building his confidence.

“My school was pushing me towards Oxbridge but once I was accepted by Target Oxbridge I was invited to an Economics Master Class with an Oxford tutor which was invaluable. We learned new techniques at a pre-interview test workshop and then an interview workshop explained that we didn’t need to know all the answers but had to demonstrate the way we thought. My mentor was the best – a previous Target Oxbridge student now studying Economics and Management at St Peter’s College. He was able to answer my questions and then gave me a mock interview over Skype.”

Since arriving at Wadham Tariq has felt supported, not only by the Target Oxbridge programme and his mentor, but by the support of the Wadham community. He now plans to become a mentor himself, helping future applicants from backgrounds like his own.

Ibrahim Mohamed (Mathematics, 2018) added: "I was introduced to Wadham when I came here with Target Oxbridge – I knew then that I would like to study here. Oxford is seen as mystical –difficult to imagine in real life. Target Oxbridge helped me to know what it is really like.”

Wadham Access and Outreach Officer Hugh Munro explained Wadham’s commitment to the scheme: “It is vital that Oxford is a university that represents the diversity and talent of the UK. Target Oxbridge has demonstrated wonderful outcomes with the students it has worked with which is why we are delighted to expand our support of the programme. There are not enough black African and Caribbean students at Oxbridge and we are helping to address this.”

  • Target Oxbridge students dine in Wadham's Hall. Photo by John Cairns

    Target Oxbridge students dine in Wadham's Hall. Photo by John Cairns

More about Target Oxbridge

The Target Oxbridge programme, designed by Rare, also aims to demystify the Oxbridge application process, and to make it clear to the students that Oxford and Cambridge are universities at which they can belong. Target Oxbridge’s patron, Zadie Smith,an acclaimed author and Cambridge graduate, speaks with the students each year to ensure that this aim is achieved. The students also have numerous opportunities to speak with current black Oxbridge students.

Since launching with a cohort of six students in 2012, Target Oxbridge has helped 81 students gain offers from Oxbridge. From 2012 – 2016 Rare funded the programme from its own revenue streams, growing it to a cohort of 30 students each year. The programme has expanded twice since then, with financial support from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. In 2017 it expanded to 45 full programme places with the support of Oxford. In 2018 it expanded to 160 full programme places with the support of both Oxford and Cambridge.

The aim is for Target Oxbridge to offer another 160 full programme places in 2019. Recruitment for the 2019 programme is underway, with over 200 applications received in just 10 days.