OxFizz’s Widening Participation programme works to close the ‘access gap’ at our top universities, especially Oxford and Cambridge.

In 2017, we delivered more hours of pro-bono services than ever before. In 2018, we’re going to be even more ambitious and impactful — aiming to deliver 1000 hours of free support to students from non-traditional university backgrounds.

These posts will keep you up-to-date on how we’re doing. We hope you find inspiration in what follows.

Our ‘Subject Carousel’ — Saturday 3rd February 2018

On Saturday 3rd February, 23 of our excellent volunteers ran a ‘Subject Carousel’ day for nearly 100 students from across London.

The students came from The Access Project, Ark Academy, Woolwich Polytechnic School, Havering Sixth Form College, and Brampton Manor Academy. They are all in Year 12, and are looking to make applications this autumn to the top universities in the UK.

The day aimed to make the students:

  1. More knowledgeable about the courses they could apply to, and what they need to do to make a strong application
  2. Less susceptible to the unhelpful myths surrounding Oxbridge
  3. Motivated about their university application
  4. Excited about taking part in future events, which will focus on areas like personal statements and interviews

The students rotated around talks ran by our volunteers, hearing from them about their own applications, university experiences, and what they had gone on to do since university. They also got to run through a ‘taster’ exercise in each subject, to see what it would be like to study this further at Oxford or Cambridge.

We’re proud of the excellent presentations our volunteers prepared. Just one of these came from our volunteer for Medicine, Dr. Katy Boncey. Her presentation was insightful, personalised, fun, interactive, and made great use of memes — you can see it for yourself here.

We collected feedback from students before and after the day, to assess how successful we’d been. We were proud to see progress on every one of our aims, and that we’d done particularly well equipping our students with a better understanding of what studying at Oxford and Cambridge would be like.

We also found that the day had a profound ‘mythbusting’ effect. We asked students before and after the day to ‘describe the kind of people who would go to Oxford or Cambridge’, and found that after the talks they were significantly less likely to describe them as ‘posh’, ‘elite’, ‘snobs’, or ‘rich’. The word used most frequently on both occasions was ‘intelligent’.

We believe that the success of this day was down to the sheer amount of interest we received from volunteers and students, as well as the quality of the sessions on offer.

We’re now going to build on this event, and look forward to our ‘Workshop Day’ on Saturday 24th March. More details soon…

Interested in our Widening Participation programme? Contact lee.robertson@oxfizz.org