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Students jump at the opportunity

chalk crest on Univ's Main QuadUniv is delighted to welcome the first cohort of students supported by our Opportunity Programme.

Eight of the brightest students from around the country, who may otherwise have missed out on a place at Oxford, have been given an opportunity to study with us this year. We look forward to getting to know them and supporting them in their time at Univ.

Our new students will be studying Chemistry, Engineering, English, Experimental Psychology, History and Politics, Law, Maths and Physics, and to ensure they hit the ground running at the beginning of term they attended a four week bridging course at Univ over the summer.

The bridging course is designed to give them an opportunity to explore the academic material, develop some key skills and to get to know the College during the quieter summer months before the excitement of Freshers’ week.

Univ launched the Opportunity Programme in June last year to increase the number of high-achieving students from backgrounds we felt were under-represented at College. To be eligible for the Programme students must be from both a lower-performing school and live in an area of relative socio-economic disadvantage. We also welcome students who have been in care for more than three months. However, they must all go through the same competitive admissions process.

“The new students are all very academic and highly motivated individuals; they all met or exceeded their conditional offers,” said Dr Andrew Bell, Senior Tutor at Univ.

“That they did this without the advantages which many of our students enjoy reminds us of why we established the Programme. We want Univ to keep attracting the best students, and we hope the Programme will mean that more students who historically don’t apply to Oxford will do so.”

The effects of the Opportunity Programme are already being felt as the number of applications from students who would meet the criteria for the Programme has more than doubled, and the number of offers made to this group has almost quadrupled.

“The Programme is very much intended to provide additional places rather than simply to re-designate eligible candidates who would have received an offer anyway,” explained Dr Bell. “It is part of a much wider initiative to increase access to Oxford to those who are sometimes overlooked.”

Though in its early days, the Opportunity Programme already shows signs of being a great success. And this success is in part due to the incredible, generous support Univ has received from Old Members. It’s a wonderful example of one generation supporting the next to ensure that those with the greatest potential get a chance to realise it, here, at Univ. Long may it continue.

Learn more about Univ’s Opportunity Programme.

Published: 24 October 2017

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