Students on the Target Oxbridge programme will visit Cambridge on Tuesday to get a taste of College life, meet students and Fellows, and find out more about studying here.
Some 40 students will have lunch at Trinity in between a tour of the University Library, sessions with students and academics, a tour of Pembroke and – of course – punting.
This is the second visit to Cambridge in 2019 by Target Oxbridge – the free mentoring programme designed to increase the chances of British students of black heritage getting into Cambridge and Oxford. This year 61 students on the programme have received offers from the two universities.
Feedback from students on the programme who visited Cambridge in April this year was positive – the experience made them likely to apply and challenged common stereotypes.
‘I am definitely more likely to apply as I have seen its advantages. It appears to be a place where I would be very comfortable studying, as well as successful,’ said Matthew Offeh.
Harry Black said he fell in love with Cambridge and was definitely going to apply.
I would now definitely say that Cambridge is a place I could see myself next year, with other like-minded people on the Target Oxbridge scheme. Everything about the residential from the Formal to our Supervision sessions with PhD students, re-affirmed the ‘dream’ of getting into Cambridge, and somewhat made it a reality.
‘I even found the College I like, and hopefully going to apply to, St John’s,’ said Harry.
Katrina Dewale said the visit confirmed her enthusiasm about studying at Cambridge. ‘My visit definitely assured me that I would feel comfortable, and welcome, at the University.’
The experience also helped challenge common misconceptions about Cambridge. ‘Before visiting, I was made to believe that it was an unreachable place and only for the elite upper class. Now that I’ve seen it, I think it’s an inclusive University and is achievable no matter where you come from,’ said Kevin.
Katrina said she was surprised by the confidence Fellows had in her and her peers. ‘I had never expected to feel that my ideas were so valued, when speaking to some of the greatest academics in their respective fields!’
Harry saw for himself how it wasn’t all ‘pale, male and stale.’
‘Like everyone says, this is far from the truth,’ he said. ‘For a starter all of our mentors (who were current Cambridge undergraduates), were all female and ethnic minorities. Coming from a background such as London, which is extremely diverse in any way imaginable, it is nice to know that Cambridge is not reserved for those who can afford it but for those who deserve it.’
For Sakhina Turiya the visit revealed some unexpected aspects of Cambridge, beyond the grand old buildings.
The visit definitely provided insight into how modern the University can be and the strong sense of community dwelling within Cambridge’s Colleges.
For Matthew the experience confirmed what a Cambridge education could offer. ‘The University has always been elite in my mind as I always see it ranked at the top – but seeing it in person and getting a taster of what is on offer really gave me insight as to why it is so prestigious,’ he said.
Founded by Rare, the diversity recruitment agency, Target Oxbridge is a one-year programme for high achieving students in Year 12 and Year 13, which offers one-on-one mentoring, advice on the application process and subject choices, interview practice, a seminar series, and visits to Oxford and Cambridge.
Trinity’s Admissions Tutor, Dr Glen Rangwala, gives talks regularly to Target Oxbridge students, including those interested in studying his subject, Human, Social and Political Sciences. Tomorrow, Trinity’s Schools Liaison Officers, Ellie Wood and Lizzie Bowes, will be on hand to answer any questions students have.
‘Programmes such as Target Oxbridge are excellent in helping students achieve their full potential in reaching for the likes of Oxford and Cambridge, and we love being able to help provide a taste of life here whilst debunking myths and misconceptions,’ Ellie said.
Photographs: Graham CopeKoga and Alexander Olive.