Trinity students pilot mentoring scheme for Year 12 black students

Trinity students Serena Cole, Elizabeth Beevers and Vanessa Tang have devised a by-students-for-students mentoring scheme for Year 12 black students, which builds on Target Oxbridge’s national programme.

‘Track to Trin’ will involve a pilot group of students of African and Caribbean heritage participating in subject-specific webinars led by Trinity PhD students. There will also be sessions with Trinity’s Outreach Team offering guidance about applying to Cambridge.

Aware of the popularity of Target Oxbridge’s mentoring programme, Serena, Elizabeth and Vanessa devised the student-led pilot when they worked together on Trinity College Students’ Union (TCSU) last year. Serena was BME Officer, Elizabeth was Access Officer and Vanessa was Female Welfare Officer.

TCSU President-elect Serena Cole. Photo: Simon Warrener

Serena, now President-elect of TCSU for 2021-22, said:

I love hearing the impact that access work has had on incoming Freshers and hope that the mentoring and guidance through Track to Trin will bring high-achieving black students one step closer to applying and getting into Cambridge.

TCSU Access Officer 2020-21, Elizabeth Beevers. Photo: Simon Warrener

Elizabeth said:

With Trinity PhD students leading subject-specific sessions one of the key aims of this pilot scheme is to bolster students’ learning and reassure them – if needed – that Cambridge and Trinity is for them and they should feel confident in applying.

Incoming TCSU Access Officer, Eve Simpson, and BME Officer, Ayesha Khan, supported by Schools Liaison Officer, Lizzie Bowes, will also be involved in Track to Trin. If successful, the pilot scheme will expand for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Track to Trin taps into the success of Target Oxbridge, the free mentoring programme run by diversity recruitment specialist, Rare, which is transforming the landscape of leading universities and changing students’ lives.

Since launching in 2012, more than 200 students of black African and Caribbean heritage on the Target Oxbridge programme have secured offers from Oxford and Cambridge. For the academic year 2020-2021 Cambridge admitted a record 137 UK-based black undergraduates.

Target Oxbridge participants at Trinity in 2019. Photo: Graham CopeKoga

Trinity’s Outreach Coordinator, Jon Datta, said mentoring programmes, adapted for each participant’s needs, were vital in encouraging more black students to consider Oxford and Cambridge, and supporting them to make strong applications. He said:

That’s why I am delighted that Elizabeth, Serena and Vanessa have taken the initiative to set up student-led pilot for Year 12 black students. Their enthusiasm and belief that all prospective students deserve fair access to support is admirable.

As a College we recognise the need to engage with younger black students too – the new Trinity Target Oxbridge Year 10 Programme does just that – and the response has been fantastic.

More than 750 students applied for 100 places on this programme for 14 and 15 year olds, which aims to demystify Oxford and Cambridge, provide information on the application process, and insights into how degree subject choice can affect career options. Mr Datta said:

Clearly there is great interest from ambitious students to find out more about Cambridge and benefit from support, advice and guidance that may not be available to them elsewhere. As a result we are considering expanding the programme this year.

Applications for Track to Trin are open. The deadline for applying is 5 March 2021.

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