Wadham Access: Info and Resources

What is Access and Outreach and what has it achieved? 

The 2020 University of Oxford Admissions Report has been released, and a good round up of the stats it provides can be found in this Cherwell article, alongside some important critiques. Another important and useful re-examination of the stats can be found in this article, written by Wadham’s own Marie-Ann Harvey. 

Jump to:

Note these important new Oxford access initiatives beginning soon:

  • Opportunity Oxforda bridging scheme beginning this September, designed to prepare under-represented students (eligibility criteria can be found by clicking on the link) for study at Oxford by inviting them to Oxford a few weeks before the start of their first Michaelmas to take part in a preparation programme
  • Foundation Oxford – a foundation year offered to state school students from less advantaged areas and who have also experienced personal disadvantage or a severely disrupted education. Students will take part in a yearlong, bespoke subject-specific course at Oxford. Once up and running, it is anticipated that the programme will support up to 50 students a year.

How can I get involved?

Note: you do not have to be from an “access” background to help out with access work, but obviously discretion is required – for example, your background is usually relevant for securing roles on committees or positions within student societies. If you’re unsure whether your involvement is appropriate, please contact the relevant societies / organisations and ask, rather than not getting involved. Anyone of any background can become a student ambassador at Wadham, and this is the case for most other volunteer opportunities (including online), but there’s never any harm in checking!

Oxford Societies
  • The  Oxford First Gen Society  aims to support students who are part of the first generation in their family to attend university. As well as putting on social events to connect students (such as bar crawls, ‘chat and chills’ and ‘informal formals’), they work with organisations such as the Brilliant Club to recruit student ambassadors, take part in panels to discuss access issues at Oxford and regularly publicise ways their members can get involved with access word. Find out more on their Facebook page, or you can contact them using their email address
  • Oxford Class-Act is an SU campaign that supports students who are working class, first gen, from a low income background, attended a state comprehensive and / or are care leavers. During term time, they organise socials and speaker events alongside campaigning. Check out their statement here on why they support free and accessible education, as well as their constitution for an outline of their committee and the different roles available. They also update their Facebook page regularly with information about different access initiatives around the university, and details of upcoming events.  
  • Common Ground is a movement that “sets out to examine Oxford’s colonial past in the context of its present-day inequalities.” They put on talks, panels, exhibitions and symposiums as well as publishing a student run, peer-reviewed journal consisting of articles that expose and challenge legacies of empire in universities, classist structures and institutionalised forms of discrimination. Like their Facebook page here. 
  • CRAE. or the Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality, is an SU Campaign that aims to create a more just and inclusive student experience through “action and engagement with racial diversity and difference.” They have launched pilot access programmes with colleges to spark greater outreach to BME students in local schools, equality and sensitivity training for JCR and MCR committees and a research effort to assemble the experiences of BME students at Oxford (read their 100 voices report). 
  • Oxford ACS (African and Caribbean Society) is a “student-run society at the University of Oxford dedicated to the promotion of African and Caribbean culture and the social and educational development of tomorrow’s generation of gifted African and Caribbean students.” As well as engaging with current students via socials and career events, ACS also does lots of access work (which you can find here, and includes a shadowing scheme, workshops for school pupils and an annual access conference.) On their website, they invite students interested in taking part to contact their Senior Access and Outreach Offiver Fis Noibi at this email address.  Check out their facebook page here. 
  • Oxford from the Inside is a podcast about life at our university made by current students, uploading episodes twice a week on their IGTV (@oxfordfromtheinside) and Youtube Channel and in podcast form on Spotify and Anchor.
  • The Oxford University Islamic Society also do outreach work, including publishing their own Alternative Prospectus and holding an annual Oxford Muslim Access Conference , details of which can be found here. If you’d like to be involved with their access work, including regional events and school visits, you can get in touch with them by email. You might also want to check out their Facebook page to get updated.
Online Opportunities:
  • Mentoring
    • Target Oxbridge is a programme that aims to help black African and Caribbean students, and students of mixed race with black African and Caribbean heritage, increase their chances of getting into Oxbridge. Each student is paired with a current Oxbridge student, or an Oxbridge graduate, for mentoring sessions between July and December over Skype or the phone. Check out their Facebook, and sign up here.
      • Time contribution: a minimum of 5 hours to speak with your mentee about their chosen subject (plus a mock interview). 
    • Zero Gravity is a programme which pairs applicants from low income backgrounds to online student mentors. You’ll begin by having subject-based tutorial-style discussions with your mentee, before guiding them through their university application (to a range of top UK universities, not exclusively Oxbridge). Finally, you’ll provide support for them during the academic year as they try to meet their offer. We’ve already had 17 Wadham students sign up, which is great news, but they still need more science students in particular to become mentors. Check out their Facebook, and sign up here. 
      • Time contribution: 1 hour a week.
    • Oxbuddy is a student-run initiative that partners school pupils with Oxford students to tackle inequalities in access to information and knowledge about Oxford. All you’ll have to do is answer questions by email, so if you’re not comfortable mentoring someone by video, Oxbuddy might be ideal for you. Their sign-up for this year is closed, but keep updated using their Facebook.
      • Time contribution: low – you’ll just be answering the odd email.
    • Project Access is a peer-to-peer mentorship programme, where current-student mentors provide applicants with information, application feedback and support throughout the application process. These applicants need to meet a holistic set of criteria to receive a mentor (encompassing students on free school meals, care leavers etc). Some mentors also deliver workshops and talks at schools and talent networks around the world. You’ll be paired with a mentee – ideally from your country / region – who is interested in studying a degree similar to yours at Oxford. Sign up here. 
      • Time commitment: 1-2 hours a month.
    • Schools Plus (see below) are looking for online tutors to continue their programme during the pandemic. Their programme links up Oxford university students to disadvantaged pupils from Oxford. Check out their Facebook, and sign up to help them create resources (Quizlets, worksheets, video lessons), provide 1-1 online tutoring support (GCSE and A-Level) and create games for younger children to help their families cope with social distancing. Sign up here.  
      • Time commitment: 1-2 hours a week for tutoring, one-off commitment for creating content
  • Other
    • Inside Uni is a website that shares resources and advice about applying to Oxbridge, so applicants can find quick stories or information from people doing their course. They’re looking for current students to contribute their knowledge about their subject area and their course to build their site.  If you do any of the following courses, please get in touch with them here.:
      • Archaeology and Anthropology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Biology, CAAH, Classics and English, Classics and Modern Languages, Classics and Oriental Studies, Computer Science. Earth Sciences, English and Modern Languages, European and Middle Eastern Languages, Fine Art, Geography, History and English, History and Modern Languages, History of Art, HumSci, Maths and Computer Science, Maths and Phil, Maths and Stats, Medicine, Music, Oriental Studies, Philosophy and Theology, Physics and Philosophy, Psychology (Experimental), Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics, Religion and Oriental Studies, and Theology and Religion.
      • Time contribution: a one-off 10 minutes!
Student Ambassador / Volunteer Work:
  • Oxford-wide / education charities:
    • Target Schools runs a regular shadowing scheme for over 200 Year 12 pupils (16/17 years old) from the UK. Each pupil is matched to an undergraduate studying a subject similar to the one that the pupil is interested in, and then ‘shadows’ that undergraduate for half a day, going to their lectures and tutorials. Find out more on their Facebook page, and sign up here. 
      • Time commitment: one-off, half a day. 
    • Schools Plus is a volunteering programme run by Oxford Hub that aims to tackle educational disadvantage within Oxford, offering Oxford students the opportunity to volunteer in local schools as tutors for one hour a week. They also look for students to create online content for them (see above) – check out their Facebook and sign up or find out about their various initiatives here.  
      • Time commitment: 1-2 hours a week
    • Universify Education is a university and access charity looking for current university students to act as coaches to disadvantaged Year 10 students from non-selective state schools. Volunteers help deliver a week long summer course, a three day Easter residential, and monthly coaching via video or phone as part of a year long programme. If social distancing restrictions do not permit the residential element of their programme, they will run an online replacement (as they have already done with their Easter residential). Sign up here, and keep up to date on their Facebook page. 
      • Time commitment: monthly coaching + short residential
    • IntoUniversity is a charity that provides local learning centres to inspire young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain a university place or another chosen aspiration. This is a national charity, not exclusive to Oxford, so it is worth checking out whether you can help out when you’re at home (they have centres in London, Nottingham, Bristol, Oxford, Brighton, Leeds, Southampton, Clacton-on-SEA, Liverpool, Weston-super-Mare, Coventry, Manchester and Birmingam.)  They are looking for volunteers as part of several different initiatives, which you can sign up here for, .including:
      • Academic Support tutoring at after-school sessions for primary and secondary students
      • Mentoring
      • A Buddy programme which allows students to shadow you at Oxford for a day
      • Primary FOCUS, where you will be asked to share your experience of university with Year 6s on their ‘graduation’ day as part of a Primary FOCUS week.
  • UNIQ is a range of free access programmes run by the University of Oxford for students in their first year of further education at a UK state school or college. UNIQ encompasses a series of residential summer schools, a residential conference in the Easter break and UNIQ Digital, an online learning platform. Applications to work on UNIQ are open from November to December, with selection centres in January. To be eligible to apply you must be a current undergrad at Oxford, or a current postgraduate student with an undergrad from Oxford. When applications open, you can apply here
    • Time commitment: duration of the residential, or for digital ambassadors approximately an hour a fortnight or half an hour a week
  • Oxford organises conferences for teachers across the UK and in Oxford in June / July each year, with the aim of equipping them with the best advice for their students applying. Student Ambassadors “talk about their personal experiences of the application process and life at Oxford and take part in a mock interview.” Students interested in being ambassadors can email here. (Source: Oxford SU)
  • Look out for more opportunities to help with Oxford’s access work (including paid opportunities) on the Oxford SU Access Page
  • Want to give a talk at your school / in your area? This can be a great way to make an impact, as you’ll likely be speaking to students with a similar experience to your own. Both Oxford SU and the Wadham Access team have put together some handy guides to give you an idea of how to get in contact with schools in your area / what to talk about.
  • At Wadham:
    • Become a student ambassador – this will allow you to lead tours of school groups around Wadham. Training usually takes place in Michaelmas, which usually entails a one-off, hour-long session followed by a short online Safeguarding Course (usually requiring about 40 minutes or so). Email Hugh Munro for more information, and in the meantime check out this  Student Ambassador Training Presentation to give you an idea of what’s expected of a Wadham student ambassador. 
      • If you’ve attended a training session but haven’t completed the online safeguarding course, you can find it here.. From the courses area, select the eLearning Courses and the “An Introduction to Safeguarding” course should appear. Upon completion of the course, please send a PDF of your certificate to access@wadham.ox.ac.uk.  The website can be a little confusing so email Hugh if you need assistance. 
      • The College’s Safeguarding Code of Practice can also be found here – in Annex C of the document, you can find more guidance about safeguarding and child protection for Wadham’s Access events.
      • Once you’re fully trained, you might find this Tour Route for Wadham useful. If you’re nervous, you can ask to shadow as many tours as you like – just ask to be paired with another ambassador when you respond to Catherine when she makes an ambassador call-out.  
    • Paid opportunities – Wadham offers a range of paid opportunities in access. Note however that those who are already volunteer student ambassadors for Wadham will be prioritised. **NOTE – due to COVID-19 these events have bee cancelled, with interviews scheduled to take place online. 
      • Telephone Campaign – this is an annual event that links current students with alumni and raises important funds for our access work, bursaries and scholarships, and all the other financial grants that many Wadham students recieve. The work usually takes place in September over a two-week period, with the application deadline usually in June. Look out for emails from the Development Office in Trinity term. 
      • Interviews – students are invited to act as paid admissions hosts over the undergraduate admissions interview period in December, following the end of Michaelmas term. Hosts are usually able to apply to work in either 9th Week or 10th Week, or the full (approx 10 day) period. Look out for emails from the Access Team in Michaelmas term.
      • Summer Schools – Wadham runs three summer schools every year, one in Biology / Human Sciences, another in Classics and one in Modern Languages. Ambassadors are asked to support and mentor the students across a one week period, and must study the relevant (or closely related) subjects given that you will be providing subject specific support. Sign up will usually take place in Trinity term, advertised via email by the Wadham access team. 
    • Open Days – Wadham asks students to volunteer during the Oxford Open Days, with meals, accommodation and travel usually paid for. Students are asked to show prospective students around the college, as well as manning the front desk and answering any questions that applicants may have. 
    • Giving Day – every year, Wadham holds an annual Giving Day, where alumni are encouraged to donate as much money as possible to Wadham within a 24 hour period, with the aim of fundraising as much money for access and research as possible. Giving Day usually takes place in Trinity Term, but in 2020 has been rescheduled to November due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A team of students usually help organise and plan the day, including organising a range of fun events to raise awareness of the day within college. If you would like to get involved, please speak to the acting access officer or email Will Parry at the Development Office with your suggestions.
    • Humans of Wadham (also on instagram as @humans_of_wadham) are always looking for stories about Wadham students and our journeys to Oxford. You don’t have to be from an “access” background or have a big inspirational tale to contribute, it’s all about representing the diversity of the Wadham student body. Message them on Facebook to get involved.  
  • Especially for International Students:
    • The International Guidance Counsellors’ Conference is a two-day conference for guidance counsellors, careers advisers and teachers employed by a high school outside the UK. Oxford recruit Student Ambassadors from outside the UK to talk about their personal experiences of the application process and life at Oxford, and take part in a mock interview. To get involved, students can express an interest by emailing or for more information can visit their website. (Source: Oxford SU)