Wadham Access: Info and Resources

What is Access and Outreach?

The 2023 University of Oxford Admissions Report has been released! Access and Outreach efforts in Wadham and the University aim to increase the number of students admitted from under-represented backgrounds, and advocate on behalf of those students once they arrive at the University.

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Oxford Access Initiatives

    • Opportunity Oxforda bridging scheme designed to prepare under-represented students for study at Oxford (eligibility criteria can be found by clicking on the link). This involves a period of independent study online, and for some students may involve a residential.

    • Astrophoria Foundation Year – a free foundation year offered to state school students from less advantaged areas who have experienced personal disadvantage, or a severely disrupted education. Students take part in a yearlong, bespoke subject-specific course at Oxford.

    • Bursaries – Oxford provides a number of bursaries to students from lower-income households as a way of empowering students financially through their time at university.

Getting Involved

Note: you do not have to come from an “access” background to help out with access work, but your background is usually relevant for securing roles on committees, or securing positions within student societies. If you’re unsure whether or not your involvement is appropriate, please contact the relevant organisations, but don’t feel discouraged!

Oxford Societies

    • Class-Act is an SU campaign that supports students who attended a state comprehensive school, are care leavers, or are from working-class, first generation, and low-income backgrounds. They organise socials and speaker events during term time and campaign for greater access within Oxford. They update their Facebook page regularly.

    • CRAE, or the Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality, is an SU Campaign that advocates for students of colour and aims to create a more just student experience through “action and engagement with racial diversity and difference”. Check out their Beacon for links to their upcoming events and campaigns.

    • The 93% Club is dedicated to serving all students from state educated backgrounds. They host social events year-round, and provide unique opportunities by connecting students with employers.

    • Oxford ACS (African and Caribbean Society) is a student-run society 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 social and career events, ACS does access work (which you can find out more about by clicking here). Check out their Facebook page, too!

    • Oxford University Islamic Society do lots of outreach work, including publishing their own Alternative Prospectus and holding an annual Oxford Muslim Access Conference, details of which can be found here. You might also want to check out their Facebook page to stay updated.

Mentoring Opportunities
    • 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, access Oxbridge. Each student is paired with a current Oxbridge student, or an Oxbridge graduate, for mentoring sessions between July and December remotely or in person.
      • Time contribution: a minimum of 5 hours to speak with your mentee about their chosen subject (plus a mock interview).

    • Schools Plus is a tutoring scheme aiming to help disadvantaged pupils living in Oxford. You will provide 1-1 tutoring support for primary school, GCSE, and A-Level students to help them achieve the grades they are capable of.
      • Time commitment: 1-2 hours a week.
    • Zero Gravity is a programme which pairs state school students with online student mentors. You will guide your mentee through their university application and provide support for them during the academic year as they try to meet their offer.
      • Time contribution: 1 hour a week.
Student Ambassador Work
    • Target Schools runs a shadowing scheme 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 here.
      • Time commitment: one-off, half a day.

    • UNIQ is a free access programme run by the University of Oxford for students in their first year of further education at a UK state school or college. UNIQ offers a residential summer school and an online support platform. You can apply to become an ambassador here
      • Time commitment: duration of residential, or approximately 1 hour a week for digital ambassadors.
    • Lead tours of school groups around Wadham by becoming a Wadham Student Ambassador. Training takes place in Michaelmas, and entails a one-off, hour-long session followed by a short online Safeguarding Course. Check out this  Student Ambassador Training Presentation to give you an idea of what’s expected of a Wadham student ambassador. You might also find this Tour Route for Wadham helpful. If you’re nervous, you can ask to shadow as many tours as you like, or ask to be paired with another ambassador.
      • Time commitment: 1-2 hours a week.

Wadham offers a range of paid opportunities for those interested in access. Anyone can apply to be involved, however, those who are already student ambassadors will be prioritised.

    • Telephone Campaign – this is an annual event that links current students with alumni, and raises important funds for access work, bursaries and scholarships, and all the other financial grants that many Wadham students receive. 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 to get involved.
    • Summer Schools – Wadham runs three summer schools every year for Biology/Human Sciences, Classics, and 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. Sign ups will usually take place in Trinity term, advertised via email.
    • Open Days – Wadham asks students to volunteer on Open Days, with meals, accommodation, and travel usually paid for. Students are asked to show prospective students around the college, man the front desk, and answer any questions that applicants may have.
    • Giving Day – Wadham holds a Giving Day each year. 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. 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.
Giving a Talk in your School/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.

Each Oxford college is linked to a particular region of the UK, in which they focus their access work and have contacts with schools and students. Wadham is linked with Barking and Dagenham, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hackney, Havering, Islington, Luton, Milton Keynes, Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlet.