A second-year student at Brasenose, Michael McGrade, has founded a project aiming to increase the number of successful Oxbridge applications from Scottish state schools.

The Clydeside Project provides prospective Scottish applicants with ‘mentors’ – current Oxbridge students who can answer questions and give advice about the application process.

Students from Scottish state schools are heavily under-represented at the University of Oxford. A recent Freedom of Information request submitted by McGrade shows that in the 2018 Oxford intake only 16 students came from Scottish state schools. This means that in the same intake, there were 13 English private schools that each sent more children to Oxford than the entire Scottish state school system. Eton and Westminster sent more than double.

Students from Scottish state schools are heavily under-represented at the University of Oxford. A recent Freedom of Information request submitted by McGrade shows that in the 2018 Oxford intake only 16 students came from Scottish state schools. This means that in the same intake, there were 13 English private schools that each sent more children to Oxford than the entire Scottish state school system. Eton and Westminster sent more than double.

McGrade, who is studying History and Economics, told Cherwell: “Every year just a handful of English schools are sending ten times as many students to Oxford as Scotland’s entire state sector. These figures reflect the failings of the university’s outreach efforts. Scotland does not even have a link college with Oxford, unlike every region in England.

Free tuition can only be held partly responsible for Scotland’s poor Oxbridge record. Applications rose in line with England after the trebling of fees in 2012. The universities and UK government have nonetheless badly miscommunicated the English student finance system. Few in Scotland know that graduates repay as they earn.

The goal of The Clydeside Project is to make Oxbridge a serious option for the many hundreds of deserving Scots who currently do not apply. Mentoring, provided through Access Oxbridge, will help those without the financial resources or family connections to assist their application.

The project is accepting registrations from students who are keen to mentor applicants – and it has beenemphasised that students of any nationality can register. Those studying sciences are particularly encouraged to sign up.

More details can be found on the project’s website.