Admissions statistics reveal the growing success of various access initiatives throughout Oxford.
Following the continuation of Lady Margaret Hall’s (LMH) Foundation Year, all students who began their foundation year studies in 2019 have received an offer to study at the University of Oxford, starting next academic year.
A free and fully-funded, year-long course, LMH Foundation Year is designed to “enable students from underrepresented backgrounds to reach their potential.”
The progression rate from LMH Foundation Year to Oxford Undergraduate has increased year on year. A spokesperson for LMH said: “We are delighted that all of our current cohort of Foundation Year students have been made a conditional offer for undergraduate study at LMH, University of Oxford.”
The teaching aims to prepare students to excel either at the University of Oxford or at any other “highly-selective” university.
Living and studying at LMH, students receive tuition in their chosen subject and take a ‘Preparation for Undergraduate Study’ course.
Nicole Roffey, a former Foundation Year student and current Oxford offer holder, said: “Getting into Oxford was a complete surprise, despite being on the Foundation Year, there was no sense of security that I had got in. The interviews were such a challenging process for all of us on the Foundation Year and we were [sic] all had doubts that we would get offers.
“Fortunately all of us did! What I love about the Foundation Year is the solidarity that forms between the 11 of us – in that we all would have really felt the loss if one of us hadn’t received an offer.
“I love the Foundation Year because of how well organised it is, arriving a week earlier than the undergrads, the team building tasks that we had at the beginning which really helped solidify us as a cohort, experiencing tutorials and mock interviews which really helped with the application process.
“The Foundation Year put me in the best position possible for the interview process. As well as this, being able to experience life at Oxford made receiving an offer feel even more fantastic.”
LMH Foundation Year was not the only scheme to improve access in this year’s intake.
More than 100 candidates received offers to study at the University as part of the Opportunity Oxford scheme, which launched at the end of Trinity 2019.
A new academic programme, Opportunity Oxford aims “to prepare talented offer-holders from underrepresented backgrounds for their time at Oxford”.
Students invited are made the standard offer for their chosen course, and then take part in a “bridging programme” in the runup to their first term at Oxford.
Dr Andrew Bell, Coordinator of Opportunity Oxford and University College Senior Tutor, said: “This year, more than 100 offers have been made under the scheme across 28 colleges. We anticipate making 200 offers per year under the scheme from 2022 onwards. We’re really excited to have launched Opportunity Oxford, and we very much look forward to welcoming our first cohort to Oxford later this year.”
St Anne’s College, one of the colleges which participates in UNIQ, announced its admissions statistics on Wednesday. Principal of St Anne’s, Helen King, said in a tweet: “We’re proud that St Anne’s College is contributing to making University of Oxford increasingly diverse. 73 per year of our UK offers went yesterday to state educated pupils & increasingly to students from the most [disadvantaged] backgrounds.”
UNIQ courses run in the Spring and Summer. Providing an insight into live at Oxford, students get a taste of the university experience. In the academic year of 2018-9, 40 per cent of UNIQ participants who applied for Oxford received an offer, compared to an average success rate of 20 per cent.
Anna Sharpe, a second-year historian at St Anne’s College, participated in UNIQ during sixth form.
Sharpe told Cherwell: “UNIQ convinced me that Oxford wasn’t as unattainable or inaccessible as I had previously thought it was. The helpers and other students showed me that not all stereotypes are true and really that was what gave me the confidence to apply.
“Going to UNIQ gave me an idea of what to expect during interviews and also when I started studying here at Oxford both socially and academically.”
UNIQ will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in April. UNIQ+, the equivalent research programme for postgraduates, will continue this summer.
UNIQ+ encourages undergraduates and recent graudates, who have experienced financial and socioeconomic disadvantage, to pursue further postgraduate study.