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Access To University

What is Access to University/Widening Participation?

In an attempt to widen participation at university lots of universities run schemes to attract and support students from underrepresented backgrounds. These schemes provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to study at the university.

Some universities require students to take a class which covers core study and subject skills to help them with the transition from school life to university. The courses are designed to ensure you achieve your academic potential, they may consist of an assignment - essay, project or test - in your chosen subject where you can showcase what you’ve learnt.

Who can do them?

In order to be eligible for programmes you will usually need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Students who are first generation higher education students (the first in their immediate family to attend university)
  • Students who have received free school meals
  • Students from schools with low progression
  • Students living in low-participation neighbourhoods
  • Students who have spent time in care
  • Students who are refugees or asylum seekers
  • Students whose studies were disrupted by circumstances in their social, personal, or domestic lives

Some programmes are subject specific and are only for students interested in studying those subjects, such as medicine.

Where can you find a programme?

When researching universities to apply to you can find out information about how they award contextual offers through the application pages on their website. Contextual Offers and Access to University methods do vary with each university so make sure to research your choices carefully and meet the deadlines set.

The Sutton Trust

The Sutton Trust runs FREE summer and subject specific (Law, Medicine, Engineering, Banking & Finance) programmes for students meeting widening participation and academic criteria. Their programmes offer students the chance to spend a week at a top UK University giving students academic taster sessions, application support and advice. Alumni have gone on to become teachers, MPs, diplomats, radiologists, directors and to work in lots of other professions. Find out more on their website.

Posted in Advice, UCAS & Application on Nov 02, 2020 by

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