In the past few years it has become a Brasenose tradition to run an 'access road-trips' to visit schools in one of our regional link outreach areas, North Yorkshire.
This September's road-trip up North seemed a huge success. Brasenose has a strong outreach programme headed by Joe Organ, who along with his equivalent from Gonville and Caius college Cambridge, Tom Norwood, led the trip which involved around 20 schools and an approximate audience of 700 students in all.
Tom bought along Levi, who studies Human, Social, and Political Science at Caius, and Joe took Beth (PPE) and me (Biochemistry) from Brasenose. Whether he now wishes he'd taken two students less awful at map reading only he can tell you! Throughout the school visits Joe and Tom ran talks about the Oxbridge admissions processes, in particular the interviews, whilst calling on us students to talk about our own experiences of this. It was exceedingly rewarding to do this and try and dispel the negative myths of 'Oxbridge stereotypes' by showing that we are all basically pretty normal. I know I would have found the sessions immensely useful before I applied, and so am so thrilled that we got to talk to so many possible applicants during this trip. The main purpose of the sessions was to give Year 13 students applying to Oxbridge the assurance to do so with confidence, and to convince younger students that Oxford and Cambridge aren't exclusive posh universities far off in the South and that there's no point considering applying to. Oxford and Cambridge are amazing universities to be at with a diverse range of students from all kinds of backgrounds. It is imperative that this message is spread and that bright passionate students aren't put off by a false impression that Oxbridge is not for them.
After the talks and Q&A sessions Joe would lead groups of year 13s in going through practice interview questions. We would then split the students into science and arts and we would each take small groups of students applying for subjects similar to our own to run practice interviews. This was both rewarding and actually incredibly fun to play interviewer! It was so exciting to meet students so passionate about the subject you study, and I hope that everyone we spoke to considers applying.
The schools on the visit included: St Aidan’s and John Fisher schools and a large evening event in Harrogate (where lots of parents and Year 10/11 students from nearby schools came along - as pictured). The next day we visited Harrogate Grammar School (with Rossett School joining us), King James School in Knaresborough, Northallerton College (with Easingwold School and Thirsk School coming along). On the third day we ran sessions at Richmond School and Ripon Grammar School, before finishing the next morning at Tadcaster Grammar where we were joined by Connor (Economics and Management at Brasenose), an ex-pupil from there.
The trip itself aside from the school visits was also very fun with the weather being so nice and staying in some really nice little guest houses (though thanks again Joe for getting rid of that ridiculously ginormous spider in the last one!). Add to that some interesting times with the hire car's boot door seemingly playing with us and you've got yourself a fun-filled few days. However the highlights of the trip were definitely the school visits, and I can't say enough times how rewarding it was to meet so many incredible students and hopefully have made a difference in how they perceive Oxbridge, as well as give them a confidence boost for when it comes to their interviews.
Oxbridge (particularly Brasenose College!) is an amazing place to be. If you are thinking of applying then why not visit the open days in June or September?
By Tori Cox (second year Biochemistry student)