northyortksOver Easter, three of us, Angharad (1st year Biology), Tom (2nd year PPE), and Joe Organ (Schools Liaison Officer), toured North Yorkshire schools for four days encouraging students to apply to Oxford and Cambridge. Brasenose visits the region every year during the spring, as well as running interview workshops in September. The college has strong links with the area - as well as the annual visits, many of the students here come from the schools that we visited over the week. Eleanor Dodd (1st year History) and Rhys Evans (1st year Maths) joined us for a talk at their old school Tadcaster Grammar, as did Ruby Walker (2nd year History) at Scarborough Sixth Form.

Altogether we visited schools in Stokesley, Scarborough, Malton, Nawton, Harrogate, Whitby, Thirsk, Richmond, Tadcaster and Selby, usually about four visits each day. At each school, we delivered a talk to either Year 10 or Year 12 students and sometimes both. It was rewarding to be able to dispel the common myths surrounding studying at Oxbridge, and it will be good to see the same students we spoke to in March when they visit for open days in June (27th and 28th - come!). The best part of the trip was getting to answer the students’ questions, offering up our own experiences from the application process and (hopefully) showing that people at Oxford are actually pretty normal!

In our presentations, we spoke with students about the differences between school and university, and between Oxbridge and other universities. We talked about what it was like to live in Oxford, and explained a little about the collegiate system, before moving onto the application process. It’s common for students to worry that they won’t settle in at Oxford, maybe because they perceive it to be posh, but we tried to allay these concerns by demonstrating Oxford is increasingly diverse and full of people with similar backgrounds to them.

All in all the trip was great fun, from staying in a castle-turned-hotel to posing for silly pictures when picking up visitor badges at the different schools. The days were long but rewarding, and the many hours we spent driving around North Yorkshire - in the car we christened The Beast - will be fondly remembered by all of us. The trip would have been a pale analogue without the enthusiasm of all the students we visited, however, nor without Joe’s good humour and Angharad’s rowing anecdotes.

If you’re interested in applying to Oxford, please come find either of us - or any of the incredible Brasenose volunteers - at the June (27th and 28th) and September (14th) open days!

By Tom and Angharad