Our University Access Programme
OxFizz exists to bridge gaps in the UK’s education system, ensuring all students have fair access to top universities.
We know that even when disadvantaged students achieve the same grades as their peers, they are still less likely to win places at top universities. Combined with wider inequalities in our education system, this means an 18-year-old from the disadvantaged quintile has a 1 in 50 chance of going to university; versus 1 in 4 in the most advantaged quintile.
We exist to level the playing field – ensuring that students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds can freely access a programme of support to build the knowledge, confidence and skills to make successful applications to top universities.
This year long programme helps students as they:
Choose their university subject
Plan their application
Practice for their admissions tests
Practice for their admissions interviews
1. ‘Choose Your Subject’ event - February
Our aim for this event is for students to experience taster sessions in a range of different university subjects they can apply for.
Students rotate around short 30 minute subject talks run by our volunteers
During these sessions, volunteers will share their university experiences and run a quick ‘taster’ activity in the subject e.g. a debate, a source activity
Students experience 4 - 5 subjects throughout the day
Our feedback from 2019 shows that students left the event feeling more confident about the application process, more informed about what studying at a top university would be like, and clearer on the next steps of their application.
2. ‘Plan your application’ event - March
Once students have a better idea of which subject they’re going to apply for, they’re ready to focus in on the skills they need for their chosen subject, and plan ahead for their application. This is the aim of our next event.
Students start the day by building a timeline for the application process, helping them visualise the year ahead
Students then have a subject-specific skills session run by our volunteers (e.g. for Law, they learn how to read statutes)
At the end of the event, students use their timeline and skills sheets to create an action plan for their university application, setting SMART goals for the months ahead
3. ‘Practice for your admission test’ event- July
By this point students will have practiced the skills needed for their subject, and will soon need to apply them in their university admissions tests. This event helps students better understand the format of their admissions test, refine their exam technique, and practice in timed conditions.
Students start the day with an introductory workshop, helping them understand the format and function of their admissions test
Students then practice some admission test questions in timed conditions
At the end of the event, students have a recap workshop run by our volunteers, which helps them understand how to approach such questions in the future
After the event, our volunteers provide feedback on the students exam scripts, with suggestions on how to improve and any further reading / source recommendations
Last year we delivered over 200 hours of admission test practice across 13 different test papers. This year we're planning on expanding the support we offer
4. ‘Practice for your admissions interviews’ events - September-November
We provide interview support for students, in the months and weeks prior to their admissions interviews at Oxford, Cambridge and other top universities.
Students have an introductory workshop, helping them understand the format and function of admissions interviews, and the skills needed to do well
Students are then matched with a volunteer in their subject area - this will be someone who has graduated from a top university themselves
These 1-1 practice interviews will be based both on students’ application material e.g. their personal statements, and on unseen material e.g. texts or exercises the students have not encountered before.
At the end of these interviews students walk away with detailed personalised feedback to help them improve
Are you a teacher, who would be interested in hearing more about support for your students?
Are you a graduate, who would be interested in volunteering on our access programme?