Access Programme: 'Plan Your Application' event

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OxFizz’s annual ‘Plan Your Application’ event is designed to help students understand their application timeline, and put in place clear plans they can follow to prepare.

What is the ‘Plan Your Application’ event?

In February, our first access event of 2019 helped over 150 Year 12 students to choose which subject they want to study at university. Now they have made that decision, it is time for them to plan out what steps they need to take to make a competitive application to that subject.

The process of applying to Oxford or Cambridge can seem complicated, with both universities requiring applicants to complete extra exams, admissions tests, written work or supplementary questions on top on top of their UCAS form. Preparing for all these components takes time, which is why we think students should start planning early.

Our ‘Plan Your Application’ event on Saturday 16th March empowered students to do just that. In a day of workshops we helped students visualize the deadlines ahead of them, helped them develop the skills the application process will test, and supported them to create a personal action plan for the months ahead.

I enjoyed the discussions we had with the subject specialist, as well as learning about the different resources I can access to prepare me for my application.
— 2019 student

How does the event work?

The event is split into three workshop sessions led by a combination of experienced OxFizz staffers and expert volunteers, all with personal experience of successfully applying to Oxford or Cambridge.

The event began with an interactive ‘Timeline Workshop’ in which students identified the key deadlines they need to meet and visualised the application process, from choosing their A Levels to Results day 2020.

Next the students attended a ‘Subject Skills’ session led by brilliant OxFizz volunteers. In this 1 ½ hour long workshop aimed to give them a taste of university-level study, students developed academic study skills through tackling a broad range of fascinating topics; Law applicants debated the role of intention in criminal prosecutions, mathematicians got a masterclass in graph sketching, and Human Sciences applicants debated the ethics of parenthood, to name only a few!

In the final workshop of the day, students set themselves clear next steps for how they were going to build their application over the next few months. Volunteers encouraged students to make their action plans specific, measurable and achievable, as well as recommending resources to tailor their application to their specific interests.

Did the event go well?

This day of workshops was OxFizz’s biggest access event yet, with 17 expert volunteers delivering high-quality sessions to over 170 students.

Feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive, with 98% of attendees agreeing that the day was a good use of their time.

The structure of the day was widely praised, with one student commenting “I enjoyed the timeline and seeing a visual aspect of what I need to do and how in order to apply for Oxford.” Another mentioned that they particularly enjoyed “the discussions we had with the subject specialist as well as learning about the different resources I can access to prepare me for my application.”

Many students praised the volunteers’ high levels of knowledge and enthusiasm, with one attendee reflecting that “having a group session with someone who has been to Cambridge gave me a really good understanding of what university is like.”

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What was it like to volunteer?

We were delighted to hear that the volunteers enjoyed the event as much as the students, with everyone either agreeing or strongly agreeing that they enjoyed volunteering at the event.

Expanding on their favourite aspect of the day, one volunteer reflected “I enjoy doing these tutorial style sessions where we give students an opportunity to go deeper into the subject. The students were engaged and a pleasure to spend time with.”

 Another enthusiastic volunteer summed up why her experience was so positive, commenting that “The OxFizz team are super friendly, I enjoy making new friends and the volunteering is engaging and interesting.” We couldn’t be more pleased!

Will there be more events like this?

‘Plan Your Application’ day is the second event in OxFizz’s access scheme that runs throughout the year. Our aim is to support students throughout the application process, from these early stages through to interview season in December.

Last year we provided 1609 hours of support to sixth form students – triple that of previous years. In 2019, our aim is double that number again, providing over 3000 hours of support to talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The students in our access programme now have a few months away from OxFizz events, when they will focus on their upcoming mock exams. However, we’re looking forward to welcoming these students back for 3 more interventions later on this year, with the next event being our admissions test preparation event on 20th July.

The OxFizz team are super friendly, I enjoy making new friends and the volunteering is engaging and interesting.
— 2019 volunteer
Lee Robertson