Aim for Oxford Cohort 3 2021-22 Report

In August 2022, we were delighted to host students from the Aim for Oxford programme for their summer residential in Oxford for the first time.

Aim for Oxford is a sustained contact programme that is run jointly by St Anne’s, Christ Church and Trinity Colleges (Oxford for North East) and is solely for state-educated students from the North East of England who have experienced one or more factors of educational or social disadvantage or disruption, but have shown the past academic achievements to consider applying to Oxford in the future.

We work with students from across the region, selecting 56 students from over 200 applicants this year. Monthly workshops are delivered between January and April, with a focus on both and arts/humanities and sciences subjects for students to select from each month, delivered by academic staff from across the colleges, as well as skills workshops to support with different aspects of the application process, delivered by the Outreach Officers. Year 1 of the programme culminates with a week-long residential in Oxford.

In previous years, the pandemic has forced the majority of our activities to be held on online (with Cohort 2 experiencing an online-only programme). For Cohort 3, the first two sessions were delivered remotely, including a launch event for parents and carers, and the March and April sessions were delivered in person. This was also the first year it had been possible to host the residential group in Oxford.

Students were split between accommodation at Christ Church and St Anne’s, with arts, humanities and social sciences staying at the form and sciences and medical sciences students staying at the latter. Throughout the week, students attended study skills workshops, subject tutorials led by academic staff, social activities, explored the city and worked on their own group research project, which they presented back at the end of the week.

The Access and Outreach teams at St Anne’s, Christ Church and Trinity Colleges were ably supported by a team of Student Ambassadors, the majority of which all attended schools in the North East of England, as well as by postgraduates and tutors from St Anne’s, Christ Church and across the University who led tutorials and responded to student questions and ideas.

The presentations produced on the final morning of the residential were of exceptional quality, a testament to the aptitude and commitment of the students involved, and the guidance provided by their tutors. Presentation topics included ‘Should Early Psychiatric Intervention by Mandated by Paediatricians’, ‘Can Mathematics Solve Paradoxes’, ‘Do Truths Exist and How Can We Know Them’ and ‘Is It Always OK to Put Modern Labels onto Older Characters: an insight into how translation affects queer culture and feminism’.

When asked what they enjoyed about the residential, students wrote:

“Being able to form social connections without feeling overwhelmed by the number of other people around me – grouping by subject is 100% beneficial”

“Being surrounded by likeminded people and the opportunity to share and explore each other’s academic interests. It was nice to be around people enthusiastic about education and want something to come of it.”

“I loved exploring Oxford as it had a very homely vibe and loved seeing how much information was available everywhere.”

“Being able to talk to current students, as well as the fact that everyone came from similar backgrounds – it has helped me tackle misconceptions about the University and somewhat impostor syndrome too.”

The presentations were a fitting conclusion to an intense but unforgettable week for the 2022 Aim for Oxford cohort, but the programme isn’t over yet. We will continue to support those who choose to put in an Oxford application through its various stages, hoping to continue the trend of Aim for Oxford graduates progressing on to undergraduate study within the University of Oxford.

Applications for current Year 12s to take part in Aim for Oxford 2023 are open until 5th November 2022. You can find out more about the programme on our Aim for Oxford webpage.