Somerville takes access seriously. This year, we have launched a new crowdfunding campaign to support our annual Access Roadshow and to offer financial support for students and schools so they can visit Oxford. As the College prepares for its third annual Access Roadshow, first-year historian and JCR Access Officer Emily Louise reflects on the importance of getting the message out.
“Access is something so, so important. Not only do schemes have the opportunity to transform the lives of individuals but they also offer the opportunity to enrich Somerville and Oxford as a whole.
I myself had never thought that Oxbridge would be for ‘someone like me’, in fact this was a response I received when telling someone I was applying, not with horrible intentions but rather a genuine belief that this was the case. I, as many do, had an image of who belonged at Oxford. However, in Year 12 the Somerville Roadshow visited my school and I learnt that the myths were not true. In fact I heard it directly from an ambassador who had attended my school a few years before. The Roadshow taught me that Oxford was not off limits, even when that was the general attitude I had often felt surrounded the institution. When I received my AS grades on results day I truly started thinking about an application. In the back of my mind I remembered those who had visited on the Roadshow and I sent an email to the girl who had gone to my school. With her encouragement and the knowledge that Somerville was actively trying to reach out to schools like mine, I made an application. I received an offer and in the Easter of Year 13 the Roadshow came back, speaking to younger years, and also removed any lingering doubts that I had.
I am now here, studying History at Somerville, on the Moritz-Heyman Scholarship Programme and I am loving every second of it. Without the Roadshow visit the thought of an application would not have even occurred to me. The past Roadshow visits have received extremely positive feedback, with schools calling it ‘engaging’, ‘excellent’, and ‘informative’. I am now the current JCR Access Officer for Somerville College and I’m looking forward to arranging the Access Roadshow for this year.
This year we are running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to continue our annual Roadshow but also, more than this, to start an access fund to help potential applicants who would otherwise not be able to visit Somerville for open days or other outreach activities due to financial hardship. Visiting a university is very important in the application journey, and we want to ensure that students or schools aren’t put off before even getting to see what we have to offer.
They say that you should come to Somerville to change the world, and if this campaign can change the world for even one person then to me it has been a success, although I have faith that its effects will be even more far reaching. However, we need your help and support. I really hope that you will get involved in supporting our campaign, whether it be simply by sharing it or, even better, through a donation of any level that you feel comfortable with so that Somerville can continue its ethos of inclusivity and diversity and more people can come to the College to experience all the opportunities that we have been able to access.”
To find out more about the campaign and to watch Emily’s film of Somerville students and their access stories, go to https://somerville.hubbub.net/p/AccessFund/