A programme that helps outstanding black teenagers win places at highly selective universities will be backed by Somerville College this year.
Target Oxbridge, a development programme for black African and Caribbean pupils that involves residential visits and academic taster sessions, will offer 160 places in 2019, including five that will be funded by Somerville.
The College will also support the initiative by hosting a tour in April, and senior tutor Steve Rayner will deliver a session on choosing a course.
Target Oxbridge was launched in 2012 by a diversity recruitment specialist, Rare, and supports high-achieving black students with Oxbridge applications.
Somerville currently has two Target Oxbridge undergraduates, Fis Noibi, who is studying French and Arabic, and Tof Adigun-Hameed, studying Mathematics and Computer Science.
Tof said: “Target Oxbridge provided an invaluable support system throughout the university application process that was vital to my success, as it helped me to establish many important connections.
“For example, I was put in touch with an Oxford student who took my subject and was able to coach and advise me through the interview process.”
Once at university, Target Oxbridge students have gone on to support other school pupils. Fis Noibi has volunteered as a student ambassador for UNIQ, which runs summer schools at Oxford for children from UK state schools.
Jan Royall, Principal of Somerville College, said: “Going to Oxford and Cambridge changes people’s lives. I am delighted to support the work of Target Oxbridge this year and help change the face of Oxbridge.
“I would like to see even more talented British pupils with an African and Caribbean heritage apply to Somerville College, and to Oxford.
“As our students demonstrate, you can come to Oxford and flourish and you don’t have to change the way you are.”
Vanessa Worthington, Widening Access and Participation Coordinator for Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, said: “I am really pleased with Somerville’s support for the Target Oxbridge programme.
“With this backing, the University can continue to engage, support and encourage Black African and Caribbean and mixed race with black African and Caribbean heritage prospective students in their applications to the University’.