Somerville students visited fifteen London state schools this month to encourage students of all backgrounds to apply to Oxford.
The initiative, organised by undergraduates, saw Somerville students visit state schools in the boroughs of Kingston and Hounslow, two areas officially linked to Somerville under the University’s Link Regions scheme.
The students gave talks aimed at busting common Oxford myths and fielded questions from teachers and pupils about living and studying at Somerville.
Meeting prospective applicants in person gives ambassadors a vital chance to engage directly with their ideas of what Somerville and Oxford might be like.
“There are still a lot of out-of-date perceptions about what Oxford is like. That’s why it’s so important to go out and speak to teachers and pupils,” said Daisy Makin, a first year physics student who organised the Roadshow. Daisy is Access Officer for the Junior Common Room (JCR), which represents undergraduates.
“We wanted to make sure that pupils know that interviews aren’t about how much you know when you walk in, but what new things you understand when you walk out,” Daisy said.
“I’m glad that by the end of each session, the pupils and their teachers understood that your background is no barrier to studying here – there is a place in our community for anyone.”
The annual roadshow has borne fruit in previous years. Some current students first encountered the College through the scheme. The JCR Access team hope that many of the pupils they have met will be inspired to visit Somerville on Open Days and to apply.
The roadshow is organised and led entirely by students, and funded by donations from the JCR. College alumni also supported the Roadshow through donations to a crowd-funding campaign.